Offense overcomes struggles, defense shines in win over LSU

Ashlee Woods | @ashleemwoods, Sports Editor

Alabama became kings of the Tigers Saturday night. 

No. 3 Alabama football defeated the LSU Tigers 20-14 in front of an energetic home crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium. 

Wake up, offense!

As most coaches and fans will tell you, it’s important to avoid complacency after a bye week. Both teams didn’t play last week, so each team needed to stay sharp. 

Alabama didn’t come out sharp on offense to start the game. 

The first four offensive drives for the Crimson Tide ended in a missed field goal, two punts and a turnover on downs in the red zone. Uncharacteristic mistakes and drive-stalling sacks halted any momentum the Crimson Tide had during a drive. 

LSU, on the other hand, scored a touchdown on their first offensive drive. The Tigers’ defense made Alabama work for every yard early on. 

For the second straight game, the Crimson Tide trailed early in the game. Alabama had to rally yet again. 

Something finally clicked for the Crimson Tide on its fifth offensive drive. Alabama running back Roydell Williams and wide receiver Jameson Williams stepped up for the offense. 

The Tigers’ defense gave up two big yardage plays — one to each player — on that drive. Roydell Williams caught a 24-yard pass to get to the LSU 24-yard line. Jameson Williams caught a 21-yard pass to get into the red zone. 

Alabama wide receiver John Metchie III caught two short passes. Running back Brian Robinson Jr. sealed the deal with a 2-yard rushing touchdown. 

That first drive was the spark the Alabama offense needed. They scored touchdowns on their next two possessions. 

The Crimson Tide led 14-7 at the half and seemed to be heading in the right direction, but the struggles continued. 

After a touchdown on their opening possession of the second half, Alabama ended the game punting the ball on four drives. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young also fumbled on Alabama’s penultimate drive. 

Alabama couldn’t establish the rushing attack. The offense finished with 6 total rushing yards. 

It’s safe to say that LSU played their best football of the season against the Crimson Tide. This is a trend that has not only happened all season, but since head coach Nick Saban came to town. 

Now, with just three games left, teams in the SEC West are jockeying for the chance to face No. 1-ranked Georgia at the SEC Championship. Alabama knows they’re going to get other teams’ best effort.

“It’s not something we’re surprised about,” Young said. 

Now it’s up to Alabama to find their best football. 

Shine under the bright lights 

Throughout the season, the Alabama defense has been criticized for inconsistent play and schemes. 

That was not the case on Saturday night. 

It didn’t start well for the Alabama defense. LSU quarterback Max Johnson led the Tigers down the field. Alabama had a chance to get off the field on a fourth-and-26 play, but LSU was able to convert after a successful fake punt. 

The Tigers scored four plays later — an 8-yard pass from Johnson to running back Tyrion Davis-Price. 

With their backs now against the wall, the defense showed a lot of grit. 

After that opening drive, the defense forced three punts, and Alabama cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis picked off Johnson before the half. 

The defense also pressured Johnson throughout the game on Saturday. Freshman linebacker Dallas Turner led the team with two sacks. Turner also had two tackles for loss Saturday night. He, along with fellow linebackers Christian Harris and Will Anderson Jr., were disruptive up the middle and the edge. 

“I love the way Dallas plays,” Harris said. 

Despite the effort the defense put forth, the game was far from over. 

After two drives ended in a punt and a fumble, LSU would score on their third possession of the second half. The lead was now just six points going into the final five minutes of the game. 

Once again, the defense had an answer. 

Alabama forced a punt and two turnovers on downs to seal the win. The Tigers played physical football until the end.

Alabama was just that much more relentless. 

“It was [a] relentless effort,” Anderson said after the game. 

The Crimson Tide now turns their attention to the third game of the four-game home stretch. Alabama will host the New Mexico State Aggies on Nov. 13. The game will kickoff at 11 a.m. CT and will be broadcast on SEC Network. 

Questions? Email the Sports desk at sports@cw.ua.edu.