The dust has pretty much settled on the grassy turf of Bryant Denny Stadium after the conclusion of “The Game of the Century”. After an 8-year drought against the Crimson Tide, the LSU Tigers finally conquered their mighty rival and ascended to the top of the SEC West. Joe Burrow has pretty much sealed his claim to the Heisman Trophy. Clyde Edwards-Helaire introduced himself to the nation and increased his NFL Draft stock in the process. For the dejected Tide, the likelihood of a College Football Playoff is now in jeopardy. They must win out and hope for things to fall miraculously into their favor. So, what were the main take-aways if you’re an Alabama fan? I’ve compiled a list of noticeable topics that resonated strongly with me.
Too Little, Too Late: Alabama had a horrendous 1st half against arguably the best team in the country. Blunder after blunder was committed by the Crimson Tide, allowing LSU to take a firm hold of the game early. I’m not going to take anything away from the Tigers, but Alabama granted them favor after favor, catapulting them to a 20-point lead by half time. As a matter of fact, they allowed LSU to score back-to-back touchdowns in 20 seconds. However, Alabama seemingly gathered themselves at half time and continually put themselves within striking distance. This was largely in part due to Tua Tagovailoa throwing for 246 yards and 3 TDs and a strong performance by RB Najee Harris in the second half. No matter how much Alabama tried to summon their inner “Rocky Balboa”, Burrow and Edwards-Helaire had a resounding answer. It goes to show that you can’t wait until the later stage of a heavy weight bout to trade punches with a No. 1 contender.
Sloppy Tide: As mentioned earlier, Alabama seemingly could not get out of their own way in the first half. Coming into the contest, Alabama ranked 110th nationally when it comes to penalties. They continued the trend early and often. One of the costliest penalties was drawn for having too many men on the field. This negated an interception by Trevon Diggs after a poorly thrown ball by Joe Burrow. It would lead to an eventual LSU touchdown. Before the end of the half, Tua Tagovailoa threw an interception with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by center Landon Dickerson as icing on the cake. What followed? You guessed it, another touchdown for the Tigers.
To make things equally frustrating, the defense looked lost on nearly every play. Quite often, LB’s were seen looking frantically to the sidelines, not knowing what to do. Players were left unaccounted for and left to roam freely wherever they chose to. On top of that, tackling or attempts of tackling were horrendous. It’s as if they were afraid to get into the opposing player’s bubble. Plus, when presumably attempting to take down a ball carrier, Tide defenders tried to strip the ball. This led to being carried for an addition 4 or 5 yards.
One may try to argue this was due to playing against an elite LSU team. However, if viewers have followed Alabama regularly, this type of play has been present throughout the season. However, it has gone relatively unnoticed to the occasional onlooker due to the level of opponents the Tide has played against. They have been able to get away with it. However, this is LSU. That type of play just cannot happen. It is a very disturbing trend; especially after 9 games of play. You have to wonder what exactly is going on with the coaches and why this hasn’t been corrected.
Lost in the Chaos: There’s no question that Joe Burrow turned in a performance for the ages. He was 31/39 for 393 yards and 3 TDs. Burrow also added an additional 64 yards on the ground.His counterpart, Tua Tagovailoa did turn in an uncharacteristic performance in the first half with a lost fumble and interception. However, he rose to the occasion late, and provided a heroic performance that nearly led his team to an improbable come-from-behind victory. He finished the day with 418 yards and 4 TDs that included an electric 85-yard toss to Devonta Smith for a touchdown. This was all on one good leg. Although it may not happen, the Heisman voters should strongly take his performance into consideration even in a losing effort.
Although LSU’s WR’s had quite the outing against the Crimson Tide defenders, Devonta Smith had one of the most amazingly quiet performances of the season. Smith had 7 catches for 213 yards and 2 TDs. Normally, stats like these are shown on highlight reels on every major sports network. However, it was somewhat hushed amongst the jubilation of the Bayou Bengal Tigers’ victory.
Other than Joe Burrow, another Tiger won the day and it was Clyde Edwards-Helaire. As mentioned earlier, he commanded the attention of the college football world by rushing for 103 yards with 3 TDs and catching 9 passes for 77 yards and 1 TD. On the other side of the field was Najee Harris, who owned the 3rd quarter. It looked as though he was going to will Alabama back all by himself. Najee displayed the heart of a warrior and was determined to never fall. For the game, he had a total of 190 yards and 2 TDs. He was brilliant on picking up key 1st downs that extended drives and declined any attempt LSU made of keeping him out of the endzone.
Those were the main takeaways I drew from what was an amazing game. There is no doubt Alabama has taken these tidbits with them as well. For now, LSU is the king of the West. Give the Tigers their due. They’re the best team in the country until proven otherwise.
Before you declare the dynasty of Alabama to be over, remember there is still time left. Corrections will be made. Saban has time to prepare. No one knows better than them what they have to do. The Tide will rise again.
I am a 2003 graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in Exercise Science. While at the Capstone, I served as a student assistant with the head strength and conditioning coach of the Crimson Tide football team. I have competed in both powerlifting and bodybuilding for several years. In addition, I have served athletes and people through the arena of personal training. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am a passionate fan of Alabama, but do not make other fan bases miserable because of it. College football has my heart first, but I cover all areas of sports. Follow me on Twitter: @justinriley7!