Two weeks ago the stats highlighted a big imbalance in Mississippi State’s offense between the run and pass that could provide a benefit and advantage to LSU even despite how tremendous Mississippi State was against the run. It turns out that was a huge benefit, as LSU did sell out to stop the run and force Nick Fitzgerald and his woeful passing ability to throw and he delivered 4 picks. The Bulldogs run defense was incredible, but LSU’s balance in the second half opened some things up and they eventually tired and LSU was able to come away with the victory. Now we shift our focus to how LSU stacks up against the #1 team in the country, the Alabama Crimson Tide.
A note on these stats: The offensive and defensive S&P+ marks are calculated as adjusted scoring averages and for the situational ratings, above 100 is good and below 100 is bad. Links to an explanation on the various stats here, here and here:
|S&P+ Percentile||99.5% (1st)||88.6% (13th)|
|Off. S&P+||46.7 (2nd)||29.1 (67th)|
|Off. Passing||138.4 (2nd)||102.4 (56th)|
|Off. Rushing||118.6 (8th)||98.2 (78th)|
|Def. S&P+||20.3 (20th)||16.9 (8th)|
|Def. Passing||120.6 (4th)||121.1 (3rd)|
|Def. Rushing||119.6 (16th)||115.4 (21st)|
|FEI||.252 (4th)||.269 (3rd)|
|F/+||52.3% (2nd)||46.8% (6th)|
As you’ve heard, Bama’s offense is incredible. It’s only behind Lincoln Riley’s absolute unstoppable machine at Oklahoma in S&P+, the passing attack led by a generational talent in Tua Tagovailoa, is 2nd in Passing S&P+. Oh, and they still have a Top 10 rushing attack too. There’s tons of weapons in every year, they execute at a high level at absolutely everything, and they have the best player in the country at the most important position. The thing is, LSU’s defense might be the best equipped to slow it down. The Tigers rank Top 10 in S&P+, but more importantly are 3rd in Passing S&P+. This is the probably the best secondary in the country and that’s gives LSU a shot. The issue will likely come on offense. While Bama is more gettable this year, especially against the run, LSU’s rushing attack continues to struggle. They remain elite and against the pass, and LSU is middling there. The numbers say it’ll take the offense’s best day all year by a good margin, plus some luck and big help from the defense for the Tigers to have a chance. But that’s why they play the games.