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Behind the Box Score: Alabama

Bama gets its empty revenge

Alabama v LSU
Defenders not pictured
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

There aren’t a lot of surprises with this one. LSU lost, they lost by a lot, and it was never really all that close.

That’s what happens when the best team in the country plays an also-ran when the #1 team feels they have something to prove. It was silly, and ultimately has nothing to do with 2019, but hey, points for doing whatever you can to motivate the team.

Hope you enjoyed your revenge on the backups of the 2019 team plus a bunch of freshmen who weren’t even there. I am appropriately impressed.

21. Alabama first quarter points. Bama made no secret that they were out for blood. The Tide ran off 21 points in the first quarter and another 24 in the second. It was 45-14 at the half and the game was already over for all intents and purposes. Hell, it was over before that, but this was when it got silly. Bama scored on its first seven possessions, and a touchdown on six of them.

8-231-3. DeVonta Smith’s receiving line. I think LSU should have seriously considered covering that guy. He’s pretty good. Even more depressing, Smith had just one catch for 14 yards in the second half. This was all done in the first half.

9.0. Alabama’s average yards per play. When you average just shy of first down yardage on every play, you’re doing pretty good. Bama racked up 650 yards and remember, that’s with essentially taking the second half off.

5. Consecutive LSU drives ending in a punt. LSU actually fought back and was down 28-14 early in the second quarter. Sure, they were getting beat, but they weren’t getting totally blown off the field yet, and the offense and proved surprisingly frisky. If they could get a stop, a huge ask I know, they could get the game back down to a single score. This is when Bama stopped screwing around, such as it were, and continued to score on every drive, but added lock down defense. On LSU’s last three drives of the second quarter and first two drives of the third, LSU ran 18 plays for 35 yards over five drives. Each drive got progressively worse. The first one went 6 plays for 28 yards, followed by four straight three and outs. The final two drives of the sequence went for negative yards. LSU finally broke the streak by going 8 yards over 4 plays and fumbling.

54. John Emery’s longest run. Emery finally broke a big one, a 54 yarder for a TD. That’s good. But it also highlighted LSU was bad at running the ball the rest of the night. Not counting that run, LSU rushed for 44 yards on 26 carries, an average of 1.7 yards a carry. But hey, maybe sacks and QB runs are making that misleading. Let’s strip those out too. Emery and TDP combined for 14 carries for 49 yards outside of the one big carry, an average of 3.5. LSU simply cannot run the ball.

25-45-254. LSU’s combined passing line. LSU also can’t throw the ball either. TJ Finley went 14 for 28 for 144 yards and took 4 sacks. He’s almost entirely regressed from a promising start. Sure, it’s Bama’s defense, but a 50% completion rate is… ugh. If you can’t run and you can’t really pass, well… you’re sort of out of options until we come up with a third way to advance the football.

145. Najee Harris rushing yards. Lost in the deserved plaudits for DeVonta Smith’s performance, Harris ran for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns on 21 carries. By the game’s end, Alabama rushed for 265 yards on 43 carries and a 6.2 average, about as thorough of a domination as you can have, particularly for a team simply running out the clock in the second half.

LSU got crushed. What else is there to say?