LSU Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
The Louisiana State Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide meet Monday at the Superdome to decide the National Championship. The Tigers are -1.5 point favorites over the Crimson Tide.
Unbeaten LSU has been the class of college football this season, outscoring opponents 491-131 behind an effective, high scoring offense and a suffocating defense. At first glance, the LSU defense doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary with the #73 unit that averaged 375 yards but a huge 38.5 points behind a bruising ground game that produced 216 yards (#17) per contest. Quarterbacks Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson split time under center with Jefferson suspended for four games at the beginning of the season for his part in a fight. Both were productive through the air with Lee completing 104 of 167 throws for 1,306 yards with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions while Jefferson (50-80/684) was just as effective albeit fewer opportunities with six scoring tosses against one pick. Reuben Randle was the receiver with 50 receptions for 904 yards and eight TD’s with O’Dell Beckham catching 36 balls for 437 yards and two scores. Russell Shephard (14-190) and Deangelo Peterson (17-172) rounded out the top pass catchers in an effective but very limited air game. It was on the ground where the Tigers were feared he most with Michael Ford plowing his way to 755 yards on 123 carries with seven touchdowns with Spencer Ware getting most of the work with 174 totes that went for 700 yards with eight trips to the end zone. Alfred Blue (78-539), Kenny Hilliard (57-320) and Jefferson (61-248) rounded out the top runners. The LSU defense had more than their share of notoriety with the second ranked unit in the land that gave up 252 yards and 10.5 points. It was pick your poison with this group who were #3 versus the run and sixth against the pass.
Alabama gets a second chance at knocking off LSU after squandering a 6-3 fourth quarter lead to lose in overtime. The Crimson Tide edged out Oklahoma State to reach the National Championship behind a high scoring offense of their own combined with the nation’s best defense. Alabama totaled 433 Yards (#31) and 36 points with a powerful rushing attack that averaged 220 yards (#14) leading the way. Quarterback AJ McCarron didn’t throw all that much but was a threat each time he did. McCarron completed 196 of 294 passes for 2,400 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. Marquis Maze led the receiving corps with 56 catches for 627 yards and a score followed by Trent Richardson with 27 catches out of the backfield for 327 yards and three TD’s. Brad Smelley (27-317), Darius Hanks (21-270) and Kenny Bell (16-229)all had productive seasons in limited opportunities. However, just like their opponent, it was on the ground where Alabama thrived with Richardson rumbling to 1,583 yards on 263 carries with 20 touchdowns. Eddie Lacy spelled Richardson effectively with 631 yards on 84 touches with seven scores and 7 ½ yard average. Jalston Fowler (56-385) was option number three with nearly seven yards per touch and four trips to the end zone. The Crimson Tide defense was the best at everything with the top rank in total yards (191), passing yards 116 and rushing yards (75) which to nobodies surprise led to the best scoring D in the game at less than nine points.
I thought that Alabama had a few plays go against them in the first meeting and cost them a win. With that said, it also seemed that the Tigers just seemed to make big plays. It’s tough going against either team and I’m not a Les Miles fan but they are undefeated for a reason. Take the Tigers minus the 1.5
LSU Tigers -1.5 Alabama Crimson Tide