It was methodical once again for No. 2 Alabama.
The Tide defense kept LSU’s offense in check and the Alabama offense was good enough in a 24-10 victory that established what we already knew: Alabama is one of the best teams in the country, if not the best.
That previous sentence is not a strong statement. But when you’re the only program that’s made it to three College Football Playoffs and the title game in the most recent two it’s hard to make strong statements about your excellence. And especially when you’ve won 35 of your last 36 games and 37 of the last 39.
So yeah, Alabama’s damn good. And the win over LSU was, well, kind of boring. Alabama jumped out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter after Bo Scarbrough rushed for a nine-yard touchdown and kept the Tigers at an arm’s length the rest of the way.
LSU’s only touchdown came in the third quarter a couple plays after running back Darrel Williams busted a 54-yard run in a single-wing formation. But that score made it 21-10 and Alabama immediately responded with a field goal.
Expecting an LSU team that lost to Troy to compete with Alabama was a stretch entering Saturday night. After all, the Tigers were three-touchdown underdogs. But even with the Troy game in mind, No. 19 LSU was Alabama’s biggest game of the season thanks to a slate of opponents through the first nine weeks who have underwhelmed.
But as LSU likely falls out of the top 25 in the rankings on Sunday and Tuesday, this win isn’t much of a signature. Does Alabama really need one though?
If, for some crazy reason, the Tide lose once over the next three or four weeks of the season, Alabama should still be in the top four. And with four one-loss teams losing Saturday, there are just a handful of teams remaining in college football with a single blemish. Alabama would be the best of them.
The only thing that could get in Alabama’s way at this point may be itself. With injuries to Shaun Dion Hamilton and Jamey Mosley, Alabama’s linebacker depth is getting perilously thin by any team’s standards. And cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick was clearly not 100 percent on Saturday night either. Coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt may have to get creative over the next few weeks.
And the Tide only rushed for 116 yards on 36 carries against the Tigers while quarterback Jalen Hurts completed less than 50 percent of his passes. It was far from a spectacular offensive performance.
Still, this is another march to the SEC championship game and, likely, the College Football Playoff. This feels a lot like playing the lottery if an Alabama loss was a winning ticket. You’re pretty sure you know what’s going to happen but there’s always the slim possibility of something crazy.
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