Postgame analysis of Alabama's 46-41 loss to LSU:
THREE THINGS WORTH TALKING ABOUT
Another big game
Beyond the SEC West implications, Alabama's eight-game winning streak over LSU, the presence of Secret Service throughout Bryant-Denny Stadium and the arrival of the president, Saturday was a historic day in Tuscaloosa.
For the first time in college football history, two No. 1-ranked teams met during the regular season: Alabama ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches poll and LSU ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
The game was another installment of the "Game of the Century" for a reason, despite Alabama falling to the Tigers 46-41.
Amid the chaos and thrill that is SEC football, especially in November and beyond, but let's talk Tua Tagovailoa and his ankle. How could we not?
Early in the first half, the question was where is the Alabama offense? LSU had the Crimson Tide reeling and playing behind the chains. It flustered Tagovailoa, landing four quarterback hurries and dialing up other pressure that just fell short in the first two quarters of play, and forced him to prove that his ankle was 100 percent.
In the end, Tagovailoa's ankle looked passable, if you want to call it that.
LSU's Joe Burrow didn't throw his first incompletion until there was 5:16 to play in the first half. He finished the first half 18-for-20 with 252 yards and three touchdown passes.
And though Burrow exactly wasn't in the completion column, let's make it clear that he was perfect on the field. Burrow finished the night with 393 yards passing on 31-for-39 throwing and three touchdowns.
Yet what made Burrow perfect was his ability to work the pocket, his awareness in the latter and his escapability.
The Alabama front was awesome all night long. They stuffed the run game, for the most part, and got after Burrow all night. They were zealous in their rush all afternoon.
No matter what, Burrow handled it.
Rushing offense — C: Was basically non-existent in the first half, and majority of the night. An LSU defense that only surrender's 97.9 rushing yards per game, one of two teams in the SEC, played as expected. However, the rushing attack, like the rest of the offense looked better in the second half.
Rushing defense — A: Gave up over 100 yards, but from the eye-test, they were well-improved from week's prior. The front seven is finally relying on one another to manufacture chaos, and they looked dominant Saturday. Defensive linemen maintained gap-control and beat LSU's front off the snap off, allowing Crimson Tide backers and safeties to flow downhill and make big time tackles.
Passing offense — B: Rusty in the first half, but as the game went on it improved. Tua struggled hitting the target most of the night, however.
Passing defense — C+: Joe Burrow did his thing, but honestly, the Alabama secondary didn't play as bad as you'd think. They were physical, per usual, with Je'Mar Chase and Justin Jefferson and the rest of the LSU receiving corps, but they were taken advantage of with good route schemes and combinations that resulted in coverage breakdowns, but ultimately outplayed.
Special teams — A-: A first quarter 77-yard punt return by Jaylen Waddle, plus a blocked extra point was all the Crimson Tide needed to earn this grade. There were shortcomings in the kicking game, however. That's become a norm for Alabama.
Coaching — B+: Alabama's second half adjustments on offense put them back into a game they had no business being in, after the way the played the first two quarters.
Overall — C+: Alabama wasn't the team that shutout LSU a year ago, and started extremely slow. But they were a different team in the second half and that's what saved this overall grade.