Alabama at LSU

No. 1 Alabama extends win streak against No. 15 LSU, 10-0

By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
  •  

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Alabama's suffocating defense bottled up LSU running back Leonard Fournette and provided Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts the luxury of a few scoreless quarters to get accustomed to deafening Death Valley.

Hurts finally escaped the grasps of LSU's stingy defense on a 21-yard touchdown run that broke a scoreless tie early in the fourth quarter, and No. 1 Alabama remained unbeaten with a 10-0 shutout of the 15th-ranked Tigers on Saturday night.

''You can talk about winning ugly and maybe it wasn't always pretty, because we certainly didn't execute and do things the way we'd like, but you've got to give LSU a lot of credit,'' Alabama coach Nick Saban said. ''It was a tough atmosphere for us out there. But our defense was outstanding.''

Saban could have used any number of superlatives to describe his defense, which didn't let LSU run a play from inside the Crimson Tide 30.

''We've got some pretty hateful guys that play defense around here that are pretty good competitors,'' Saban said. ''When they get challenged a little bit, they usually respond and I think they responded really well tonight.''

The Crimson Tide (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference, No. 1 CFP) won for the sixth straight time against LSU (5-3, 3-2, No. 13 CFP), and remained alone in first place in the SEC West - a game ahead of Auburn.

Hurts, a freshman who has exceeded expectations by establishing himself as one of the most dynamic, explosive players in college football, was the game's leading rusher with 114 yards on 20 carries. He also completed 10 of 19 passes for 107 yards.

''He has great poise. I don't think the stage is too big for him at all,'' Saban said about Hurts. ''He expects a lot of himself and we expect a lot of him because he's in a role that has tremendous responsibility. He has handled that very, very well.''

LSU had its share of big plays - but virtually all on defense, forcing Hurts into an early interception, stopping Hurts on a fourth-and-goal play and forcing him into a third-quarter fumble. But LSU's offense could not capitalize against menacing defensive end Jonathan Allen and Co.

''We played our butt off on defense but we lose as a team,'' LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron said. ''We just couldn't get anything going on offense.''

The Tigers finished with 125 total yards. Alabama had five sacks, one more than LSU's offense had allowed in any other game this season. Allen, linebackers Rashaan Evans and Ryan Anderson; and end Dalvin Tomlinson each sacked LSU quarterback Danny Etling, while Rueben Foster and Tim Williams combined on a sack.

''We're just dominating the line of scrimmage,'' Allen said.

Etling completed 11 of 24 passes for 92 yards and also was intercepted by Minkah Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter on a pass that seemed to sail off target because he was being hit. The turnover led to a late Alabama field goal. The offense also looked flustered at times. LSU had to burn two timeouts early in the second half to avoid delay-of-game penalties, then was called for delay of game on third down in Alabama territory on a subsequent drive.

''We just had some miscommunications on what we were trying to do. Unfortunately, that was kind of what bit us,'' Etling said. ''We did some stupid things and made some inaccurate throws.''

SILENT STAR

Fournette, whose 2015 Heisman Trophy hopes faded when he was held to 31 yards on 19 carries in Tuscaloosa last year, had 35 yards on 17 carries. One game after touchdown runs of 78, 76 and 59 yards against Mississippi, Fournette's longest run against the Crimson Tide was 9 yards. He'd declined interview requests in the week leading up to the game, and he didn't speak afterward.

Saban explained his team's success against Fournette this way: ''When you play a great player like that, everybody has to really focus on doing their job. Our guys did it last year. We played a lot of the same stuff that we played a year ago.''

COACHING CONTRAST

While Alabama coach Nick Saban improved to 8-3 against his former team since taking over the Crimson Tide in 2007, the result clouded the future of the coaching position at LSU. Orgeron , a popular Cajun who'd overseen victories in his first three games since Les Miles was fired in late September, could have emerged as a leading candidate to remain long-term with a victory over Alabama.

THE TAKEAWAY

Alabama: Orgeron said earlier this week that Alabama might have the best defense in college football history, and it certainly looked like he was on to something.

LSU: As much as LSU has tried open up its offense by changing formations and passing more, Etling didn't have the poise, or the blocking, to succeed against Alabama. LSU's running game suffered because of the Tigers' inability to throw, and it looked a lot like their losses to Bama when Miles was coaching.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Alabama: Alabama continues to strengthen its case as the best team in the nation.

LSU: The Tigers might not tumble out of the Top 25 because of how close they played the nation's top team, but they'll fall.

UP NEXT

Alabama: The Tide hosts Mississippi State next Saturday.

LSU: The Tigers travel to meet Arkansas next weekend.

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More AP college football at www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Alabama #1  (9-0) «0001010
LSU #13  (5-3)00000
Players of the Game
Crimson Tide

J. Hurts
Att 19
Comp 10
Yds 107
TD 0
Tigers

D. Chark
Rec 3
Yds 45
Avg 15.0
TD 0
Scoring Summary
BAMAJalen Hurts 21 yd run (Adam Griffith kick)
BAMAAdam Griffith 25 yd FG
 
Team Stats
 BAMALSU
First Downs166
Third Down Efficiency7-174-15
Fourth Down Efficiency1-20-2
Plays-Net Yards70-32351-125
Rushes-Yds51-21627-33
Passing Yds10792
Kick Return Yds1427
Punt Return Yds116
Passes10-19-111-24-1
Punts5-2588-336
Fumbles-Lost2-10-0
Penalties-Yds6-293-20
Time of Poss.33:5526:5
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
BAMA: Jalen Hurts 20-114, Damien Harris 12-53, Bo Scarbrough 11-52, ArDarius Stewart 1-4, Joshua Jacobs 5--3, Team 2--4
LSU: Leonard Fournette 17-35, Derrius Guice 2-8, J.D. Moore 2-5, Danny Etling 6--15
PASSING
BAMA: Jalen Hurts 10-19-107-1
LSU: Danny Etling 11-24-92-1
RECEIVING
BAMA: ArDarius Stewart 3-55, Calvin Ridley 2-23, Miller Forristall 1-22, Trevon Diggs 1-9, Joshua Jacobs 1-3, Damien Harris 1--2, O.J. Howard 1--3
LSU: D.J. Chark 3-45, Malachi Dupre 3-17, Colin Jeter 2-18, Leonard Fournette 1-8, Travin Dural 1-3, J.D. Moore 1-1
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Alabama1st SEC West8-014-1
LSU2nd SEC West5-38-4

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