THIS WEEK'S GAME: Alabama at LSU, Nov. 13 -- The Tigers can no longer win the SEC West, let alone defend their national championship, but a strong finish and a major bowl are still possible. Plus, the Tigers can finish with the best two-year record in the program's history. It's all up to what the Tigers want to accomplish and how well they start protecting the football.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QBs Marcus Randall and JaMarcus Russell -- They continue to share the job with mixed results. In the Vandy game, Randall completed 4 of 6 passes for 78 yards and Russell completed 2 of 5 attempts for 24 yards. Both must continue to improve to help LSU finish strong down the stretch.
DT Claude Wroten -- The SEC defensive lineman of the week, Wroten recorded six tackles, five solos, three tackles behind the line, and two sacks while forcing a fumble and four quarterback pressures against Vanderbilt.
Senior center Ben Wilkerson has been a solid, productive force for LSU's offensive line the past two seasons and passed up a chance to enter the enter the NFL Draft to return for the 2004 season, even though scouts generally regarded him as the top center available. Now Wilkerson might be having second thoughts after coach Nick Saban left him in the Vandy game until the final play, when Wilkerson suffered a season-ending knee injury. "By the NFL Combine he'll be 100 percent," Saban said. "(NFL) people will just want to know if you rehabbed it and if you don't have any problems from the rehab. It's not something that is career-threatening." ...
With Wilkerson out, LSU will turn to either Rudy Niswanger, a junior who has started at left guard, right guard and right tackle this year, or sophomore Doug Planchard. If Niswanger starts at center, sophomore Brian Johnson, freshman Will Arnold and junior Terrell McGill will share the two guard positions. Also, because Nate Livings has struggled after moving from guard to tackles this season, he will see some practice time at guard. Still, Wilkerson's absence could make it even more difficult for LSU to run the ball against an Alabama defense that ranks No. 1 in the nation, allowing 221.8 yards per game. ... Sophomore safety Jessie Daniels missed practice last week after having a pin inserted into a bone in his wrist. Saban said Daniels is expected to practice this week and play against Alabama with a cast on his arm.
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