Lost in the Trenches

Physicality — that was the focus heading into Saturday's LSU-Alabama game. Unfortunately for the Tigers, most of the physicality came from the Crimson Tide. LSU was dominated in the trenches as they fell 38-17 to Alabama.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Tigers didn't just lose the battle in the trenches Saturday — they got massacred.

LSU racked up just 43 yards rushing against Alabama in the 38-17 loss. That figure does include 29 lost yards from sacks, but even then, the Tiger running backs accounted for just 74 yards on the ground.

Alabama's T.J. Yeldon nearly doubled that.

Though LSU entered the game rushing for 184.8 yards-per-game, the Tigers couldn't muster much of anything on the ground.

"Anytime you play against these guys, you've got to just take the tough yards because you can't bounce things or cut things back," said RB Jeremy Hill. "They played a great game tonight and had a great plan for us."

LSU did have some success early. Hill and Terrence Magee combined to rush for 64 yards in the first half, but the Tigers were essentially shut out after that. LSU's top two rushers totaled just 10 yards in the second half.

Granted LSU's ever-increasing deficit forced the ball into Zach Mettenberger's hands, even when the Tigers did run in the second half, they couldn't break off a run longer than five yards.

Hill said the Alabama defense keyed in on the run. Oftentimes there were seven or more players in the box, making it hard for LSU to gain many yards up the middle.

"It's a game of chess out there," Hill said. "They really used that safety in the box to stop the run. That's just how they play defense."

Meanwhile, Alabama pretty much ran at will against the LSU defense. Yeldon led the way, amassing 133 total rushing yards, and even his partner Kenyan Drake surpassed LSU's total rushing yardage with 65 of his own on the ground.

But it was Yeldon — who caught the game-winning screen pass last year — that was the bigger thorn in LSU's side Saturday. His two second-half touchdowns sealed Alabama's victory and his late, workhorse production iced it.

"He had [defenders] that were unblocked right at the point of attack and made them miss," said LSU coach Les Miles. "Some of those runs were pretty special, but we have to tackle better. It's that simple."

As much as Yeldon's night can be a credit to his ability, it's also just as much about LSU's inability to stop him. With the game tied early in the third quarter, Alabama decided to just run it down LSU's throat and chew the clock while boosting its lead.

On the first drive, Alabama ran it 12 times for 66 yards. On the next series, seven times for 38 yards, and on the third, seven times for 29 yards.

"They had a few long drives," said safety Corey Thompson. "We have to make stops on second down and get off the field on third down. We didn't do that enough tonight and that's what happened."

Unfortunately for LSU, that's what led to the loss.


Stick around at Tiger Sports Digest and talk all the latest in LSU sports and recruiting on our free board or over on our premium access board.

Tiger Blitz Top Stories