LSU/Bama Pre-game Notes

LSU and Alabama meet at 2:30 on Saturday in a game that LSU must win if the Tigers want another shot at Florida in Atlanta.

Ninth-ranked LSU travels to face third-ranked Alabama in a key Southeastern Conference Western Division contest on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on CBS.

 

LSU is off to a 7-1 start for the third time in five years under head coach Les Miles and are coming off a 42-0 win over Tulane last week. The Tigers were also 7-1 in both 2005 and 2007.

 

LSU goes into the contest ranked No. 9 in all major polls this week - BCS, AP, USA Today Coaches and Harris Interactive.

 

LSU and Alabama meet for the 73rd time overall and the 18th time in Tuscaloosa

 

The Crimson Tide leads the all-time series 44-23-5, but the Tigers had won five straight in the series before Alabama went into Baton Rouge last season and claimed a 27-21 overtime win.

 

LSU has won six of the last eight games between the teams in Tuscaloosa, a stretch that dates back to 1993.

 

UA will be looking for its first win over LSU in Tuscaloosa since 1999. The series favors LSU, 9-8 in Tuscaloosa, while the Tide holds a 25-8-2 edge in Baton Rouge.

 

Alabama is coming off an open week and is No. 3 in both the AP and the coaches’ poll this week as well as the BCS standings.

 

With the win over Tulane, LSU coach Les Miles moved past Nick Saban into sole possession of third place in school history with 49 victories.

 

Miles is 49-12 overall as head coach of the Tigers. Saban needed 64 games to win his 48 games, while Miles was able to do it in just 60 tries.

 

When the Tigers line up against Alabama and Nick Saban on Saturday, it will mark only the fifth time in LSU football history that a former LSU head coach will be on the opposing sidelines as head coach of the other team. LSU is 3-1 in those games.

 

Les Miles has nine wins over coaches who have won national titles.

 

Miles has guided the Tigers to a 13-4 mark in games played during the month of November.

 

LSU’s headman will go after an Auburn-Alabama sweep for the third time. No other coach in LSU history has swept Auburn and Alabama in the same season more than twice.

 

Miles goes into the Alabama game with a 13-5 record in SEC road games. Miles and the Tigers are 2-0 on the road in the SEC this year after going 2-2 in 2008.

 

Offensively, the Tigers are averaging 26.4 points and 325.1 yards per game – 141.5 rushing and 183.6 passing.

 

LSU currently ranks No. 3 in the SEC in pass efficiency with a 140.8 rating and the Tigers are No. 2 in the league in third-down conversions at 42 percent.

 

LSU produced season highs in total offense (455 yards), rushing yards (267) and points (42) as the Tigers had little trouble with Tulane last week.

 

Jordan Jefferson has connected on 123 of 193 passes for 1,421 yards with 11 TDs and just four interceptions.

 

Charles Scott leads the Tigers ground attack with 459 yards and four scores.

 

Scott had his most productive game of the year against Tulane, rushing for a season-best 112 yards and 2 TDs in the 42-0 win over the Green Wave. The 100-yard game was the eighth of his career, moving him into a tie with Harvey Williams for fourth place in school history. Scott’s 32 rushing scores rank fourth in school history.

 

Russell Shepard is the second leading rusher with 225 yards and two scores on 28 carries. He’s rushed for a touchdown in each of LSU’s last two games.

 

Brandon LaFell and Terrance Toliver have combined for more receptions (75) than any other wide receiver tandem in the SEC. Toliver leads the Tigers with 38 catches for 501 yards and 3 TDs, while LaFell has 37 receptions for 478 yards and 8 scores.

 

With his two touchdown catches against Tulane, LaFell is now second in LSU history with 22 receiving touchdowns. He trails LSU record holder Dwayne Bowe by just four touchdowns going into the Alabama game.

 

LSU goes into the Alabama game with a defense that has allowed only 36 points in its last four games. LSU is allowing just 12.1 points (7th in the nation) and 293 total yards (15th nationally) with 114.3 on the ground and 178.6 through the air.

 

In its five SEC games, LSU is limiting opponents to 275.6 total yards and 14.2 points per game.

 

LSU is also first in the SEC and No. 8 in the nation in turnover margin at +9 (1.12 per game).

 

LSU is tied with Arkansas atop the SEC in redzone defense, allowing opponents to score just 66.7 percent of the time (14 of 21). LSU has forced three redzone turnovers this year.

 

Last week, LSU limited Tulane to just 216 total yards and only 26 rushing yards. It was LSU's first shutout of the season and the first by a Tiger team since the 2007 season.

 

Kelvin Sheppard (70 tackles, 7.5 TFL), Perry Riley (55 tackles, 3.0 TFL), and Harry Coleman (52 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 2 sacks) continue to lead the Tiger defense. Sheppard leads the Tigers and ranks fourth in the SEC in tackles with 8.8 per game. His 7.5 tackles for a loss also leads LSU.

 

Sheppard had his third straight double-digit tackle game with 13 stops against Tulane. He's the first Tiger since Bradie James in 2002 to have double-figure tackles in three straight games (11 vs. Florida, 11 vs. South Carolina, 14 vs. Auburn).

 

Rahim Alem leads LSU’s defense with three sacks on the year and his six tackles for a loss is tied with Drake Nevis for second on the team behind Kelvin Sheppard.

 

Patrick Peterson is tied with Brandon Taylor, Chad Jones and Chris Hawkins for the team lead in interceptions as all four have two apiece.

 

LSU has intercepted at least one pass in 10 straight games. The Tigers have 11 picks on the year which puts them tied with Alabama and others at No. 17 in the country.

 

A win by Alabama on Saturday against LSU clinches at least a share of the SEC Western Division title for the Crimson Tide as well as a spot in the league's championship game.

 

Offensively, Alabama averages 31.7 points a game and 410 yards of offense – 218 rushing and 192 passing.

 

Greg McElroy has completed 60 percent (121 of 202) of his passes for 1,445 yards and nine touchdowns with only three interceptions. In the last three games, however, he’s completed only 50 percent (43 of 85) for 359 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

 

Mark Ingram has rushed for 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns through eight games this season for 125.5 yards per game average to rank fifth nationally and first in the SEC in rushing. He has also added 19 receptions for 186 yards and three scores.

 

Ingram leads the nation with 32 rushes of 10 or more yards this season and has eight receptions of 10 or more yards for a total of 40. Of Ingram’s 172 touches (153 rushes, 19 receptions), almost a quarter (23.3 percent) have went for at least 10 yards.

 

Ingram has gained 645 yards after contact this season on those 172 touches (153 rushes, 19 receptions). He has gained 54.2 percent of his total yards after contact this season (645 of 1,190).

 

True freshman Trent Richardson is second behind Ingram with 377 yards and four touchdowns on 74 carries.

 

Julio Jones leads Alabama with 20 receptions for 229 yards and a touchdown. Mark Ingram and Collin Peek both have 19 receptions with Peek gaining 213 yards and Ingram 186.

 

Alabama returned eight starters from a 2008 defense that finished third nationally in total defense, allowing just 263.5 yards per game. The 2009 unit has even better numbers, allowing a total of 240.9 yards per game in eight outings to rank fourth nationally.

 

In 2008, Alabama finished No. 2 nationally in rushing defense, allowing 74.1 yards per game. UA ranks second through eight games this season, allowing 64.6 yards per game.

 

The Crimson Tide has held 19 teams under 100 yards rushing over the past 22 games with only LSU and Florida in 2008 and Kentucky in 2009, able to crack the 100-yard barrier as a team. In 2009, only Kentucky has managed more than 74 yards rushing on the Tide.

 

The Alabama defense has held opponents under 200 yards of total offense in nine of the last 22 games

 

Alabama also ranks second in the country in pass efficiency defense, surrendering an 88.8 opponent passer rating. The Tide is tied for 17th in interceptions (11) and ranks 20th in pass defense (176.00 ypg).

 

The Crimson Tide defense has been strong on third down in 2009, ranking seventh nationally and allowing just a 29.8 conversion rate (34 for 114).

 

Alabama has 23 sacks on the season and their 2.88 sacks a game leads the SEC and ranks them 14th nationally.

 

Marcellus Dacreus leads the Tide with 4.5 sacks but Javier Arenas and Eryk Anders are right on his heels with four each.

 

Rolando McClain leads Bama with 57 tackles while Mark Barron and Javier Arenas add 48 and 45, respectively.

 

Mark Barron is tied for the conference lead with four interceptions.

 

Javier Arenas is the league leader in punt returns with 19 for 320 yards (16.8 avg.). Trindon Holliday is third with 13 returns for 190 yards (14.6 avg.).

 

Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game will be televised by CBS.


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