Alabama vs. LSU: Game Grades, Analysis for the Tigers

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Alabama Crimson Tide beat the LSU Tigers 10-0 on Saturday night, marking the sixth-straight win for the Tide over the Tigers and stunting a revitalized season in Death Valley. 

Saturday night’s primetime showdown was scoreless deep into the second half until a 21-yard scamper by Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts ultimately put the game away. 

After winning three consecutive games under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, LSU is back to the drawing board once again, looking to still salvage a season perhaps one loss away from being left to dust. 

With that, let’s check out some game grades for LSU. 

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Offensive Play-Calling

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Grade: D

The Tigers seemed content to try and grind out yards with Leonard Fournette against the vaunted Alabama frontlines, going against one of Ed Orgeron’s promises to open up the offense and get the ball to athletes in open space. 

Finding open space is markedly more difficult against Alabama than perhaps any other team in the nation, but reverting back to the ground-and-pound principles that saw LSU’s stagnant offense cost Les Miles his job seemed perplexing. 

Of course, Danny Etling’s performance didn’t help matters. The former Purdue gunslinger was just 11-of-24 for 92 yards with a pick in his biggest test under center to date. 

Perhaps it was a chicken-or-the-egg argument in Death Valley. The offense couldn’t call plays to get athletes in space because Danny Etling was ineffective, while Etling was ineffective because the play-calling was vanilla. 

Fournette finished the game with 35 yards on 17 carries, a far cry from the school-record for rushing he set a week ago against Ole Miss. 


Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Grade: B+

Yes, the LSU defense ultimately lost containment on Jalen Hurts late in the game, allowing the Tide to finally shift momentum and capture the win. 

But giving up 10 points to an offense that hadn’t scored less than 33 all year is a trophy in it of itself. 

The Tigers opened the game with an interception by Jamal Adams, but a missed field goal essentially made that huge ignitor early a moot point. 

LSU took the ball away from Alabama twice and only gave up 323 yards, most of them coming late as they wore down. 

Yet the Tigers’ offense couldn’t bail out the other side of the ball with points, or just long drives to buy some oxygen for the defense. 

Capturing Momentum

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Grade: F

The opening salvo of Saturday night’s contest was an interception by Jamal Adams, giving the Tigers the ball on Alabama’s side of the field early. 

It led to a missed 49-yard field goal. 

Early in the third quarter, the Tigers got a goal line stand to keep the game scoreless. 

LSU proceeded to go three-and-out.

The Tigers were simply unable to create any waves of momentum on Saturday night despite having multiple opportunities to do so. Seldom do teams get that many chances to beat Alabama, yet LSU just failed to make the Tide pay for their mistakes. 

Ed Orgeron's LSU Resume

Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Grade: C-

The bottom line for Ed Orgeron’s future in Baton Rouge was likely that he had to go undefeated as the interim coach to lock up the permanent job. 

Saturday’s loss ensures he’ll have at least one tick on the wrong side of his record when he submits his resume this offseason. 

LSU started surging when he took over, winning three-straight games, earning a No. 13 ranking in the first College Football Playoff poll and earning their way back into SEC title conversation. 

The offense still needs work though after failing to put up any points on Saturday night in the biggest game of the year. 

If Orgeron wants the job, he cannot lose again, and even that might not be enough after the latest showing in Death Valley.