It's GameDay: The Matchup of the Year
Sr. Assoc. Athletic Director/SID
BATON ROUGE -- One of the most talked about and hyped regular season football games in college football history takes center stage on Saturday as top-ranked and undefeated LSU faces second-ranked Alabama in an epic clash between two Southeastern Conference powerhouses.
The winner of Saturday's game will take the lead in the SEC Western Division and will be in the driver's seat for the ultimate prize - an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans in January.
Kickoff between the Tigers and the Crimson Tide is set for 7:11 p.m. from a sold out Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The game will be broadcast on CBS with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Woflson on the call.
The Voice of the Tigers Jim Hawthorne, who has been on microphone for some of the great moments in LSU history, will call the action on the LSU Sports Radio Network. Hawthorne will be joined on the broadcast by former Tiger great Doug Moreau and former LSU special teams gunner Gordy Rush.
LSU GameDay Info
Ticket Will Call for LSU fans opens at 5:30 p.m. CT. at Gate 40 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
LSU will wear white jerseys and will occupy the east sideline (opposite press box).
REMINDER: Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday, Nov. 6, at 2 a.m. CT. Turn clocks back one hour!
Kickoff: 7:11 p.m. CT
Driving Directions (Baton Rouge to Tuscaloosa, Ala. -- 350 mi.; 5h, 36m)
LSU, winners of a school-record nine straight games by double-figures, is 8-0 overall and 5-0 in conference play. The Tigers have outscored its opponent by a whopping 222 points this year. LSU is 48-4 in night games under Les Miles, including an astonishing 41-3 mark in Saturday night games.
Alabama brings an identical record of 8-0 overall and 5-0 in league play into the contest. The Crimson Tide features perhaps the best running back in college football in Trent Richardson (989 yards, 17 TDs) along with a defense that is allowing just 6.9 points and 180.5 total yards per game.
Both LSU and Alabama are coming off open weeks. LSU beat Auburn, 45-10, in its last outing two weeks ago, while the Crimson Tide posted a 37-6 win over Tennessee in their last game.
"We've had two good weeks of preparation," LSU coach Les Miles said. "We have worked hard and done a very good job of focusing on what we need to do to put ourselves in the best position to have success. I think this team has the right mental and physical approach to playing in a big game. They have enjoyed preparing to play a very good Alabama team.
"We recognize that we are playing a real quality opponent. Our defense will be challenged against a potent running and passing attack. Trent Richardson and AJ McCarron are very efficient and dominant players. Their defense is statistically as good as there is. We think this will be a great challenge to our guys"
Offensively, LSU goes into the game averaging 39 points and 372 total yards per game (189 rushing, 183 passing). One area that the Tigers have excelled this year has been taking care of the football as LSU has turned the ball over just three times (2 fumbles, 1 interception) all year.
LSU goes into the Alabama game ranked No. 2 in the nation in turnover margin at plus-15. The Tigers went the entire month of October without a turnover and they got into the Alabama game riding a streak of five games, 59 possessions and 336 offensive snaps.
Against the Crimson Tide, the Tigers will face a defense that leads the nation in scoring (6.9), total defense (180.5), pass defense (135.6) and rush defense (44.9). Linebacker Dont'a Hightower leads the Crimson Tide with 48 tackles, while safety Mark Barron has 40 tackles.
Senior quarterback Jarrett Lee continues to be the key component to the Tiger offense has he's completed 63 percent of his passes (98-of-155) for 1,250 yards, 13 touchdowns and just one interception. Backup Jordan Jefferson is also expected to see action at quarterback on Saturday, giving the Tigers a change of pace at the position. In four games this year, Jefferson has accounted for four TDs (2 rushing, 2 passing).
When Lee and Jefferson throw the ball, their top two targets have been junior Rueben Randle (33 receptions, 638 yards, 7 TDs) and true freshman Odell Beckham Jr. (27 receptions, 334 yards, 2 TDs). Tight end Deangelo Peterson is third on the team with 12 catches for 137 yards and a score.
The Tigers bring a loaded backfield into the game led by sophomores Spencer Ware (512 yards, 6 TDs) and Michael Ford (441 yards, 6 TDs). Kenny Hilliard, who burst onto the scene with 65 yards and a pair of TDs in the win over Auburn, will also be in the mix at running back against Alabama.
Defensively, the Tigers will be tasked with stopping Richardson, who has rushed for 100 or more yards six times this year. Backup Eddie Lacy has rushed for 465 yards and five scores for the Crimson Tide as Alabama leads the 229 yards on the ground per game.
Quarterback A.J. McCarron keeps the Tide balanced on offense as he's completed 67 percent of his passes (134-of-200) for 1,664 yards and 10 scores. McCarron's top target is Marquis Maze, who has 39 catches for 482 yards and one touchdown.
LSU's defense has been up to the challenge each week as the Tigers have been equally impressive, ranking among the top third in the nation in rushing defense (76.6) and scoring defense (11.5) and fourth in total defense (251.4).
Senior safety Brandon Taylor leads the Tiger defense with 48 tackles, while cornerback Tyrann Mathieu has 42 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions. Defensive end Barkevious Mingo leads the Tigers with 7.5 tackles for loss and sacks with 4.0.
Special teams play has provided a tremendous lift for the Tigers as LSU, behind its Australian punter Brad Wing, lead the SEC and rank No. 5 in the nation in net punting at 41.1 yards a kick. On 38 punts this year, LSU has allowed just seven punt return yards. Wing leads the SEC in punting with a 44.4 average.
"Any time you get into a game that is a big game, the piece that you want to do is to allow your guys to focus and prepare and I think we have done that this week," Miles said. "It's been a fun week; I'm excited about the chance to play a great program like Alabama and it's our job to make sure that we honor them by giving our best effort on Saturday. Games like this - this is what college football is all about."