No. 14 LSU travels to Tuscaloosa for a primetime matchup with No. 8 Alabama on Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 6:45pm CT on CBS and the LSU Sports Radio Network.
The first Saturday in November has traditionally gone a long way in determining the winner of the SEC West Division, and this contest will be no different. It will actually be the 18thth time since 2002 (a 23-game stretch) that both teams entered the game ranked in the Top 25.
Battle of Tuscaloosa pic.twitter.com/846cyVvQO0
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) November 1, 2023
“An exciting week for sure,” head coach Brian Kelly said Monday. “We’re getting an opportunity to test ourselves against an outstanding football team in Alabama. It’s one of those games that puts you in a position to compete for an SEC championship.”
LSU quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Jaden Daniels will look to lead the Tigers’ high-powered offense in a hostile environment and continue their streak of dominant play that includes a school-record seven consecutive games of 500 yards or more of total offense and a school-best -good four straight games of 48 points or more.
The California kid leads the nation in total offense (386.8), passing touchdowns (25), passer efficiency (204.3 rating) and yards per attempt (11.5), making him Pro Football Focus’ highest rated quarterback (92.3) so far this season.
Daniels had great weapons at his disposal all year, highlighted by the nation’s leader in receiving yards (Malik Nabers with 981) and receiving touchdowns (Brian Thomas with 11). Nabers has recorded 56 receptions for 981 yards and 9 touchdowns, while Thomas has 42 catches for 732 yards and 11 scores.
Running back Logan Diggs is also currently ranked No. 5 in the SEC in rushing at 87.3 yards per game (611 yards, 6 TDs in 7 games), providing the offense with a balanced attack.
“Jaden is a great teammate and a great team captain,” Diggs said. “His play speaks for itself. The type of person he is puts it above all else. I bet knowing him, the Heisman is the last thing on his mind right now.
Defensively, LSU is coming off a 62-0 shutout of Army at Tiger Stadium, holding the Black Knights to just 193 yards of total offense in which quarterback Omar Speights led the team in tackles with nine, while Harold Perkins Jr. also recorded seven. Cornerback Andre Sam also shined in the second, finishing with three tackles, two interceptions and a pass breakup.
There is work to be done, but after posting three great games against Missouri, Auburn, and Army, Coach Kelly believes the team can find its stride at the right time heading into the back-to-back month of November.
“I think we’ve made steady progress,” Kelly said. “We’re still a work in progress, but we’re getting better. Our practice (Thursday) was night and day where it was against Missouri. This is preparation, but we have to introduce ourselves. We got to have 11 guys performing together.
November is about raising your level of preparation. This is when championship teams come together. pic.twitter.com/epg00EHrTu
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) October 30, 2023
The Tide is led by sophomore quarterback Jalen Milrow, who has 1,617 yards passing and 13 touchdowns, along with 142 rushing yards this season. Senior running back Jase McClellan leads the team in rushing with 569 yards on 122 carries and four touchdown scores. Jermaine Burton leads Alabama’s receivers with 508 yards on 23 catches for five touchdowns, while Isaiah Bond adds 360 yards on 23 receptions for three touchdowns.
Defensively, Caleb Downs leads the team with 63 tackles and two interceptions. Deontae Lawson has scored 49 of his own, while Jaylen Key has 45 total tackles and one pick. The Tigers will also have to account for veteran linebacker Dallas Turner, who has recorded 34 tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles.
“This week we have to raise our level of preparation,” Kelly said. “It’s not about rising to the competition, it’s about rising to the level of preparation required to play an outstanding football team through all three phases.”