LSU running back Leonard Fournette has been the dominant force on the LSU Tigers offense and the main staple to their success this season. Fournette has been the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy up to this point in the season. There have been comparisons to Herschel Walker, the 1981 Heisman Trophy winner. Fournette has averaged over 191 yards per game on the ground leading up to the game against Alabama, which is better than Walker’s 17.81 ypg in his Heisman campaign.
If there was ever a blueprint on how to stop Fournette and the LSU offense, which seems to go hand and hand; the Alabama Crimson Tide defense put it on display Saturday night. Fournette was corralled and smothered as soon as he got the ball. He couldn’t find a hole wider than a phone booth to run through. Fournette was only allowed to rush for 31 yards on 19 carries for 1.6 yard per carry. His longest run was 18 yards and he did manage to get a 1-yard touchdown run.
The narrative is, you’re only as good as your star player. Well it showed, Alabama’s defensive coordinator wasn’t going to allow Fournette to beat the Crimson Tide so he forced LSU quarterback Brandon Harris to throw the ball. It worked in Alabama’s favor as Harris was ineffective and inefficient going 6/19 for only 128 and a touchdown with an interception.
It was a team effort on defense. There wasn’t a single guy who stood out who played a dominant role in stopping LSU on offense. That’s what it takes to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard, a total team effort.
On the other side, LSU has a very good sophomore safety in Jamal Adams who can put a lick on you if your head isn’t on a swivel. But it wasn’t enough to stop the Alabama offense, where quarterback Jake Coker was more efficient than Brandon Harris. Coker went 18/24 for 184 yards, much like the Crimson Tide defense there wasn’t a stand out player that really made the difference in the game. Wait a minute…there a small benefactor Heisman Trophy candidate Derrick Henry.
Give credit where credit is due, the offensive line for the Tide opened up holes for Henry that put him (in my opinion) in the top spot of the Heisman watch list. Henry carried the ball and shouldered the offensive burden for 210 yards on 38 carries with three touchdowns leading the Tide to a 30-16 victory.
The victory for Alabama will quiet the argument of their place in the top 4 of the College Football Playoff. Pundits questioned how Alabama a one lose team could be in the playoff over some of the undefeated teams up to this point in the season. But people have to remember, it is still early and a lot of football to play.