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College Football Monday - Week 11
Bama Shuts Out LSU To Claim #1 Ranking
Only Five Teams Remain Undefeated in Division 1 Rankings
Team of Week - Arkansas
Offensive Player of Week - QB Mason Rudolph - Oklahoma St.
Defensive Player of Week – LB Reuben Foster - Alabama
Photo - DL Jonathan Allen - Alabama
Upcoming Key Weekly Matchups
Southern Cal at Washington, Baylor at Oklahoma & Wake Forest at Louisville in major Matchups
Alabama's renowned defense once again dominated LSU as HC Nick Sabin beat his former club for the fifth consecutive time. This time it was a shutout as the Bama D limited LSU star running back Leonard Fournette to only 35 yards on 17 carries. Crimson Tide freshman QB Jalen Hurts actually won the game with his legs with 114 rushing yards on 20 attempts and the lone critical TD in the game. Hurts displayed great poise in his first game in Death Valley where the Tigers are almost unbeatable. He threw for only 107 yards on 10 completions of 19 attempts against a very stubborn Tiger defense. The game entered the 4th quarter scoreless with neither offense able to muster an effective passing game.
Hurts finally broke the deadlock on a 21-yard TD run early in the final quarter. #1 Alabama remained unbeaten with the 10-0 shutout and a strong position as the nation’s defending champion. Saban praised his physical defense which did not let LSU run a play from inside the Crimson Tide 30.
The Crimson Tide improved to (9-0, 6-0 SEC, No. 1 AP) won for the sixth straight time against LSU (5-3, 3-2, No. 15 AP). They remain alone in first place in the SEC West, one game ahead of Auburn.
"He has great poise. I don't think the stage is too big for him at all," Saban said about Hurts. "He expects a lot of himself and we expect a lot of him because he's in a role that has tremendous responsibility. He has handled that very, very well."
LSU had its share of big plays, though virtually all on defense that forced Hurts into an early interception in Bama territory. They also stopped him on a 4th-and-goal play and forcing him into a 3rd-quarter fumble. The Tiger's offense could not capitalize against menacing defensive end Jonathan Allen and LB Reuben Foster on the talented Tide unit.
"We played our butt off on defense but we lose as a team," LSU interim coach Ed Orgeron said. "We just couldn't get anything going on offense."
The Tigers finished with 125 total yards. Alabama had five sacks, one more than LSU's offense had allowed in any other game this season. Allen, linebackers Foster, Rashaan Evans and Ryan Anderson and end Dalvin Tomlinson all harassed young LSU QB Danny Etling. Edge rusher Tim Williams applied consistent outside pass pressure.
"We're just dominating the line of scrimmage," Allen said.
Etling completed 11 of 24 passes for 92 yards and 1 interception by Minkah Fitzpatrick in the 4th quarter while under pressure. The turnover led to a late Alabama field goal. The offense also looked flustered at times. LSU had to burn two timeouts early in the 2nd half to avoid delay-of-game penalties, then was called for delay of game on third down in Alabama territory later.
"We just had some miscommunications on what we were trying to do. Unfortunately, that was kind of what bit us," Etling said. "We did some stupid things and made some inaccurate throws."
Leonard Fournette was again the focus of the Tide defense where he has struggled in this matchup annually. Last year, he was held to 31 yards on 19 carries in Tuscaloosa. Saturday night he had only 35 yards on 17 carries. This was with a bye week to prepare and only two weeks after TD sprints of 78, 76 and 59 yards vs Ole Miss. His longest run against the Crimson Tide was just 9 yards.
Saban explained his team's success against Fournette this way: "When you play a great player like that, everybody has to really focus on doing their job. Our guys did it last year. We played a lot of the same stuff that we played a year ago."
Coach Nick Saban improved to 8-3 against his former team since taking over the Crimson Tide in 2007, the result clouded the future of the coaching position at LSU. Ed Orgeron had won his first three games since taking over for Les Miles who was fired in late September.
Michigan is one of only five Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools that are still undefeated this season. The Wolverines are off to an 9-0 start for the first time since 2006 and the fourth time in the past 40 years. Michigan recorded a season-high 660 yards of total offense last Saturday vs Maryland. The Wolverines also had a 300-yard passer (Wilton Speight-362), 100-yard rusher (De'Veon Smith-114) and 100-yard receiver (Jehu Chesson-112) in the same game for the first time since Oct. 19, 2013, vs Indiana.
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett was responsible for four TDs last Saturday against Nebraska, giving him 94 career touchdowns responsible for, one shy of the Big Ten record set by Purdue's Drew Brees from 1997-2000. Penn State has scored 103 points in its last two games, the first time the Nittany Lions have done that since 2008 and the first time in consecutive conference games since 2002. Penn State's 599 yards of total offense last Saturday vs Iowa were its highest total in a single game since 1995 (661 vs. Rutgers) and the most the Nittany Lions have recorded in a Big Ten game since 1994 (653 vs. Michigan State).
Frank Coyle is a long time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe, Biletnikoff etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites