So, Jeff has given you a couple of key matchups leading into the big game tonight and the two matchups that he highlighted are definitely two of the biggest storylines to watch tonight. What I’m going to try and do, however, is give you some Keys to the Game to watch for, some specific examples of things that I think could swing the score one way or the other. I’m not Gary Danielson and these aren’t sponsored by Home Depot but my guess is that at least one of these things is going to completely decide the outcome.
Alabama and LSU both are known for their ability to hold onto the football and not make the crucial mistakes. Alabama’s runningbacks have gone something like 295 carries without a fumble and LSU is +15 in turnover margin on the season. One turnover could take one of these teams from a win to a loss.
It’s pretty inevitable that in a game with as much defensive hype as this game, you’re going to hear how the field position battle is crucial. Alabama’s special teams have been a weakness for the team from a coverage perspective but they also have one of the best return men in the SEC in Marquis Maze. Watch for Alabama to give up big yards on kickoffs but also watch for Maze to potentially switch field position back with a big punt return or two.
The Return of “Pick Six”
Jarrett Lee has been spectacular this year in relief of Jordan Jefferson following his controversy in the offseason. Lee has been efficient to the tune of 13 touchdowns and only 1 interception on the season. He hasn’t played a defensive backfield like Bama’s yet, though. In case you’ve forgotten, Jarrett Lee is the same person who was notorious for doing a lot of this:
Trent Richardson’s Heisman Moment
People talk about this being Trent’s Heisman moment:
While an amazing highlight like that is definitely something that will look spectacular if Richardson wins the Heisman, a big game against lowly Ole Miss is not going to win it for him. A big game against the #1 team in the country? That will.
My guess is that this is going to be the biggest Key to the Game. While Alabama has some talented receivers in Marquis Maze, Darius Hanks and DeAndrew White, they don’t have a guy with the ability of Randle. Randle caught two huge touchdown passes in the blowout against Auburn and he is the most talented receiver on the field tonight.
The truth of the matter, like I said here, is that this game is going to be broken down continuously leading up to the kickoff but in all reality, nobody really knows what is going to happen. Whatever ends up happening, something is going to go incredibly right or incredibly wrong for one team in one of the key phases of the game.