No. 1 Alabama, No. 15 LSU face their latest pivotal clash
No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC, No. 1 CFP) at No. 15 LSU (5-2, 3-1, No. 13 CFP), 8 p.m. (CBS)
Line: Alabama by 7.
Series record: Tied 50-25-5.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Despite a dominant first eight games, Alabama could lose control of the SEC West with a loss in Death Valley, where the Crimson Tide has needed late heroics to win in its past two visits. LSU can move into a tie for first in the division and vault itself back into the College Football Playoff conversation with a win. A loss would weaken interim coach Ed Orgeron’s candidacy to keep his coveted job beyond this season.
Alabama’s dominant defense, which has accounted for nine TDs on interceptions or fumble returns and ranks fourth nationally, against an LSU offense, which has averaged 41.7 points per game since Orgeron replaced Les Miles in late September.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Alabama: DL Jonathan Allen’s 24 career sacks ranks third all-time at Alabama. The menacing, 6-foot-3, 291-pound Allen’s six sacks, two fumble recoveries, blocked kick and 35 solo or assisted tackles have even made him one of few defensive players to generate some Heisman Trophy hype.
LSU: RB Leonard Fournette, sidelined three games this season by a nagging ankle injury, returned with a vengeance from a two-game absence in LSU’s previous game. He rushed for a Tigers single-game record 284 yards against Mississippi, including three TDs which all went as long as 59 or more yards. Fournette averaged only 1.6 yards on 19 carries) against Alabama last season.
FACTS & FIGURES
Alabama has won 20 straight games since last season, the longest current winning streak in the country and has won 12 straight against ranked opponents. ... The Crimson Tide has won five straight in the series, beginning with the teams’ meeting in the BCS national title game at the end of the 2011 season. ... Orgeron is 3-0 as LSU’s coach, but both SEC teams LSU has defeated in that stretch have losing records. ... LSU’s defense has allowed only eight TDs all season and has not allowed more than two TDs in a single game. ... In the last five Alabama-LSU games in Tiger stadium, the combined score is 103-103, including two overtime games. Alabama has won three of those five games.
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org