Oct 22, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban leads his team onto the field prior to the game against Texas A&M Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama and LSU Preparing for Death Valley Brawl

This weekend will see an annual conference rivalry meeting between the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) and the rising LSU Tigers (5-2). After securing last season’s BCS Championship, Alabama is continuing their dominance with a 20-game win streak. Meanwhile, following a midseason meltdown and the firing of head coach Les Miles, the Tigers find themselves ranked No. 15 in the country.

Oct 22, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) carries the ball up the field against the Texas A&M Aggies during the third quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2016; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) carries the ball up the field against the Texas A&M Aggies during the third quarter at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

LSU’s interim head coach Ed Orgeron is 3-0 since taking the helm, but now the Tigers will welcome college football’s undisputed best team to Death Valley. Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is familiar with the venue, having coached LSU en route to a national championship in 2004.

Overall, Alabama’s defense is ranked fourth in the nation and they lead the country with 32 sacks. That defense will be tested Saturday, as LSU’s averaging just under 42 points per game since Orgeron took over.

Saban says LSU’s recent offensive success has come from a passing attack that features a smart quarterback and talented wideouts. Tiger quarterback Danny Etling is averaging a 136.7 passer rating since coming off the bench in Week 2.

On the other side of the ball, LSU sports the league’s fifth-best scoring defense—surrendering a BCS-low of only eight touchdowns to their seven opponents. Saban says visiting the Tigers will provide more of a challenge than any opponent the Tide faced this season.

LSU’s defense has been great, but Alabama’s offense is nothing to sneeze at. While Orgeron’s Tigers have seen recent offensive improvements, Saban’s Tide haven’t slowed down: averaging 43.9 points in each contest.

Oct 22, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron looks on against the Mississippi Rebels during the second half of a game at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Mississippi 38-21. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron looks on against the Mississippi Rebels during the second half of a game at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Mississippi 38-21. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In preparation for Bama, Orgeron says he’s been impressed with LSU’s energy. The Tigers will need plenty of energy if they’re going to contain quarterback Jalen Hurts; the freshman is ranked fourth among SEC passers in total QBR (142.7). Tailback Damien Harris may lead the Crimson Tide’s rushing attack with 700 yards, but Hurts isn’t far behind: amassing 521 yards to compliment nine rushing scores.

Both teams are fresh off of a bye week, and kickoff from Death Valley is set for 8 p.m.

About Charlie Jordan

I'm a senior studying Political Science at the University of Florida. Multimedia Sports Reporter for ESPN Gainesville 95.3 and WUFT - Passionate about life, sports, and fitness.

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