Alabama, Derrick Henry Over LSU Instant Analysis

    Alabama and Derrick Henry ran all over LSU in a statement win to take control of the SEC West race.

    November 8, 2015

    Alabama 30, LSU 16 Instant Analysis

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    1. Welcome to the Heisman race, Mr. Derrick Henry

    By the way, Jake Coker completed 18-of-24 passes for 184 yards with no picks, but that’s not what you called.

    Clemson’s Deshaun Watson is right there in the front-runner spot for the Heisman, but Derrick Henry came up with his Trophy-worthy final drive to put the game on ice, finishing with 210 yards and three scores on 38 carries. It might not have been flashy, and it might have been bullish, but Henry did his part to carry the team to the one big, impressive win it had to have.

    Alabama had two weeks to prepare for Leonard Fournette, and holding him to 31 yards and a score on 19 carries, it showed. LSU had two weeks to prepare for Henry, but he was able to get a head of steam Fournette didn’t have. Henry had room to move that Fournette didn’t. Henry had the night Fournette didn’t have, and Alabama took a giant step forward on the way to the SEC title game.

    2. LSU, don’t give up quite yet.

    Mississippi State gets an extra few days of rest before hosting Alabama at home. After this game, how fresh will Derrick Henry be? How ready to roll with the rest of the team be after getting up for this showdown? Is it totally insane to think Auburn can’t rise up at home and pull off the stunner on the biggest of big rivalry games? Maybe, but LSU has to now look really, really impressive the rest of the way.

    There’s no shame in losing at Alabama. If LSU absolutely rocks Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M over the next three weeks, the 11-1 resume will be as strong as just about any other one-loss team out there, especially if Florida gets to 11-1 and battles well against Bama in the SEC title game – assuming the Crimson Tide don’t lose and actually get to Atlanta.

    It’s not crazy to suggest that the Pac-12 champ could have two losses. Notre Dame could certainly lose to Stanford, the Big 12 probably won’t have an unbeaten champion, and there are still plenty of big things left that could still happen in the Big Ten. It’s a longshot to get in at 11-1 – not winning a championship is the killer – but if it’s all about the four best teams, LSU has to blow past this loss and show the playoff committee that it’s worthy.

    3. The LSU receivers

    A few years from now, NFL types will wonder why the LSU passing game didn’t rock and roll with this incredible receiving corps.

    It’s not that Brandon Harris can’t throw, but he’s not an Aaron Rodgers-type of pure passer and the brilliant LSU targets barely got to show what they could do.

    Travin Dural came up with a 40-yard touchdown catch, Malachi Dupre made two nice catches, and tight end DeSean Smith caught a pass for 26 yards. They accounted for five of the six completed LSU passes on the day. The other pass? Offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins for two yards.

    Jake Coker got time and was able to hit the open throws, while Harris didn’t have a ton of time to work, and it showed.

    Even with Fournette getting stopped, and even with the LSU passing game stalling, the D just needed to come up with one big stop to make it interesting late, and it didn’t happen. The fight was there against the frothing-at-the-mouth defense, and the talent is undeniable. Over the final few weeks, the coaches have to figure out how to utilize all the weapons even more, if only to help take some of the pressure off of Fournette.

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