LSU game provides chance for Alabama football to respond. Here’s why

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Much has transpired since the day Joe Burrow and LSU walked away from Bryant-Denny Stadium with a win two years ago.  

First, the pandemic prompted a delayed college football season unlike any other. And LSU has only descended as a program since. The Tigers finished 2020 with a 5-5 record and sit at 4-4 right now, both far away from LSU’s national-championship 2019 season.

And now Tigers coach Ed Orgeron is on his way out after the season. He will coach the remainder of 2021 before he leaves LSU. 

Even though LSU is nowhere near the team that was last at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2019, that doesn’t seem to matter all that much to the Crimson Tide. For those who took the field against the Tigers on that November day and experienced the pain of that loss and what transpired in the aftermath, Saturday’s game provides a chance to respond.

“We all know the last time LSU came here,” running back Brian Robinson Jr. said Monday. “So with that weighing on us, we got a way of approaching this week. We still feel that feeling from when they came here two years ago and they beat us in our home turf. And we feel like we got to respond to that.”

Part of that stems from what transpired after the final whistle. First, there were LSU players who went over to Alabama recruits and pitched them on the Tigers. Then, a player live-streamed what Orgeron said to his team in the locker room afterward.

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“We’re going to beat their (butt) in recruiting,” Orgeron said that night. “We’re going to beat their (butt) every time they see us. You understand that? Roll Tide what? (Expletive) you.”

The Crimson Tide has had a chance to face LSU since that memorable postgame; Alabama defeated the Tigers 55-17 in Baton Rouge in 2020. But having the chance to face LSU again back at the scene of the loss and the postgame shenanigans carries a little extra weight.

“We make sure people know just the disrespect that was with that, how it made us feel and everything we have to do to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” Robinson said.

Defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis said he didn’t remember much from that game, but he also mentioned the “so it doesn’t happen again” line.

“We just worry about getting better this week,” Mathis said. “Focus on what we got to do to go into this game and be dominant.” 

That aim aligns with Alabama’s goal to avenge what transpired in 2019. If the Crimson Tide wins and wins in impressive fashion, consider both goals accomplished.

A win over LSU will be an important step in Alabama keeping pace in the high-speed race that is the SEC. While Alabama took its turn for a pitstop during the open-date week, teams such as Auburn and Georgia continued to cruise on the racetrack.

The Bulldogs will be in Atlanta to face whoever wins the SEC West. The Iron Bowl might end up deciding that.

Meanwhile, LSU is all but out of the race, but that won’t matter much come Saturday. Alabama wants and needs to beat LSU. The Crimson Tide can’t afford a loss, no matter the team, after what transpired in College Station.

Plus, LSU is a rival.

And that rival is the same one that, albeit with a fairly different roster, traveled to Bryant-Denny Stadium two years ago and provided some disrespect on the way out.

Contact Alabama reporter Nick Kelly: Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly