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LSU/Alabama pre-game notes

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LSU hopes to be celebrating late Saturday night

Two of the nation's top programs - including a pair of the best defenses in college football - collide on Saturday when fifth-ranked LSU hosts top-ranked Alabama in what will be the third meeting between the teams in less than a year.

It's also a rematch of last year's Game of the Century (LSU won 9-6 in overtime in Tuscaloosa) and the BCS National Championship (Alabama won 21-0 in New Orleans).

It's the third straight game that both teams go into the contest ranked in the Top 5.

Alabama leads the overall series with the Tigers 46-25-5.

LSU is 6-4 vs. Alabama in the last 10 meetings and 9-6 in its last 15 games with the Crimson Tide.

Since the start of the 2011 season, LSU is 20-2 with 11 wins over Top 25 teams, while Alabama is 20-1 with 6 wins over Top 25 opponents.

In the last eight quarters of play between the teams, LSU and Alabama have combined for just one touchdown and it came with 4:36 left to play in the BCS National Championship.

LSU, which had an open date last weekend, is 7-1 overall and 3-1 in SEC play following its 24-19 win over Texas A&M on Oct. 20. Alabama is 8-0 overall and 5-0 in conference play.

LSU is facing its fourth consecutive ranked team, representing just the second time in school history that the Tigers have played four straight ranked opponents during the regular season. The only other time that happened was 2007.

The Tigers bring the nation's longest current home field winning streak into the game at 22 straight as the Tigers haven't lost at home since a 13-3 decision to No. 1 ranked Florida in 2009.

LSU is 5-1 under Les Miles following a scheduled open date. The only loss came to Florida following the first open date in 2008.

The Tigers are 36-1 in Saturday Night Games in Tiger Stadium under Miles.

Miles has more wins over Alabama (5) than any coach in LSU history.

Since 2005, the LSU-Alabama game has gone to overtime three times (2005, 2008, and 2011) with the Tigers winning in 2005 and 2011.

Alabama and LSU rank No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the SEC in the three major defensive categories - total defense, rushing defense and pass defense. The Crimson Tide is also first in the league in scoring defense (8.3), while LSU is third (14.6).

The Crimson Tide also ranks No. 1 in the country in those four major defensive categories.

Offensively, Alabama is averaging 40.6 points per game compared to 31.0 for LSU. LSU is averaging 385.8 yards per game (208.4 rushing, 177.4 passing), while Alabama is averaging 436.4 yards a game (214.4 rushing, 222.0 passing).

LSU's ground game has produced six 100-yard rushers this year with true freshman Jeremy Hill having the last two (127 vs. Texas A&M, 124 vs. South Carolina). Hill is third on the team with 322 yards and 5 TDs.

Kenny Hilliard leads the team in rushing yards (420) and TDs (6).

Zach Mettenberger has connected on 112-of-198 passes for 1,419 yards, 7 TDs and 4 interceptions.

Mettenberger’s top targets have been Odell Beckham Jr. (26 rec., 420 yards, 2 TDs) and Jarvis Landry (23 rec., 216 yards, 1 TD). Kadron Boone leads the Tigers with four touchdown receptions.

Defensively, Kevin Minter has 75 tackles, 9.5 TFL and 3.0 sacks to lead the Tigers. Other defensive standouts include: Eric Reid (50 tackles, 2 ints.), Lamin Barrow (59 tackles, 5.0 TFL), Sam Montgomery (9.0 TFL, 4.0 sacks), Bennie Logan (4.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks) and Lavar Edwards (6.0 TFL, 3.5 sacks).

Alabama QB A.J. McCarron has thrown for 1,684 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, completing 122 of 177 attempts. His streak of 262 passes without an interception is the longest in Alabama history and ranks second in Southeastern Conference history.

Alabama and Louisiana Tech are the only two remaining FBS teams that have not thrown an interception this season.

T.J. Yeldon leads Alabama in rushing (93-649-7) and Eddie Lacy is second on the team (109-596-7).

Amari Cooper leads Alabama in receiving with 32 receptions for 472 yards and 5 TDs. Kevin Norwood and Michael Williams are tied for second with 15 catches each. Kenny Bell is their big-play guy, averaging 25.8 yards a catch on 12 receptions.

One of the key matchups will be LSU’s defensive line against Alabama’s unit up front. The Crimson Tide average 6-4 ½, 320 pounds along the offensive line and have allowed 15 sacks on the year, while LSU is second in the SEC in bringing down opposing quarterbacks 23 times.

C.J. Mosley leads the Crimson Tide with 65 tackles – 29 more than their second leading tackler Vinnie Sunseri – and he has recorded 2.5 sacks and picked off two passes.

Kickoff is set for 7:11 p.m. CT.

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