Crimson Cover examines three key points from Alabama's thrilling 20-13 overtime win over LSU, and three more about the crucial upcoming game with No.1-ranked Mississippi State:
Alabama 20, LSU 13 (OT)
1) Blake Sims, statistically, played one of his worst games of the season against the Tigers. But the fifth-year senior caught fire when it mattered most - on a desperation drive to tie the game at the end of regulation, and in overtime. It's hard to play well on the road at LSU. It's even harder to turn sub-par play into effectiveness there, at the most crucial moment, with arguably the SEC's most hostile crowd at peak roar. Sims grew up in a big way in Baton Rouge, a way that might ultimately serve him in Atlanta in early December, and beyond.
2) Defensive lineman Jarran Reed and linebacker Reggie Ragland are dominant forces against the run. These two first-year starters aren't flashy, but both nails-tough against teams with a mindset to run the ball between the tackles against the Crimson Tide. They combined for an incredible 28 tackles against the Tigers, many of them violent collisions that are required for containing LSU's powerful freshman, Leonard Fournette.
3) The Alabama offensive line is still performing somewhat like a Jekyll & Hyde unit this season. Against the Tigers, Alabama was able to get limited push up front. T.J. Yeldon found a few holes, but for the most part, at least one of Alabama's linemen was beaten up front on most of its rushing attempts, resulting in inconsistency that made things all the tougher on Sims.
Mississippi State at Alabama
1) Is it time for Altee Tenpenny or Tyren Jones to get some meaningful playing time? When Kenyan Drake went down for the year with injury, many fans expected increased playing time for one of them. Didn't happen. Now that T.J. Yeldon has sprained an ankle and might not be full-speed against the Bulldogs, one can only wonder if one will finally be pressed into meaningful service. At this point, the less they play, the more it's fair to wonder how much trust the coaching staff has in either.
2) Punter J.K. Scott, who has been outstanding all season, finally had a couple of shanks against LSU. With field position expected to be of critical importance against MSU, it's vital that Scott rediscover his 50-yard groove Saturday night.
3) Mississippi State's offense relies fairly heavily on running back Josh Robinson's ability to break tackles with his compact, low-to-the-ground frame. Sound tackling on Robinson will be of utmost importance for the UA defense Saturday, particularly up front.