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No. 1 Alabama beats No. 19 LSU in physical battle

 

By The Associated Press

 

 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Jalen Hurts threw for a touchdown and ran for a score Saturday night to lead the No. 1 Alabama football team to a 24-10 victory against No. 19 LSU. 

 

The Crimson Tide (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) had to withstand a rare challenge this season from a league opponent, managing it with big plays from the defense and a handful of timely ones from Hurts. 

 

Alabama was ranked No. 2 in the first College Football Playoff rankings behind Georgia, which clinched the SEC East with a 24-10 victory against South Carolina. 

 

"I told the players before the game that we haven't been tested with heart," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Heart kind of defines you. We didn't play a great game out there. We had a lot of self-inflicted wounds but you can't argue with the fight the players fought with." 

 

The game took a toll on Alabama's defense. Linebackers Shaun Dion Hamilton (knee) and Mack Wilson (foot) are "probably out," Saban said, noting he expects them to be examined today. 

 

The Tigers (6-3, 3-2) kept getting defensive stops in the fourth quarter but couldn't muster a threat. They had to punt twice and then managed to squeeze out only a couple of first downs after taking over at their own 8-yard line with 4 minutes, 39 seconds left. 

 

Quarterback Danny Etling completed a couple of short passes and gave way to backup Myles Brennan, who couldn't push them much further. He was sacked on fourth-and-long by freshman linebacker Dylan Moses. 

 

Alabama ran out the clock on its seventh straight win in the SEC West rivalry. LSU came in riding a three-game winning streak since a loss to Troy that threatened to derail coach Ed Orgeron's first season and were still three-touchdown underdogs. 

 

Hurts had a 3-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, throwing for two first downs and rushing for another on the drive. 

 

Darrel Williams then led LSU to its only touchdown of the past two meetings. He scored on a 2-yarder after getting corralled just shy of the goal line following a 54-yard scamper out of the Wildcat formation. 

 

Alabama added a field goal from Andy Pappanastos early in the fourth. 

 

The teams combined for 15 punts and 10 sacks, six by the Crimson Tide. Alabama led 14-3 at the half and still hasn't allowed a first-half touchdown in an SEC game. 

 

LSU outgained Alabama 306-299. Etling was 12-for-26 for 137 yards with an interception by Ronnie Harrison. Derrius Guice had 19 carries for 71 yards. 

 

Despite a few nice runs by Hurts, Alabama, which entered the game with the SEC's top rushing offense, had 36 carries for 116 yards. Hurts threw for 183 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown to Irv Smith, and ran for 44. 

 

"They played an eight-man front on us all the time and made it really hard for us to run the ball," Saban said. 

 

Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick went down a couple of times in the first half and played a situational role in the second half with Saban saying he kept "begging" to get back in. Wilson was carted to the locker room before halftime and Hamilton went down later. Alabama already has lost two linebackers for the season.

 

 

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