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Why Alabama Won’t Stop LSU’s Leonard Fournette

John Korduner/Icon Sportswire

Leonard Fournette has been unstoppable through his first seven games. He leads the nation with 1,352 yards and 15 touchdowns, while averaging 193.1 yards per game and 7.68 yards per carry on 176 attempts.

The New Orleans native is the frontrunner for this year’s Heisman Trophy and has led LSU to a 7-0 record, making it the only remaining undefeated SEC team. Fournette’s sophomore season can be best explained in one word: unstoppable.

Alabama is the biggest threat to challenge LSU for the SEC West division title. Since its Week 3 upset by Ole Miss, the Tide has looked like the most dominant team in the SEC—returning to the form many expected to see in preseason.

But this shouldn’t be a surprise. If Alabama doesn’t run the table it bounces back from an upset loss by going undefeated for the remainder of the regular season.

With the exception of the “Kick-6″ loss to Auburn in 2013, the Tide have gone 16-1 following their first loss in every season since 2011. In that span, Alabama has won back-to-back BCS Championships (2011, ’12) and three conference titles.

Alabama has one of the nation’s best front sevens. The Tide defense ranks first in the SEC with 275.8 yards allowed per game.

Specifically, Alabama’s rushing defense has been outstanding in 2015. The Tide have allowed 78.5 rushing yards per game, with LSU being the only other SEC team to average less under 100.

So what’s going to happen when these two powerhouses meet on November 7th? Will Alabama’s stout defense be able to do what no one else can and stop Fournette?

Absolutely not.

05 September 2015 - Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and players run out on the field prior to the Advocare Classic  college football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Wisconsin Badgers at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  Alabama won the game 35-17. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire)

05 September 2015 – Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and players run out on the field prior to the Advocare Classic college football game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Wisconsin Badgers at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Alabama won the game 35-17. (Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire)

The Crimson Tide will likely win the matchup in Tuscaloosa, but there’s no way they will “stop” Fournette in his inevitable Heisman season. This is a player who — until Saturday — was averaging an astounding 200 yards per game.

At the risk of rehashing a tired, old phrase, “You can’t stop Leonard Fournette, you can only hope to contain him.”

At best, Alabama will contain the LSU running back. But even still, that’s not necessarily “stopping” him. Fournette will get his numbers regardless of the outcome of the LSU-Alabama matchup.

As great as Alabama’s defense is, its rushing numbers are definitely skewered. The Tide tends to lead early and enjoy sizable advantages.

In this case, most teams will opt to pass for the remainder of the contest. Opponents have rushed for 4.53 yards per carry average, so it’s not like its impossible to gain positive yards on the Tide.

Georgia’s Nick Chubb — who was considered the runner-up to Fournette for the Heisman prior to his season-ending knee injury — rushed for 131 yards, a touchdown and averaged 8.73 yards per on 20 carries against the Tide. Tennessee’s Jalen Hurd had 92 yards, a touchdown and a 5.1 average on 18 attempts.

The LSU-Alabama game will likely decide the SEC West and should showcase a matchup between the SEC’s best rushing defense and the nation’s best running back.

Great players have great games against all competition. Alabama could contain Fournette, but it won’t be able to stop him from enjoying another memorable performance.

 

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