There was nothing surprising about Alabama beating LSU, their sixth consecutive win in the series, and their ninth since the beginning of the season, continuing to establish themselves as the number one team in the SEC and the nation.
But nobody expects the Spanish inquisition, or in this case, the Alabama defense shutting LSU out. They held the Tigers to just 125 yards in a gritty game, that ended 10-0 in Alabama’s favor. All 10 points were scored in the fourth quarter, but it felt for the entire game that at some point Alabama were going to get a breakthrough. LSU? Getting a first down looked like the most difficult thing for them. Their only way of scoring points was some massive Alabama f*** up, and it didn’t happen.
It’s the first time LSU have been shutout since a 17-0 loss at Arkansas, which followed a frustrating overtime loss against Alabama. LSU finished that season 8-5, losing in the bowl game to Notre Dame. The seeds of Les Miles getting fired were planted that day, as it became clearer and clearer he’s not going to get LSU back on track and into greener pastures. The problem is, Ed Orgeron, very popular in Baton Rouge, might have made his case to be the next LSU coach for a few more years and not just as an interim weaker by a whole lot.
It hasn’t been that long ago that LSU were shutout by Alabama. In maybe the quintessential game of the Nick Saban and Les Miles rivalry, Alabama beat LSU 21-0 in the BCS championship game for the 2011 season (game was in January 2012). That was the turning point in the rivalry, as Alabama went on to win their third national title in four years, while LSU, who actually won the SEC that season, have failed to beat team or finish ahead of them in the division ever since.
We go back to 2002 in order to find the previous shutout in this rivalry. It was once again an Alabama win, 31-0 over the Tigers, with Saban coaching LSU at the time. Dennis Franchione coached Alabama, but a 10-3 season and that win over LSU wasn’t enough to keep the job for another year. Losing to Auburn at home was probably the main reason it happened. When there’s no national title on the line, losing in the Iron Bowl is a fireable-offense.
LSU have shutout Alabama. They even did it in Tuscaloosa, winning 27-0. Gerry DiNardo was the LSU coach at the time, and Mike DuBose coached Alabama. The year before, with the same coaches, Alabama won 26-0. Both head coaches didn’t leave a mark, at least not a positive one, at either school. Saban? Not many people are saying it, but he might be even bigger than Bear Bryant, with four national championships, and a fifth one on the way. Orgeron? Maybe he deserves a shot at getting the LSU job for more than this season, but since his Ole Miss days, he can’t get an opportunity at a big program for more than a few months. At a place that expects championship even when it’s unrealistic like LSU, this loss could have been a big blow to his chances of staying on for more than 2016.