BATON ROUGE, La. -- What we liked, and didn't like, in LSU's 21-17 loss to Alabama Saturday.
1. The passing game: Not just quarterback Zach Mettenberger, but also his receivers. The Tigers quarterback completed 24 of 35 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown. After a shaky start, the junior played his best game, by far, and the receivers made tough catches. Jarvis Landry (8 receptions, 76 yards, one touchdown) was outstanding.
2. Jeremy Hill: LSU's best running back now, Hill rushed for 107 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown against the nation's best defense. That's three straight 100-yard rushing games for Hill, who should be the featured back going forward.
3. 29-minute defense: For all but the last minute of each half, LSU's defense was dominant, allowing Alabama just 196 yards and one touchdown on all but the last Tide possession of either half.
1. Prevent defense: At the end of both the first half and the game, the Crimson Tide put together two of its three touchdown drives, covering 135 yards on 11 plays in a mere 1:40 between the two drives. A.J. McCarron ran for a touchdown and threw for one in the two drives. LSU also gave up late, prevent defense touchdowns to Texas A&M and South Carolina to allow those games to stay close. It's a troubling pattern.
2. A 55-yard FG?: Les Miles will be blasted for his "Mad Hatter" gambles that didn't work, but we kind of liked most of them, even the funky fake field goal that backfired. But a 55-yard Drew Alleman field goal attempt with 1:08 in the first half? If LSU punts to pin Alabama deep, the Tide probably runs out the clock and takes a 7-3 lead to halftime. Instead, after the missed field goal, the Tide had the field position to set up a 63-yard touchdown drive to up it to lead 14-3.
3. Bad penalties: The Tigers weren't overly penalized with 51 yards on seven penalties (Alabama had just one for 15 yards), but the Tigers had a couple of costly ones: A block in the back that killed a nice punt return by Odell Beckham, Jr., and cost the Tigers field position and a terrible personal foul on fullback J.C. Copeland after a 19-yard run by Hill gave the Tigers a first down at the Alabama 13 in the second quarter. The Tigers ended up having to settle for the faked 47-yard field goal that failed.