Alabama-LSU Preview Capsule

The Associated Press Published:

No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) at No. 5 LSU (7-1, 3-1), 8 p.m. (CBS)

Line: Alabama by 9.

Series Record: Alabama leads, 46-25-5.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

In what has become the norm this series, the winner lands an inside track to the Southeastern Conference championship game and a prime shot at the BCS title game. Alabama still made it to the final game a year ago despite losing to LSU during the regular season, and then routed the Tigers in New Orleans to finish No. 1. The Crimson Tide might be in position to pull off a similar feat if it loses Saturday, though public opinion would be strongly against two straight do-overs. LSU definitely has no room for error, having already lost to Florida.

KEY MATCHUP

Alabama QB A.J. McCarron against LSU's revamped secondary. McCarron has yet to throw an interception this season, and he doesn't have to contend with defensive backs such as Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu and Morris Claiborne this time around. But the Tigers have still put up impressive numbers against the pass.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alabama: Freshman T.J. Yeldon is the team's leading rusher (649 yards, seven touchdowns, 7.0 yards per carry) as part of a tailback tandem with Eddie Lacy. LSU surrendered 146 yards and two touchdowns to Florida's Mike Gillislee and can't afford to give up those kind of yards to Yeldon.

LSU: Freshman RB Jeremy Hill has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the last two games, giving the Tigers another option in a crowded backfield. Overshadowed at the beginning of the year by more experienced runners, Hill emerged as the leading threat with 127 yards vs. Texas A&M and 124 against South Carolina.

FACTS & FIGURES

This is the third straight times the teams have met with both ranked among top five. ... LSU has the nation's longest home field winning streak at 22 straight. The Tigers haven't lost at home since a 13-3 setback to then-No. 1 Florida in 2009. ... The teams combined for only one touchdown (by Alabama in the BCS championship game) in two meetings last season. ... The Crimson Tide leads the nation in all four major defensive categories. LSU also ranks among the top 10 in points allowed, total defense, yards passing and rushing. ... Alabama holds a 24-9-3 edge in Baton Rouge. ... LSU coach Les Miles is 5-1 coming off schedules byes and 36-1 in Saturday night games at Tiger Stadium. ... McCarron has gone 262 passes without throwing an interception, the longest streak in Alabama history and the second-longest run in SEC history. ... Crimson Tide K Jeremy Shelley has yet to miss this season, going 9 for 9 on field goals and converting all 40 extra points.