Alabama, QB Jalen Milroe play ‘complete game’ to beat LSU

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama coach Nick Saban called Saturday’s 42-28 win over LSU “probably as close to a complete game as we played all year.”

And Saban said they needed it, too, coming back from deficits in both halves.

The Crimson Tide offense, which struggled to find its footing at various points this season, was balanced with 218 passing yards and 288 yards rushing. Quarterback Jalen Milroe set a school record with four rushing touchdowns.

The defense, meanwhile, had an interception, six pass breakups and allowed only seven points in the second half, including pitching a shutout in the fourth quarter.

Not bad for a team that was reeling after a Week 2 loss at home to Texas, falling from third to 10th in the Associated Press poll.

Since then, Alabama has won seven straight games, including back-to-back wins over rivals Tennessee and LSU — the two teams it lost to last season.

“So really a great win for us,” Saban said. “And this team has created an opportunity where now they’ve got to make a choice. We’ve had two big games in a row here and still got two SEC games left and another game. So you’re going to make a choice about taking care of business … in the future because we can create an opportunity for our self and maybe win the West and maybe get in the SEC championship game and who knows what happens from there.”

Alabama, which improved to 6-0 in SEC play, sits atop the West division and appears to be on a collision course with No. 1 Georgia in the conference championship game in Atlanta.

But first the Tide must go to Kentucky next Saturday, host Chattanooga the following week and wrap up the regular season on the road at Auburn.

The good news for their playoff hopes? None of those three teams are ranked.

Like the rest of his team, Milroe called himself a work in progress after a career performance against LSU. Saban credited his quarterback’s progress this season reading the defense and finding the open man. And when things do go wrong, Saban said Milroe has done a good job of turning his attention to the next play, creating more consistency.

The redshirt sophomore from Texas not only ran for 155 yards against LSU, he also threw for 219 yards and no interceptions as well. By doing so, Milroe might have elevated himself into the Heisman Trophy conversation. But he shied away from throwing his hat in the ring for college football’s most prestigious award.

“I’m focused on trying to get better,” he said. “I’m not … where I want to be at and there’s some things I need to improve on. So I’m not really just trying to be the best teammate I can be learning, learning and growing. Because like I said, I’m not a finished product … and some things I need to fix from this game.”

Milroe did take a moment in his news conference to acknowledge the play of LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels. A Heisman favorite coming into the game, Daniels threw for 219 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also ran for 163 yards and a score.

The senior was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent head injury and did not return.

“He’s a great quarterback, doing a great job with the LSU offense,” Milroe said of Daniels. “And from me to him — man, keep growing and you’re a great quarterback.”

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