LSU vs Alabama 2015: Storylines for a classic in the making

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Sep 26, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; LSU Tigers defensive line coach Ed Orgeron instructs his players on the bench during the fourth quarter of a game against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome. LSU won the game 34-24. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Run Defenses

While LSU and Alabama both boast elite rushing attacks, their run defenses are just as dominant.

Both teams rank among the top-10 run defenses in all of college football, and both rank atop the SEC.

Alabama has allowed just 628 yards on the ground so far this season, allowing just 78.5 rushing yards per game. Meanwhile, LSU has given up just 656 yards through seven games in 2015, good for an average of 93.7 yards a game.

Both defenses force teams to beat them through the air, as winning the battle at the line of scrimmage ends all hope for opponents hoping to establish the run.

Since the arrival of defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, the LSU front seven has done a tremendous job stuffing the run, something that seemed to disappear during the final years of the John Chavis era.

Orgeron, a renowned recruiter and defensive line specialist, has brought a new passion to the Tigers’ defensive line.

The Louisiana native has transformed a unit that was a question mark entering the year into the unquestioned strength of the LSU defense, making up for a secondary that has shown a tendency to give up big plays. And while Lewis Neal’s quest to break the school’s single-season sack record has been widely publicized, it is a collective effort in thwarting opponents’ rushing attacks that has been the driving force behind the Tigers’ success on defense.

In addition to Orgeron’s influence on the defensive line, Steele’s reputation as a linebacker guru has shown in recent weeks. The veteran LSU linebacker corps got off to a slow start, but have turned things around as of late.

As impressive as both teams have been at stopping the run this year, however, neither has faced a test as tough as the one looming on Saturday.

Next: The Surging Brandon Harris