TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Even when the Alabama offense doesn't come prepared to play a game - and that's happened more than once this season - you can always count on linebacker Will Anderson to show up.
Did he ever.
Saturday night against LSU, Anderson totaled 12 tackles, including four for a loss with one-and-a-half sacks. The sophomore is the SEC leader with 19.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.
Anderson is also the national leader in tackles for loss, ahead of Utah's Devin Lloyd. Anderson is second in the nation in sacks, half a sack back of Kansas State's Felix Anudike-Uzomah.
NFL first round draft pick? For sure.
Heisman hopeful? Maybe.
“I'm just focused on getting the team to another natty,” Anderson said following the Crimson Tide’s 20-14 win against LSU. “That’s all I’m worried about.”
Anderson played like a Heisman candidate against the Tigers. He was everywhere. Along with his 12 tackles (eight solo), Anderson had two quarterback hurries and a pass breakup.
It wasn’t just Anderson that stepped up against LSU. The whole unit turned in one of its best efforts of the season. With all the struggles on offense, Alabama certainly needed every defensive stop it got Saturday.
The defense held the Tigers to 77 first-half yards and a touchdown, which was aided by a fake punt that netted 26 yards.
Alabama gave up 218 yards in the second half, but most of that was due to the Crimson Tide offense not staying on the field. Alabama went three-and-out three straight times in the second half and had just four first downs to LSU’s 11.
Alabama had 11 minutes of possession time in the second half and ran just 22 plays to LSU’s 48.
“Every game is not going to be perfect, as much as we want perfection,” Anderson said. “We made some mistakes, but we rallied as a team. We handled our business. It may not have gone the way we wanted to, but the things that did go the right way we had a good outcome.”
Anderson came up big when Alabama needed him most – in the fourth quarter while protecting a six-point lead. Anderson had two tackles, a pass breakup and two hurries, including the one on fourth down at Alabama’s 7-yard line. Anderson rushed LSU’s Max Johnson and forced him to throw a second earlier than he wanted to, resulting in an incompletion in the end zone.
“Relentless effort. That’s one of the things we stress as a defense – we have to get pressure on the quarterback,” Anderson said.