TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) – Jalen Hurts passed for a touchdown and ran for a score and No. 1 Alabama sweated out a bruising 24-10 victory over No. 19 LSU on Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) had to withstand a rare challenge this season from a league opponent, managing it with big plays from the defense and a handful of timely ones from Hurts.
Alabama was ranked No. 2 in the first College Football Playoff rankings behind Georgia, which clinched the SEC East with a 24-10 victory over South Carolina.
The Tigers (6-3, 3-2) kept getting defensive stops in the fourth quarter but couldn’t muster a threat. They had to punt twice and then managed to squeeze out only a couple of first downs after taking over at their own 8 with 4:39 left.
Quarterback Danny Etling completed a couple of short passes and gave way to backup Myles Brennan, who couldn’t push them much further. He was sacked on fourth-and-long by freshman linebacker Dylan Moses.
Alabama ran out the clock on its seventh straight win in the SEC West rivalry. The Tigers came in riding a three-game winning streak since a loss to Troy that threatened to derail coach Ed Orgeron’s first season and were still three-touchdown underdogs.
Hurts had a 3-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, throwing for two first downs and rushing for another on the drive.
Darrel Williams then led LSU to its only touchdown of the past two meetings. He scored on a 2-yarder after getting corralled just shy of the goal line following a 54-yard scamper.
Alabama added a field goal from Andy Pappanastos early in the fourth.
LSU: Kept up with the Tide everywhere but the scoreboard. Outgained Alabama 306-299. Etling was 12 of 26 for 137 yards with an interception. Derrius Guice produced 71 yards on 19 carries.
Alabama: The league’s top rushing offense was bottled up most of the night, despite a few nice runs by Hurts. Shut down a star LSU tailback again after throttling Leonard Fournette the past two years despite several injuries on defense. Hurts passed for 183 yards, including a 4-yard TD to Irv Smith, and ran for 44.
The game took a toll on Alabama defenders. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick went down a couple of times in the first half and played a situational role in the second. Linebacker Mack Wilson was carted to the locker room before halftime and then fellow linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton walked straight there with an apparent knee injury.
LSU hosts a struggling Arkansas team.
Alabama visits No. 21 Mississippi State, a 34-23 winner over UMass.