On Saturday night in Baton Rouge, Alabama is more than a touchdown favorite over LSU.
What will decide this game between two teams with great defenses and outstanding running games?
That would be the forward pass. It explains the point spread gap.
In 2008, LSU freshman quarterback Jarrett Lee threw four costly interceptions, including three to Alabama's Rashad Johnson, who returned one of those picks for a touchdown and also intercepted a pass in overtime as Alabama won 27-21.
One year later, LSU led into the fourth quarter. Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy tossed a pass in the left flat to future first round pick Julio Jones. And 73 yards later, Jones was in the end zone to help propel Alabama toward its first national championship since 1992.
In 2010, LSU's offense awoke from a slumber. In the third quarter the Tigers were backed up at their six-yard line. Jordan Jefferson completed a 19-yard pass to Terrence Tolliver to give the Tigers some breathing room.
On the next play, the LSU junior passer tossed a strike to Reuben Randle who out-raced Alabama safety Mark Barron for a 75-yard touchdown.
Later in the same game, Jarrett Lee and the Tigers faced a third and 13 at the LSU 20. Lee completed a 47-yard pass to Randle that allowed LSU to run the clock down inside 30 seconds and secure a 24-21 victory.
One year later in the latest game of the century, it was a pass thrown by a wide receiver that turned the game.
Alabama wide receiver Marquis Maze tossed a pass out of the wildcat formation aimed for tight end Michael Williams. LSU safety Eric Reid intercepted the throw at the his one-yard line.
In the BCS championship game, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron starred. The then-sophomore threw for 234 yards LSU's Jefferson struggled in a 21-0 Crimson Tide triumph.
Saturday night, Alabama would seem to have a huge edge at the quarterback position.
McCarron's play has been sterling. He has thrown 18 touchdown passes, zero interceptions.
LSU's Zach Mettenberger, in his first season as a starter in the SEC, has been uneven at best. He has thrown seven touchdown passes with four interceptions, but consistency has been lacking.
Mettenberger understands that as a quarterback at LSU, your job is to win these games.
"He's (McCarron) a very good quarterback," said Mettenberger. "There's a reason he's only lost one game as a starter. If it comes down to us having to make plays, hopefully I can outperform him in this game."
Mettenberger's subpar play hasn't been all his fault.
LSU lost its top offensive lineman, left tackle Chris Faulk, to a season ending knee injury. Fellow tackle Alex Hurst left the team for unspecified reasons.
As a result of the attrition, LSU is starting redshirt freshman Trai Turner at right guard and true freshman Vadal Alexander at right tackle.
So, Saturday night, LSU will try to keep it close. The Tigers will rely on their defense and punter Brad Wing to change field position.
LSU head coach Les Miles will have a trick or two ready. Remember the tight end reverse two years ago to Deangelo Peterson on fourth down?
But, at some point, the Tigers will need a big pass play or two from Mettenberger.
After January's drubbing at the hands of Alabama in the BCS title game, LSU fans swore that this season with Mettenberger would be different.
It is the reason he is here. To beat Bama.
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