The sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa passed for 295 yards, threw two touchdowns and raced 44 yards for another score, and the Alabama defense smothered Louisiana State’s offense to power the No. 1 Crimson Tide to a 29-0 rout of the No. 4 Tigers on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, La.
Alabama (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) held L.S.U. (7-2, 4-2) to 196 yards in total offense. With the win, the Tide clinched a spot in the conference title game against Georgia, which Alabama defeated in overtime in last season’s College Football Playoff title game.
Alabama was the last team to shut out L.S.U., doing it two years ago in a 10-0 victory at Tiger Stadium.
Tagovailoa completed 25 of 42 passes and iced the game with his 44-yard scramble on third down that put the Tide on top by 22-0 with 5 minutes 14 seconds left in the third quarter.
Alabama scored its final touchdown on a 1-yard run by Damien Harris with 5:42 left in the game.
The Tide amassed 576 total yards and held a 29-13 edge in first downs. Alabama finished off the shutout by intercepting quarterback Joe Burrow in the end zone with 3:35 left.
Despite failing to score on its opening possession for the first time this season, Alabama’s offense dominated the first half as the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 16-0 lead. L.S.U., which is No. 4 in the Associated Press poll and No. 3 in the College Football Playoff Rankings, mustered only 67 yards on 29 plays — including minus-1 yard rushing — and Alabama rolled up 325 yards.
Tagovailoa was the key, sliding deftly in the pocket to avoid pressure and completing 20 of 31 passes for 205 yards and two scores in the first half. His touchdown passes came on a 15-yard slant to Henry Ruggs III on Alabama’s second series and a 25-yard throw to tight end Irv Smith Jr. with 1:15 left in the half.
Kicker Joseph Bulovas, who missed an extra point because of a bad hold after the first touchdown, added a 23-yard field goal between the two early touchdowns.
Tagovailoa showed grit after taking a wicked shot near his sore right knee from safety Grant Delpit, but returned to the game after sitting out a play. Delpit was later called for targeting on a tough hit on Ruggs at the goal line, but the targeting call was waved off after a replay review.
L.S.U. played press coverage, but Alabama took advantage by running the ball on the edge. Harris gained 61 yards on nine first-half carries and finished the game with 107 yards.
For Alabama, this was actually a close game. It went into Baton Rouge with an average victory margin of 38.2 points.