In the minutes following LSU's 24-10 loss at Alabama last season, Tigers coach Ed Orgeron offered a declaration of sorts.
"We comin'," Orgeron said. "We comin' and we ain't backin' down."
LSU entered Bryant-Denny Stadium as the underdog and fell behind 14-0 early in the second quarter. Alabama extended its advantage to 21-3 late in the third quarter, but the Tigers quickly responded with a touchdown and never let the Crimson Tide pull away for the expected rout.
The No. 18 Tigers actually topped the top-ranked Tide last year in first downs (16-14), total yards (306-299) and time of possession (34:07-25:53), giving them a renewed confidence in competing with Alabama despite a seventh consecutive loss in the series.
LSU will look to stop that slide this Saturday night when the No. 4 Tigers welcome No. 1 Alabama to what will surely be a frenzied Tiger Stadium, and Orgeron isn't about to retreat from last year's statement in Tuscaloosa. After all, his Tigers already have downed three top-10 teams — Miami, Auburn and Georgia — this season.
"After that game, I just felt like we had matched up with Alabama physically," Orgeron said. "Obviously, you can look at a game as coulda, woulda, shoulda and all that stuff, but you've got to give them credit. They won the football game, and we didn't, but there are just a lot of things I thought we improved on during that football game.
"Obviously we were not good enough, but we are comin'."
Saturday will represent the third Alabama-LSU game for Orgeron, who served as interim coach of the Tigers two years ago, when the Crimson Tide broke free after three scoreless quarters for a 10-0 triumph. That game was not close statistically, as LSU managed just six first downs, 33 rushing yards and was outgained 323-125 in total yards.
LSU won the 2003 national championship in Nick Saban's fourth of five seasons in Baton Rouge and won the 2007 national title under Les Miles, who was in his third year at the helm. Miles last defeated Alabama in 2011 and was fired four games into the 2016 season, largely due to his inability to beat Saban, who has guided Alabama to five of the last nine national championships.
Orgeron will find out Saturday whether "comin' at Alabama" translates to an actual victory over the Crimson Tide.
"Alabama has always been the benchmark, and Coach Saban has done a fantastic job," Orgeron said. "He's going to go down as the greatest college football coach in the history of the game, so give him the credit for what they've done at Alabama.
"We've got to beat them to get to where we want to go, and that's the fact."
This article is written by David Paschall from Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.