LSU a massive 24-point underdog to Bama

BATON ROUGE — No. 23 LSU may be a 24-point underdog for its game against No. 1 Alabama a week from Saturday, but it will be as close to completely healthy as it has been all season.

Defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence, who has played on two injured ankles most of the season, played in less pain against Ole Miss over the weekend since he suffered the injuries.

"I will be close to 100 percent with the rest we get this week," he said Wednesday. "I'm getting better. I didn't have any problems with the ankles last game. I felt good. The biggest problem with last game was conditioning. I'm not able to go as much as I want to in practice. I'll be going full out next week and getting ready to play as many snaps as I can."

Tailback Derrius Guice, who has had an ankle and knee injury, was as close to 100 percent as he has been since early in the season as he gained 276 yards in the 40-24 win at Ole Miss.

Outside linebacker Arden Key has been steadily getting back to a lower playing weight and getting in better game shape. He had six tackles with two sacks against Ole Miss after making six tackles with one sack the week before in the win over Auburn.

Toby Weathersby returned to his starting spot at right tackle last week after missing the Auburn game.

Starting middle linebacker Donnie Alexander has a chance to return to action at Alabama after dressing out but not playing at Ole Miss. Backup nose tackle Ed Alexander practiced on Tuesday after not playing at Ole Miss.

The only LSU regular player ruled out is starting left tackle K.J. Malone, who may miss several more games with a knee injury.

"Yeah, we feel good about it," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said on the Southeastern Conference teleconference Wednesday. "We'll see how the week goes. But I feel like we're going to be very healthy coming into this game."

Kickoff for LSU (6-2, 3-1 SEC) and Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) will be at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 4, on CBS.

Orgeron is as pleased if not more with his team's emotional health after three consecutive wins.

"They were very excited to beat Ole Miss," he said. "Three victories over very good SEC teams is a very good accomplishment, but it's something that you need to do at LSU. It's to be expected. But they needed a rest."

LSU had Sunday and Monday off before resuming practice on Tuesday, then will have the weekend off.

"I think that he excitement is going to start to build when we meet together next Monday," Orgeron said. "Alabama is obviously our biggest rivalry. We know how good they are, and we know that it's going to be a tough task. But we're going to be up to it."

EMBARRASSMENT FUELED STREAK: The worst of times can lead to the best of times. It happened in 2000 when LSU lost to Alabama-Birmingham, then upset No. 11 Tennessee a week later. A week after losing to Troy this season, LSU won at No. 20 Florida, then beat No. 11 Auburn before handling Ole Miss.

"I think the team refusing to play like they did against Troy," Orgeron said when asked on the SEC teleconference about what the difference in his team has been over the last three weeks since Troy. "I mean, we were embarrassed. I was embarrassed as a coach. We let down the Tiger family. But we weren't going to complain or say anything about it. We just went to work and did it. And I think that's just what you saw. We didn't play with passion and energy that we needed to against Troy. We were not ready."  

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