The other side: A look at Alabama quarterback Blake Sims _lowres

Alabama quarterback Blake Sims (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Why he’s good

Senior Blake Sims and junior Jacob Coker entered the season in a competition for Alabama’s starting quarterback job. Some outsiders proclaimed Coker as the starter, but coach Nick Saban stuck with Sims. Needless to say, the decision has worked out. Through eight games, Sims is No. 4 in the Southeastern Conference in passing yards per game (254.3), and he has completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 2,034 yards, 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. Against conference foes, Sims has averaged 277.6 yards, throwing 11 touchdowns to a mere two interceptions. Add on the fact that he has rushed 46 times for 250 yards and five scores, and defenses must improvise to contain the dual threat. Having receiver Amari Cooper doesn’t hurt, either.

Biggest obstacle

Sims has had success against conference opponents, but LSU’s secondary will give him his most daunting test yet. The Tigers pass defense is No. 4 in the nation and No. 1 in the SEC, allowing 158.4 passing yards per game. LSU has allowed more than 200 passing yards only twice — in losses to Mississippi State and at Auburn.

What he said

“I’ve been watching him when he was there — not pretty much on the LSU defense, pretty much just seeing how he kept his composure, seeing how other quarterbacks kept their composure. Maybe I can do the same thing. Knowing how loud it is, communication is going to be very big for us.”

— Blake Sims, speaking to, on watching film of former Alabama QB AJ McCarron playing in Tiger Stadium

Number to know

Sims is averaging 10.2 yards per attempt against SEC opponents, the best mark in the conference.

He said what?

“The start of the day was great. We took the lead 21-0 (in the first half). We finished second in that game, as I recall. I don’t think we scored in the second half, and I think they kicked the field goal (to win). … That was my first game. At halftime, I was a hero. And by the end of the game, I was a bum.”

— Coach Les Miles talking about the first game he coached in Tiger Stadium, a 30-27 overtime loss to Tennessee on Sept. 26, 2005

By the numbers

3 -- Interceptions Alabama’s Blake Sims has thrown, the fewest of any SEC quarterback with at least 200 attempts.

26 -- Victories Alabama has posted in 37 games played in Tiger Stadium.

45 -- Games LSU has won under Les Miles when a Tigers running back rushes for at least 100 yards. LSU is 45-4 in that scenario.