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LSU quarterback Danny Etling (16) warms up before the first half of LSU's football game against Auburn Saturday Oct. 14, 2017, in Baton Rouge, La.. LSU won 27-23.

ADVOCATE STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

Danny Etling is battling the normal ails that come with being quarterback of a football team, especially one that starts two true freshmen on the offensive line.

He’s got “very sore” ribs and an ankle, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said last week. Etling shrugged off those ills during interviews with reporters.

After all, the Indiana native played last season without full feeling in his left foot and leg because of a swollen spinal disc in his back resting on a nerve.

“This is nothing compared to that,” Etling said. “I can feel every amenity of my body.”

That said, the off week was nice for the Tigers’ starting quarterback to get healthy for an opponent that last year sacked him five times.

No. 19 LSU (6-2, 3-1 Southeastern) meets top-ranked Alabama (8-0, 5-0) on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in a yearly battle that left Etling beaten and battered a season ago. The Tide pressured him on about half of his dropbacks in the 10-0 loss last November.

After that game, Orgeron spoke bluntly about his quarterback’s play.

“I mean, it was totally out of character,” he said. “There were some plays, the receivers were wide open. Seemed like he was nervous or anticipating getting hit. … It was totally unlike his character, but he did not play well.”

Etling threw an interception and completed just 11 of 24 passes for 92 yards.

“It’s frustrating. It’s something that sucks,” a frustrated Etling said after the loss to the Tide. “It’s something that eats at you a little bit.”

His numbers against Bama were not unlike those of other quarterbacks in games against coach Nick Saban’s Tide since 2011. In the past seven meetings with Alabama, LSU starting quarterbacks have completed 52.3 percent of their passes, tossed six interceptions and averaged about 130 yards a game. Just three times did a starting quarterback break the 100-yard passing mark in those games.

The senior gets his last shot against the Tide. This may be his final chance to win the big one. Orgeron spoke candidly in September about that.

“Everybody is waiting to see him win the big game. And let me say this correctly: He'll never win the big game by himself,” Orgeron said. “We'll do it as a team. But until he does that, I think that's going to be his mark, and he knows that.”

Etling isn’t focused on that, he insisted Tuesday.

“I just want to do my job to help this team win,” he said. “Whatever that may be, whether throwing for a bunch of yards, making the right decisions or getting us in the right play. I don’t focus too much on what stage or what I’m doing as long as I’m doing my job for the team.”

Tigers debut at 19 in CFP rankings

LSU debuted at No. 19 in the College Football Playoffs’ initial rankings of the 2017 season.

The Tigers, also No. 19 in the AP poll and No. 20 in the coaches rankings, are a spot ahead of NC State and a spot behind undefeated Central Florida. Alabama is No. 2 in the CFP, trailing Georgia. Notre Dame and Clemson are Nos. 3 and 4 in the poll, released each Tuesday until the final poll is unveiled Sunday, Dec. 3.

The top four teams in the final rankings compete in a playoff for the national title.


PASSING PROBS

LSU starting quarterbacks have not fared well against Alabama over the last seven games.

 Date

 QB

 Yds

 C-A-I

 Comp. %

 Result

 Sacked

 Nov. 5, 2011

 Jarrett Lee

 24

 3-7-2

 42.8

 W 9-6

 0

 Jan. 9, 2012

 Jordan Jefferson

 53

 11-17-1

 64.7

 L 21-0

 4

 Nov. 3, 2012

 Zach Mettenberger

 298

 24-35-0

 68.5

 L 21-17

 3

 Nov. 9, 2013

 Zach Mettenberger

 241

 16-23-0

 69.5

 L 38-17

 4

 Nov. 8, 2014

 Anthony Jennings

 76

 8-26-1

 30.7

 L 20-13

 2

 Nov. 7, 2015

 Brandon Harris

 128

 6-19-1

 31.5

 L 30-16

 2

 Nov. 5, 2016

 Danny Etling

 92

 11-24-1

 45.8

 L 10-0

 5

 Totals

 912

 79-151-6

 52.3

 --        

 20

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.