Leonard Fournette got the football in his belly, glanced up and saw red.
Intent on stopping LSU’s star running back, Alabama did just that, holding him to 31 yards on 19 carries in a 30-16 win Saturday.
In interviews Monday, Fournette called the Tide’s defensive effort “great,” said the game was “physical” and talked of shifting focus to the No. 9 Tigers’ next opponent, Arkansas.
“Everybody is upset about the loss,” he said. “I know for me personally ... not to point the fingers at nobody. Everybody has to take the credit of what we did as a whole. Watch the (Alabama) film today, get it out the way and move on to Arkansas.”
LSU (7-1, 4-1 Southeastern) meets the Razorbacks (5-4, 3-2) at 6:15 p.m. Saturday in Tiger Stadium in a must-win game if the Tigers want to keep their SEC championship dreams alive. LSU would need to win out and hope Alabama loses at Mississippi State this weekend or at Auburn on Nov. 28 to reach the title game.
“My main focus is to keep the team together, even with the loss,” Fournette said. “Everybody is upset, but as a leader of the team — me and (Jalen) Mills and all of the leaders — is to keep our head high and just knowing we could finish this season out in the championship. And that’s still our mindset, even with the loss.”
Just before Fournette spoke to reporters, gambling site Bovada released its latest Heisman Trophy odds with Bama running back Derrick Henry as the favorite for the top prize. It’s the first time in nearly two months that Fournette isn’t the clear Heisman frontrunner.
More questions and answers from Fournette:
How would you describe running against Alabama?
It was physical. They came out with it on their mind, ready to play against a good opponent like ourselves. I can’t take nothing from them.
Was it obvious from the start that they were focused on stopping you?
They had eight in the box every time. Every time we ran the ball, I could see out of my peripheral the safety’s coming down. Their game plan was to stop our running game. And I think they did a pretty good job. Also, some thing on our part ... we had a lot of miscommunication, so that’s little things we have to fix and work on.
Your jersey went for $101,000 at auction. Your thoughts?
I’m excited. It’s going out to help the victims. I’m proud of the work I did. Not just me, but LSU period. Thanking God for giving me a chance to help other people out.
When’s the last time you experienced a game like that, where you took three steps and were hit on almost every play?
They came out to play. I can’t take them from their front seven, man. Great group of guys and even better people. After the game, gave us words of encouragement, stay focused. Overall, they had a great team effort overall.
What did the offensive linemen say to you after the game?
There’s really nothing to say. We had a bad game. That’s all that happened. It’s only one game. Everybody acts like it’s the end of the world. My main focus is to keep us together. Monday, it’s film study. Makes sure nobody points fingers at nobody. Everybody had a miss error on their part.
Last year, y’all played Arkansas after Alabama and it was a 17-0 loss. As one of the leaders of the team, how do you keep that from being the case again?
We would like to finish this season undefeated. That would be spectacular, but in these roads you have a couple of bumps. It’s all about how you come back from them.
The Arkansas game is a bad memory for you: five carries, 9 yards?
I’m not going to say a bad game. Like I said, that was one of our bad games that we had as a whole. It happens, happens to the best of us. Michael Jordan had bad games, but he always came back from them.
The Arkansas game must have been one of your biggest disappointments, right?
Not really. Freshman year. Was still in the learning phase. Just learned from it.
Did you see the Katrina banners that some Alabama fans hung?
Yeah, I saw them on Twitter. People do that. Nothing I can control. You cannot control other peoples’ actions. You just have to react. We went out there and played our hardest.
At some points during the game against Bama, you had to be frustrated, right?
I was, but at the end of the day, we’re a team. I can’t do everything by myself and, you know, forgive and forget. The O-line had a bad day, I had a bad day. As a unit, we had a bad day. It just wasn’t our game, our day. You can’t really put a lot of effort towards everything, put all of the blame on everybody else, not even the coaches. We took it upon ourselves. We just have to get better.
Do you have a reaction to the new Heisman Trophy odds with Derrick Henry as the favorite?
Nah. Heisman doesn’t phase me. I don’t worry about it.
You said y’all had some communication issues. What were they and how do you fix it?
Just overall our signals. (Quarterback Brandon Harris) ... talking louder because it was loud in there. Some things we couldn’t really hear. Have to pick it up — that’s all.
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter: @DellengerAdv.