Still No. 1! LSU Wins Epic Matchup at Alabama in OT
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. --
After his defense came up with an overtime stop, placekicker Drew
Alleman made a 25-yard field goal to give No. 1 LSU a hard fought 9-6
victory over No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
only fitting that fans would be treated to an extra period in the epic
matchup of the top two teams in the Southeastern Conference -- perhaps
in all of college football.
The Tide took the ball first in
overtime and attempted to get the ball in the hands of star running
back Trent Richardson. Two passes fell incomplete in the direction of
No. 3 before LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery sacked Tide quarterback
AJ McCarron for a 5-yard loss.
Cade Foster's 52-yard field goal
attempt wasn't close, and the Tide's fourth missed field goal of the
game sent the Tigers defense into hysteria as the Tigers offense took
LSU went for the jugular, as Michael Ford's
second-down run looked to be a game-ending touchdown, but he stepped
out at the 7. Three plays later, Alleman's field goal split the
uprights and the Tigers again rushed the field victorious.
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the "Game of the [insert hyperbole]" after weeks of media hype, LSU
(9-0, 6-0 SEC) had its back to the wall against Richardson and the
101,821 Tide faithful. But, the LSU defense and its band of crazed
followers came up with stop after stop.
At the end, LSU remained
undefeated through nine games for the first time since 1973 and beat
Alabama for the seventh time in the past nine meetings.
the first time LSU was involved in a game with no touchdowns since a
3-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama in 1979. The last time the Tigers won such a
defensive contest was Nov. 2, 1972, against Tulane, 9-3.
by Morris Claiborne and Eric Reid in the final 17 minutes of the game
stymied opportunities for Alabama (8-1, 5-1 SEC), which never managed
to extend leads of 3-0 and 6-3, despite many trips into LSU's side of
Meanwhile, LSU's offense did just enough against the
top-rated Tide defense to earn victory and stay atop the SEC Western
Division with two league games to play.
LSU quarterback Jordan
Jefferson, who played most of the game after relieving starter Jarrett
Lee, was 6-of-10 passing for 67 yards while running 11 times for 43
yards. Lee struggled, finishing 3-of-7 passing for 24 yards. He threw
interceptions on consecutive pass attempts after returning to the game
midway through the third quarter.
Ford led all Tigers with 72 yards on 11 carries, while Spencer Ware had 29 yards on 16 carries.
LSU was outgained 296-239.
finished 16-of-28 passing for 199 yards and an interception that led to
an LSU game-tying field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Richardson was the Alabama star offensively, running for 89 yards on 23 carries while adding 80 yards receiving on five catches.
Maze added six catches for 61 yards, but it was his interception from
the "Wildcat" formation that Reid intercepted at the LSU 1 with 11:26
remaining in the game.
In a game predicated on defense and field
position, LSU freshman punter Brad Wing landed 4-of-6 punts inside the
Tide 20 including a 73-yard game changer from his endzone with 9:00
left in the game.
Alabama won the coin toss and elected the take
the opening kickoff. LSU freshman placekicker James Hairston kicked to
the 4-yard line where Maze returned to the 30. Alabama used Richardson
for gains of 18 and 22 to start the drive, the latter on a pass from
McCarron. From the Tigers 30, LSU's defense stiffened for the first of
three-straight drives by stuffing Richardson for a 5-yard loss and
holding him to no gain on third-and-7 from the 27.
Foster, the Alabama placekicker from long distance, missed the 44-yard attempt from the right hash to the right.
took over at their 27 and Lee fired a strike along the left sideline to
wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for 13 yards to the 45. Jefferson
entered for the first time to convert a third-and-1 sneak to the
Alabama 44. Lee returned but couldn't avoid the vintage Alabama corner
blitz. After a pair of incomplete passes, Wing dropped his first punt
into the arms of gunner Tyrann Mathieu at the Alabama 5.
third-and-9 from the 6, McCarron avoided the Tigers blitz and connected
with Maze for 19 yards. A face mask penalty gave Alabama a first down
at its 40, before Richardson ran the ball into LSU territory to the 48.
Lacey gave Richardson a breather for the first time and wasted no time
making an impact. A 20-yard run to the LSU 23 had the Tide rolling.
However, an illegal substitution penalty and a 6-yard tackle behind the
line by Reid put Alabama behind the down and distance. The tackle was
Reid's fifth of the opening quarter.
A 50-yard field goal by Foster was short and right, giving LSU possession at its 33.
the ensuing drive, Lee made the game's first mistake when he dropped a
shotgun snap, quickly recovered, but tossed errantly into the Alabama
zone for his second interception of the season -- and his first in 100
attempts. Alabama strong safety Robert Lester collected the pass that
was intended for Shepard at the Alabama 47.
For the first time,
the Tide had a short field, which was made shorter after a 19-yard
catch by wide receiver Darius Hanks to the LSU 34. Richardson gained
another first down rushing with 10 yards to the 24. But, again, LSU's
defense stepped up and made the big plays to stop the Tide's momentum.
After Maze's 6-yard loss on a botched reverse from Richardson, a 1-yard
sack by Montgomery setup a third-and-17 from the 31. LSU defensive end
Lavar Edwards chased McCarron out of the pocket and forced a throw
away, as Alabama settled for a 49-yard field goal attempt by its
regular placekicker, Jeremy Shelley.
The game remained scoreless
as Shelley's kick was blocked at the line by defensive tackle Bennie
Logan and into the hands of Reid at the LSU 26. Reid ran along the
right sideline for 26 yards to the Alabama 48, giving LSU its first
drive that started in Tide territory.
Ware gained a hard-earned
first down with a 1-yard run to the 38, but an illegal shift penalty on
wide receiver Jarvis Landry proved too much to overcome against the
Tide defense. Wing again wedged a 35-yard punt into the arms of gunner
Ron Brooks at the Alabama 4.
Richardson ran Alabama off its goal
line with a 12-yard dart up the middle on second down. Another face
mask penalty -- this on Logan trying to shed an offensive lineman --
moved Alabama to its 36. On third-and-4 from the 42, Richardson escaped
from the backfield and McCarron found him for another huge gain of 39
to the LSU 19. With the star running back on the bench, Alabama managed
only two yards in three plays, and Alabama sent its 0-for-3 field-goal
unit to the field for a much shorter attempt.
Shelley was able to connect from 34 yards and Alabama led 3-0 with 3:53 left in the half.
took over and led the Tigers on an 11-play, 74-yard drive that ended
with a goal-to-goal opportunity at the Alabama 8 after a 34-yard pass
to Russell Shepard. With 15 seconds left, Alabama was flagged for
holding Rueben Randle in the endzone to give LSU a first-and-goal from
the 2. Jefferson found no one open and threw the ball into the stands
on first down. With a timeout and eight seconds to play, Ware tried
unsuccessfully for a run up the middle.
After LSU took its final timeout with two seconds left, Alleman's 19-yard field goal was true to tie the game at halftime, 3-3.
The teams traded punts to open the second half, and Alabama's first punt of the game went out of bounds at the LSU 17.
getting bailed out by his defense after his first interception, Lee's
second mistake of the evening cost the Tigers points. Taking his first
snap since the first-quarter pick, Lee again threw into double coverage
and was intercepted by free safety Mark Barron at the LSU 48. Barron's
return went inside the LSU 5 but was called back to the 35 after an
illegal block in the back.
The Tigers defense stepped up to the
challenge, holding Alabama without a first down and forcing a 46-yard
field goal by Foster. After Shelley attempted the previous two kicks,
Foster's kick snuck inside the left post and Alabama led 6-3 with 7:56
left in the third quarter.
With Jefferson under center, LSU
worked its way across midfield with two first-down runs by Ford and a
13-yard pass to Randle. LSU's momentum was halted with a false start on
first down, and the Tigers could go no further and punted from their 38.
punt was fair caught at the 11, where McCarron made another big play in
his redzone with a 19-yard pass to Hanks. On third-and-10, he found
Lacey out of the backfield who slipped a tackle by Karnell Hatcher and
gained 11 yards. McCarron got a bit greedy on the next play, throwing
deep along the right sideline toward Smelley and allowing LSU's defense
to make another game-changing play.
Claiborne followed Smelley
across the field and stepped in front of the tight end for his fourth
interception of the season. He dodged Lacey along the left sideline and
returned the ball 33 yards to the Alabama 15.
Jefferson and the
Tigers were unable to punch the ball into the endzone, but a 30-yard
field goal by Alleman tied the game at 6-6 with 14:13 left to play.
looked to have taken control of the game again, as the Tide drove into
LSU territory. On first-and-10 from the LSU 28, rather than
methodically working its way into the redzone, Alabama again went for
the big play.
With Maze in the "Wildcat" formation, the wide
receiver took the snap and heaved a pass high in the direction of
6-foot-6 tight end Michael Williams. Williams caught the ball high
above the 1-yard line before Reid ripped it away as the pair fell to
In a tie game, the interception just in front of the
goal line was followed up by a 73-yard punt by Wing that may have
changed the outcome.
Starting from its 19, the Tide managed two
first downs to its 41. However, defensive coordinator John Chavis sent
his defensive backfield on consecutive run blitzes by Claiborne and
safety Ron Brooks to stop Richardson in the backfield and force a punt
on fourth-and-2 from the Alabama 49.
Pinned at his 5, Jefferson
earned breathing room with a 14-yard pass to tight end Chase Clement.
An 18-yard run by Jefferson allowed the Tigers to run the clock under a
minute before Wing's final punt was downed at the 20.
elected to pocket its timeouts and play for overtime, where LSU's
defense made the plays and allowed its offense to secure the win with a
LSU improved to 8-5 in overtime games, while Alabama fell to 4-8.
Tigers return to action at 6 p.m. CST on Nov. 12 when they face Western
Kentucky for Homecoming at Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised by