Saban Proud of Effort Despite Loss

It would be hard to argue that Saturday night's match between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama, hyped nationwide for two weeks, failed to live up to its billing. Even Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban was not disappointed with his team's performance in the game, though he was with the outcome -- a 9-6 loss in overtime.

Nick Saban was as complimentary of his Alabama squad's performance after the loss against LSU Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium as he has been after any other game this season.

"I think that was a heckuva football game," Saban said. "I'm proud of the way our players competed. I thought they played hard, played physical, played with toughness, and had lots of opportunities in the game that we didn't take advantage of."

"Our team is going to get better from this," he said.

The Crimson Tide was sunk by stalled drives followed by miscues in the kicking game. It's first three possession ended in failed field goal attempts of 42, 50 and 48 yards respectively.

And in overtime, the Tide offense started on the 25 and went backwards 10 yards in three plays, forcing another long attempt -- 52 yards -- that was missed badly.

"Those weren't easy kicks, so I don't put those all on the kicking team necessarily," Saban said. "You've got to say something about what did you do offensively when you stalled at that point and couldn't get in a better position."

Saban did not talk about the decisions to attempt so many long field goals after the drives stalled. But he defended the play call that led to an interception thrown by wide receiver Marques Maze intended for tight end Michael Williams near the LSU goal line.

"We have that play and use Maze back there (at quarterback) a little bit," the coach said. "He made a good throw and we had the opportunity to catch the ball and didn't finish the play. We were behind the defense. Their guy did a good job of recovering and a good job of competing for the ball."

With talk likely to turn immediately to whether Alabama should be considered for a national championship game rematch with LSU, Saban deferred when asked his thoughts about the possibility.

"You know what, I'm really looking forward to looking at this film trying make our team better," he said. "Whoever makes those decisions will make them based on teams' whole body of work and choose who is best. I really can't speculate on a hypothetical and it's really not our focus anyway."

For his part, however, LSU Head Coach Les Miles told CBS's Tracy Wolfson in the on-field post-game interview that, if the situation arose, he "would be honored" to play Alabama again.

First, though, Alabama has two SEC road games remaining on its regular season schedule, starting with a trip to Starkville to play Mississippi State next week.

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