LSU Wins Defensive Struggle In OT
It was Alabama Coach Nick Saban who decided to be tricky in the fourth quarter of a tie game. Instead of getting points, the Crimson Tide ended up in overtime. LSU solidified its number one national ranking with a 9-6 overtime victory over Bama at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Drew Alleman was good on his third field goal of the night from 25 yards to end the game in the initial overtime period.
Alabama attempted six field goals, making two and having one blocked. The final miss, an unlikely 52-yard effort by Cade Foster in overtime, came after Alabama -- going on offense first in the extra football -- managed to travel backwards via penalty and sack.
LSU took its opportunity to run the ball to inside the 10-yard line and knock through the chip shot winner.
It was the only time in the game that LSU had the lead.
LSU improved to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in Southeastern Conference games. Alabama, which had been ranked second in the nation going into the game, fell to 8-1 and 5-1.
Alabama continues in SEC play next week going to Mississippi State. Kickoff time will be announced no later than Monday afternoon.
Both teams made one field goal in each half.
Alabama had numerous missed opportunities in the first half, and not just because the Tide was 0-3 on field goals before making one.
Alabama had a first down at the LSU 30 on Bama's first possession and ended with Cade Foster trying a 44-yard field goal which was wide right. On the Tide's second possession a first down at the LSU earned no more than a 50-yard field goal try by Foster, also wide right.
Late in the first quarter Bama safety Robert Lester intercepted a Jarrett Lee pass at the Alabama 47. A low snap that was briefly fumbled may have contributed to the interception. But Bama couldn't convert. After driving to a first down at the LSU 24, Alabama faced a fourth-and-17. The Tide didn't give up on a possible field goal, calling on Jeremy Shelley for a 49-yard try. The third time was not the charm for Alabama as the kick was blocked.
Later in the quarter a fine LSU punt pinned Bama at its four. A Trent Richardson run of 12 yards got the ball out of the shadow of the goalline. A 15-yard face mask penalty against LSU on a short Richardson run helped the cause. And then quarterback A.J. McCarron hit Richardson on a short pass. Richardson made two defenders miss as he turned the play into a 39-yard gain to the LSU 19. Again the drive stalled, but this time Shelley was able to make a 34-yard field goal and give the Tide a 3-0 lead with 3:53 to play.
That 3:53 proved to be just enough time for LSU to tie the score. With Jordan Jefferson at quarterback and Michael Ford at tailback, the Tigers drove to a first and goal at the Alabama 8 on the strength of a 34-yard pass from Jefferson to Russell Shepard. Helped by a holding call against Alabama, LSU threatened to score a touchdown, but had to settle for a last-play-of-the-half Drew Alleman 19-yard field goal.
After 30 minutes of play, it was Alabama 3, LSU 3.
Alabama got two early breaks in the third quarter and managed to get only three points. The first was a 22-yard LSU punt that set the Tide up at midfield. But after no movement, Cody Mandell was called on for the first Alabama punt of the night. He put it out of bounds at the LSU 17.
Jarrett Lee hadn't been seen at quarterback in a while, but returned to action -- and promptly threw an interception. Alabama safety Mark Barron picked it off and appeared to have returned the ball to inside the LSU five-yard line. A block in the back, however, put the Tide back to the LSU 35.
McCarron went to Kenny Bell, trying for the quick score, but was incomplete. After a short Richardson run and a dump pass to Marquis Maze put Bama at the 29, the Tide called on Foster for a 46-yard field goal try and Foster made it for a 6-3 lead with 7:56 remaining in the third quarter.
Later in the quarter, Alabama had moved from its 11 to its 41, but a McCarron pass intended for Brad Smelley was intercepted by LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne at the Tide 48 and returned to the Tide 15. Although the Bama defense was stiff, the Tigers got a 30-yard Alleman field goal in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. It was 6-6.
Alabama got two great efforts that might have resulted in winning points. A short pass to Marquis Maze was turned into an 18-yard run on a third down play. Two plays later, a short pass to Richardson was turned into a nifty 24-yard gain to the LSU 28.
As had been the case too many times, Alabama did not take advantage of being deep in LSU territory. In the fourth quarter of a tie game in which there had been only four field goals, points were at a premium.
Alabama decided to try a trick play for a touchdown. It almost worked. Instead, it killed the opportunity. Marquis Maze was in wildcat formation and tried a long pass to tight end Michael Williams. Williams got the ball at the one, but on the way to the ground had it stripped away by LSU's Eric Reid. The Tigers had the ball at their one.
Although Bama would force a punt, Maze let it go and it rolled for 73 yards to the Alabama 19. The Tide ground out a couple of first downs, but then went in a hole and ended up with a fourth and two near midfield and had to punt the ball away. The Tide would not get it back until only 52 seconds remained and Alabama opted to play for the win in overtime.
As is often the case, the team that wins the coin toss wins the game. LSU won the toss and elected to go on defense.
It was a terrible offensive performance by Alabama. A hurried pass on an inside screen to Richardson was incomplete and then the Tide was flagged for an illegal substitution penalty. A wheel route to Richardson looked like it might score a touchdown, but the pass went just off Richardson's hands, incomplete. On third down McCarron took a sack, a five-yard loss that pushed the field goal try back to 52 yards. It wasn't close.
LSU got its chance and the Tigers knew they needed only a field goal to win. A run by Ware gained three and then on an option, Ford got 15 to the seven. From there the Tigers maneuvered into position for Alleman's game-winning kick.
Alabama had 60 plays for 295 yards to LSU's 58 plays for 239 yards in the defensive struggle. Richardson was held under 100 yards rushing as he had 23 carries for a net of 89 yards. McCarron completed 16-28 for 199 yards with one interception. Maze had six catches for 61 yards, Richardson five for 80. Nico Johnson led the Tide defensively with 11 tackles, followed by DeQuan Menzie with eight and Dont'a Hightower with seven. Courtney Upshaw had six tackles, a sack, and two quarterback pressures.
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