Mosley Played Part In 'Breaking' LSU
Alabama turned a 17-14 tenuous lead at intermission into a runaway over the final 30 minutes, due to a few half time adjustments and a heated talk from the head man.
What did he say? "It's all about not giving up, executing, and trying to find their breaking point," said senior linebacker C.J. Mosley, who had a game-high 12 tackles. "It's all about creating an identity. That's what Coach Saban talks about. That's what we did in the second half. We got real aggressive. I could see in some of their (players') eyes that it was about over for them." And what does that 17-0 second stanza say about the identity of the 2013 Crimson Tide? "It says this team can start (a half) fast, and finish strong."
There were more specifics in Saban's halftime "fireside chat," according to junior safety Landon Collins. "He told us we needed to start dominating the line of scrimmage, on both sides of the ball," Collins said.
That was fine with junior right tackle Austin Shepherd. "It felt great," he said. "You have to overpower that guy across from you, even though he knows you're trying to do it. We felt like in the second half, we started moving the line of scrimmage. The whole point was to dominate the line of scrimmage, and in the second half, we (as an offensive line) felt like we did that."
Shepherd and co. helped pave the way for sophomore halfback T.J. Yeldon to gain 104 of his game-high 133 rushing yards in the final two quarters. "That dude's awesome," Shepherd said. "I love blocking for him."
Sophomore receiver Amari Cooper continues his resurgence with three catches for 46 yards. He, too, couldn't help but notice the way his team "finished," another Saban slogan of note. "This game just showed how relentless our team is," Cooper said. "We faced some adversity (in the first half), and we came back and overcame it."
And the difference in that second half? "We played more aggressively, like a dominant team. That's a term we like to use. (LSU) was relentless. We just had to come out and punch harder. Every team has a breaking point."
One play that led to that eventual breaking point was a fake punt that extended Alabama's first drive of the third quarter after the Tigers had tied the game at 17. It began with Collins not getting on the field in time for the punt, leading to a time out. When LSU changed formations as play resumed, Mosley took a direct snap and handed the ball to former Blount High running back Jarrick Williams, a safety in college. Williams got six yards on fourth-and-2, and nearly broke free, but for a diving tackle by Oxford native Kwon Alexander of LSU.
"(Alexander) shoe-stringed me. I'm still mad I didn't break it," Williams said, before adding, "It all worked out for the good. That's a play that really hurts if you're playing on the other team."
At least one of Williams' teammates wasn't impressed. "I think he should have taken it to the house," joked Collins. "He told me he was a running back in high school, but he didn't show me much there."
Quarterback A.J. McCarron was more surprised than LSU was by the fake punt. "To be honest, I didn't even know we'd faked it," he said. "I thought we'd punted and gotten a turnover. I was on the sidelines with my back turned, talking to the offense. It was big for us to come out and have the momentum on our side. When something good like that happens, you've got to capitalize on it."
That the Tide did, as Yeldon capped the 14-play, 79-yard march with a four-yard run around right end to give the Tide the lead for good.
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