Alabama quarterback Blake Sims, who did not have his best night, connected with DeAndrew White on a six-yard pass in overtime to give the Crimson Tide a 20-13 win over LSU in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night.
Sims also directed a 47-second, 55-yard drive at the end of the fourth quarter that resulted in a 27-yard Adam Griffith field goal that pushed the game into overtime.
LSU had broken a 10-10 tie that had existed since halftime with what seemed likely to be a game-winning field goal with 50 seconds remaining in the game.
In the shadow of the same end zone of Tiger Stadium where T.J. Yeldon made a heroic pass catch and run for a come-from-behind win in 2012, Yeldon gave up a fumble in the final 1:13 at the Alabama six-yard line. That led to a 39-yard field goal by Colby Delahoussaye and near pandomonium among the vast majority of the 102,321 in Tiger Stadium.
One who kept his wits, though, was Nick Saban and his staff and players.
Saban used a couple of timeouts in the LSU possession to save precious seconds. That possession also included the Tigers being hit with a very costly personal foul penalty that took the ball from the six-yard line to the 21 and conceivably forced LSU to settle for a field goal rather than making the short drive to a touchdown.
But Alabama did have a final possession, and made the most of it. After LSU kicked off out of bounds – LSU Coach Les Miles said after the game that his kicker had been instructed to kick off out of the end zone – the Tide started at its 35 with 50 seconds.
Sims completed passes of six yards to O.J. Howard, then scrambled for a first down. He hit Howard for six yards, then Christion Jones for 22 to the LSU 26. White then made a nice grab on a pass for a 16-yard gain to the 10. With seven seconds to play, Griffith kicked the field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime.
In overtime, Bama lost the toss and LSU opted to start on defense. Both teams would get the same number of possessions starting at the 25-yard line.
Alabama opened with a surprise play, little-used tight end Brandon Greene catching a pass over the middle and driving to inside the one-yard line. After the play, however, Bama’s Leon Brown was called for a personal foul, which put the Tide back at the 15.
Because Yeldon had been injured on the play on which he fumbled, Derrick Henry was at tailback. He gained eight yards on first down and another on second to make it third-and-one at the six. Jalston Fowler, normally a blocking fullback, got the call and took it over the top to a first-and-goal at the four.
Henry ran it down to the one and then Brown got another penalty, this one a false start, making it first-and-goal from the six. Sims then lofted a pass to DeAndrew White, who went up in the end zone to out-fight the defender and come down with the touchdown. Griffith added the final point.
Alabama returns to action next Saturday, Oct. 15, when the Crimson Tide hosts undefeated and number one ranked Mississippi State in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Gametime and television information will be announced in the next few days.
Alabama looked like the bumbling offense for most of the first half, but late in the second quarter the Tide took advantage of a short LSU punt to go for a touchdown and got a key interception from Eddie Jackson to set up a field goal and give the Tide a 10-7 lead at intermission.
The first quarter was primarily an exchange of punts. LSU had drawn first blood after Bama freshman punter J.K. Scott had an uncharacteristically low punt that was returned 18 yards by Tre’Davious White and set the Tigers up at the Bama 41.
LSU freshman sensation running back Leonard Fournette did most of the damage with tough runs that moved to the Tigers to the Tide 14. On a third-and-eight quarterback Anthony Jennings hit Malachi Dupre in the end zone, a play that was originally ruled incomplete. Dupre seemed to be bobbling the ball as he went out of bounds, perhaps because Tide defender Cyrus Jones had grabbed Dupre’s facemask (which wasn’t called). On review, the pass was ruled a completion and a touchdown. After Delahoussaye’s extra point kick, LSU had a 7-0 lead with 4:03 left in the first quarter.
Alabama had a very nice drive that ended in frustration early in the second quarter. Taking over at its 20, the Tide put together four first downs, one of them overcoming a holding penalty. The drive, however, stalled at the LSU 10 and placekicker Adam Griffith was called on for a 27-yard field goal try. The kick hit the left upright and bounced back, no good.
Two fine tackles by Bama linebacker Reggie Ragland led to a quick three-and-out by LSU and the punt carried only to the Alabama 49.
Blake Sims started the drive with a quarterback keeper for 13 yards and connected with Amari Cooper on a clutch fourth-and-four that gained nine yards to the LSU 23. After a pass for DeAndrew White was broken up in the end zone, Sims went back to Cooper. He hit Cooper at the 18 and the junior wide receiver took it all the way on the 23-yard score with 5:40 remaining in the second quarter. Griffith was good on the extra point kick to tie the score at 7-7.
That seemed to be the likely halftime score after an exchange of punts that gave LSU the ball at its own 31 with just 1:21 until halftime. The Tigers, however, tried a pass that was picked off by Eddie Jackson at the LSU and returned 18 yards to the 29.
Three plays failed to get the first down, and with nine seconds until intermission Griffth made good on his second chance field goal. Alabama took a 10-7 lead to the locker room.
It didn’t take LSU long to tie the score, although it was a long drive. LSU started the second half from its 25 and picked up four first downs – one a 15-yard gain by Jennings when the Tide defense let him scramble up the middle on a third-and-six. The Tigers barely missed a touchdown pass, caught out of bounds, and settled for a 35-yard Delahoussaye field goal that tied it at 10-10 with 9:20 remaining in the third quarter.
One of several unusual calls came on Bama’s next possession. Facing third-and-one at the Tide 44, Sims rifled a pass for White that was broken up, incomplete, and Alabama had to punt the ball back to the Tigers. That would be the Tide’s only possession of the third quarter. Total offense for Bama in the third quarter: 7 yards.