No reason to sugar-coat it

Alabama has now lost seven games on the season, ensuring itself a losing record. But its most recent loss at the hands of LSU was a dominating defeat. <br><br>"Saturday night we did not play a good football game against a real good football team," said Tide Head Coach Mike Shula. "Because of that, those were the results."

Alabama ended up losing 27-3, and the final score probably didn't do justice to the performance of the third-ranked Bayou Bengal Tigers. "You have to give LSU a lot of credit," Shula said. "They're well-coached. They've got a lot of talent. They're very productive."

Alabama didn't make a first down the entire first quarter and managed only three for the opening half. Shula commented, "We got off to a poor start, where we couldn't make first downs offensively. They gained field position when we punted the football by having two good punt returns."

LSU's defense is ranked among the nation's best. Saturday they yielded only 219 yards of total offense to the Tide.

The SEC's leading rusher heading into the game, Shaud Williams was held to a meager 29 yards rushing Saturday. (AP photo)

"Defensively they had momentum going with field position," Shula said. "Our defense did a good job of keeping it to 10 points up until two minutes before (halftime). We hung in there and got some chances."

On the rare occasions when Alabama did cross into Tiger territory, LSU's defense rose up to throw them back. Shula said, "Right before the half we came up short to try and narrow it to a two-score game. The same thing happened in the second half."

Asked his thoughts after reviewing the game film, Shula talked about Bama's failure to find an answer for LSU's blitzes, especially when the Tide tried to throw the football.

"We felt better going into the game about our execution in the passing game than was displayed Saturday," Shula said. "We knew they were going to be a tough team to run the football against. Our runs were sporadic as far as run efficiency. We knew they were a good third-down blitz team. We didn't execute as well as we could have against some of their blitzes.

"Overall, we didn't execute as well as we're capable of against a good football team. That's the best way to sum it up."

Shut out for most of the game, on Bama's final two possessions the Tide offense drove to the shadow of LSU's goal line. Trailing 24-0 early in the fourth quarter, Shula chose to go for it on fourth and goal from the LSU 16. But Brodie Croyle's pass attempt to Dre Fulgham fell incomplete.

"We were trying to get the touchdown," Shula explained. "We knew we would need a few scores to win, and we wanted to get one then."

LSU took over on downs, and promptly ran off more than 10 minutes of game clock, en route to a field goal that pushed the score to 27-0.

To its credit Bama's offense answered by again driving deep into LSU territory. The Tide got as far as the six yardline before losing yardage back to the 10. This time on fourth down Shula sent out his field goal unit. Brian Bostick's kick made the score 27-3, which is how the game ended.

Shula talked about the decision to kick a field goal. "We lost yardage again, which is what we did earlier. Whether or not it was avoiding a shutout or making field goals...

"I didn't have a good feeling. Maybe if earlier when we were down close we weren't losing yards we may have made a different call. But we needed to work on field goals. We need to work on everything."

With the loss even if Alabama can somehow rally and win its final two games, the Tide's final record would only be 6-7.

"It's tough," Shula acknowledged. "It's a tough one to swallow. But it's one that we're going to have to (get over) in a hurry. Get past it.

It's rarely a good sign when a cornerback leads his team in tackles. Charlie Peprah had 14 Saturday. (AP photo taken earlier versus Oklahoma)

"We've got Auburn this week, and we all know what that means."

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