Another 9-0 Start For Alabama

Saturday's victory over LSU moves Alabama to 9-0 for the season and, along with a 12-0 start in 2008, marks the first time since 1973-74 Alabama has constructed 9-0 starts in consecutive seasons. Alabama, which finished 12-2 in 2008, finished 11-1 in both 1973 and 1974, winning 11 straight before losing to Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl (24-23 in 1973) and the Orange Bowl (13-11 in 1974).

Alabama's 24-15 victory over LSU clinched Alabama's second consecutive SEC Western Division championship. The victory secures a berth in the 2009 Southeastern Conference Championship Game in Atlanta, scheduled for Saturday, December 5, with kickoff slated for 3 p..m. CST. CBS will televise the SEC Championship Game to a national audience. The Western Division Championship by Alabama is the Crimson Tide's seventh since expansion created the divisional format in 1992. Alabama also won division titles in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2008.

With the 24-15 victory, Alabama leads the all-time series 45-23-5. The win on Saturday was Alabama's first win over LSU in Tuscaloosa since 1999. Alabama now has a 9-8 series lead in Tuscaloosa, while the Tide holds a 25-8-2 edge in Baton Rouge.  

Here are other notes from Alabama's Saturday win over LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Senior placekicker Leigh Tiffin made three field goals and two extra points to give him 348 career points to set a new Alabama career scoring record – breaking Phillip Doyle's previous school record of 345 points accomplished from 1987-90.

Tiffin's field goals give him 76 career field goals, second all-time at Alabama, just two shy of the school record held by Philip Doyle (78 from 1987-90).

Tiffin has made 23-of-26 field goal attempts this season, moving him into third on the Alabama single-season field goals list.  Tiffin is closing in on his own record of 25 field goals made, a record he set in 2008 when he made 25 of 34 attempts.  Philip Doyle is second on the list with 24 (in 29 attempts) in 1990.

Tiffin has scored 95 points this season via field goals or extra-point conversions..  That ranks sixth on the Alabama single-season list for kicking points.

Alabama had a 100-yard rusher (sophomore Mark Ingram 22 carries for 144 yards) and a 100-yard receiver (sophomore Julio Jones four catches for 102 yards) against LSU, the sixth 100-yard rusher and second 100-yard receiver this season. In the third season under head coach Nick Saban, Alabama has had 16 100-yard performances and the Tide has gone 15-1 in those 16 games. Four different Alabama players have rushed for 100 yards during the last three seasons. Under Saban, Alabama has had eight 100-yard receiving performances and the Tide has gone 7-1 in those games. The LSU game marked the fourth time under Saban that Alabama has had a 100-yard rusher and receiver in the same game.

With 144 yards rushing against LSU, Ingram has rushed for 1,148 yards and eight touchdowns this season for a 127.6-yards per game average.  Ingram has 24 receptions for 216 yards and three scores. In Alabama's nine games, Ingram has six games in which he has rushed for at least 100 yards he had 99 against Tennessee.

Ingram has been at his best against the best in 2009. The sophomore has accounted for 712 yards on the ground (178.0 ypg.) with three rushing touchdowns in four games against opponents ranked in the Top 25 at game time. He has also caught 13 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown to account for 816 all-purpose yards (209.0 ypg) in those four contests.

Ingram moved into ninth place on the Alabama single-season rushing list .

Julio Jones took a short pass 73 yards for a touchdown with 10:24 remaining in the fourth quarter to give Alabama a 19-15 lead that was extended to 21-15 on a two-point conversion run by Trent Richardson.  Jones' catch-and-run was his longest this season and the longest of his Alabama career.  Jones' previous longest reception was a 64-yard play against Florida in the 2008 SEC Championship Game at Atlanta.  Jones finished the game with four catches for 102 yards.

Jones eclipsed 100 receiving yards for the fourth time in his Alabama career.  That ties the sophomore for fifth all-time at Alabama in career 100-yard games.

Receiver Marquise Maze caught 6 passes for 88 yards – all in the first half – to set a new single-game career high for receptions while tying his single-game high for receiving yardage.  His previous single-game high of 4 catches occurred three times previously: vs. Tulane in 2008, vs. North Texas in 2009 and at Mississippi in 2009.  His previous yardage high was an 88-yard effort on only 2 catches against Arkansas.

  By holding LSU to 95 rushing yards, Alabama's defense over the past 23 games – or two seasons – has held 20 teams under 100 yards rushing as only LSU and Florida in 2008 and Kentucky in 2009 have been able to crack the 100-yard barrier as a team. UA has surrendered just 1,654 yards on the ground in the last 23 games, an average of 71.9 yards per game.

No running back has cracked the 100-yard mark since Mississippi's BenJarvus Green-Ellis went for 131 on Oct. 13, 2007, a span of 27 games.  

Alabama trailed at halftime, 7-3, marking only the second time this year that the Crimson Tide has trailed at the break, the first time since the season opener against Virginia Tech on September 5 when the Hokies held a 17-16 lead at intermission.  The Crimson Tide is 2-5 under Saban when trailing at halftime. Before the win over LSU, the only previous win of the Saban Era when trailing at the half came in the 34-24 win over No. 7 Virginia Tech in the 2009 season opener in Atlanta.  Conversely, the Crimson Tide is 25-1 when leading at halftime under Saban, including a 19-game winning streak. The only loss with a halftime lead came against LSU during the 2007 season when UA held a 20-17 halftime lead before losing, 41-34, on Nov. 3, 2007, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide is 1-2 when tied at halftime under Saban. The lone win when tied at halftime came last year at LSU.

The safety scored by LSU on a quarterback sack with 5:55 remaining in the third quarter is the first allowed by Alabama since October 18, 2003, at Mississippi.

Alabama has outscored opponents 56-20 in the first quarter and 142-53 in the first half this season.

LSU's touchdown pass of 12 yards from Jordan Jefferson to Deangelo Peterson with 9:12 remaining in the second quarter was the first touchdown allowed by the Alabama defense in the first half of a game in six games dating back to the Florida International game on September 12.

The 7-0 deficit faced by Alabama in the second quarter marked the first time Alabama has trailed in a game since the second quarter of the Florida International game on September 12, when FIU led Alabama 14-13.  In that game, Alabama trailed for only 2:09 before regaining the lead on a run by Mark Ingram with 8:20 left in the second quarter.  The Crimson Tide trailed LSU until 11:40 remained in the third quarter when Darius Hanks caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Greg McElroy to give Alabama a 10-7 lead.

LSU scored first, marking the first time this season that Alabama has not scored first in a game and the first time since the 2009 Sugar Bowl vs. Utah that an opponent has taken the initial lead of the game.

Alabama and LSU were scoreless in the first quarter.  The Alabama defense has not allowed a touchdown in the first quarter in the last six games dating back to the FIU game (7 in 1Q and 14 in 1st half).  Alabama has not allowed a point in opening quarter of its last four games.

Alabama trailed for 12:52 against LSU (for the final 9:12 of the first half and the first 3:40 of the second half).  This season, Alabama has trailed a total of 42:40 of play.  Alabama trailed 27:39 of the Virginia Tech game, 2:09 of the FIU game, from 9:12 of the second quarter until 11:40 remained in the third period against LSU.

Alabama was held to only three points in the first half by LSU, the fewest points in the first half by Alabama since the Crimson Tide was held scoreless (0-0) at half against Florida State on Sep 29, 2007 at Jacksonville, Fla., in a game the Tide eventually lost, 21-14.

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban has compiled a 28-8 (.777) record in his career with the Tide.

Saban is 2-2 in his career against LSU with Saturday's win, following last year's 27-21 overtime win in Tiger Stadium and a 41-34 loss in 2007. A Saban-coached Michigan State team also lost, 46-25, to the Tigers while Saban was head coach at Michigan State in the 1995 Independence Bowl in Shreveport. Saban was the head coach at LSU from 2000-04 and compiled a 48-16 (75 per cent) record, leading the Tigers to the 2003 BCS National Championship and two SEC Championships during his tenure. In 2003, Saban led the Tigers to a 13-1 record and a 21-14 win over Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game played at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La.  

The first called running play in the game came on LSU's second possession, over five minutes into the game. Alabama's first run came on its second possession with just under seven minutes to play, an eight-yard gain by Mark Ingram.

Starting tight end Colin Peek, who had been considered doubtful for the game against LSU, did not start for the Tide, but went on on the second play after Brad Smelley opened at the position. Peek saw very little action.

Alabama captains against LSU were linebacker Rolando McClain, offensive guard Mike Johnson, quarterback Greg McElroy, and cornerback/return specialist Javier Arenas.

Terry Davis, Alabama quarterback in 1971 and 1972, Bama's first two years in the wishbone offense, was honorary captain. Davis is a native of Bogalusa, Louisiana, and was pictured on the front of Sports Illustrated magazine after leading Bama to a win over LSU in 1971.

College football games sometimes have clock malfunctions. There was a first for Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday when the replay equipment was not functioning. What appeared to be about a 10-yard pass completion for Alabama was wiped out by the call on the field. The replay equipment was operating before the first quarter reached midpoint.

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