Despite one of its best efforts of the season, No. 5 LSU loses a heartbreaker to No. 1 Alabama at home, 21-17.

BATON ROUGE -- It just wasn't meant to be.

Despite playing one of their best games of the season and leading the top team in the land by three with less than a minute to go, the Tigers couldn't pull out the victory in Death Valley Saturday night.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron hit freshman running back T.J. Yeldon for a 28-yard touchdown on a swing pass with 51 seconds to go to give the Crimson Tide a 21-17 lead.

The visiting team held on to win by that exact margin.

No. 5 LSU falls to 7-2, 3-2 in SEC play, while No. 1 Alabama stays undefeated with a 9-0 overall mark, 6-0 in conference play.

The Tigers lost at home for the first time in 23 tries (since the Florida game in 2009) despite outgaining the visiting Tide 435 yards to 331. Les Miles' men ran 85 offensive plays to 52 from Nick Saban's squad.

LSU leaped to life on offense in the second half, overcoming a 14-3 halftime deficit on the strength of quarterback Zach Mettenberger's right arm.

The junior from Georgia lit up 'Bama for 298 yards and one touchdown on 24-of-35 passing.

He received ample assistance on the ground as LSU rushed for 139 yards as a team, with freshman Jeremy Hill (29 carries, 107 yards, 1 TD) leading the way.

Sophomore receiver Jarvis Landry had a coming-out party of his own Saturday night, hauling in a game-high eight balls for 76 yards and what was the go-ahead touchdown with 12:58 left in the ballgame.

But Alabama made the big plays when it counted, particularly on the final drive, one which began on its own 28 yard line with one minute, 34 seconds remaining.

Forty-nine seconds later Yeldon was in the end zone, securing a major road win for Alabama.

McCarron finished the night 14-of-27 for 165 yards and a touchdown through the air. He also ran for a score right before halftime.

'Bama running backs Eddie Lacy (11 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD) and Yeldon (11 carries, 76 yards) combined for 159 of the Tide's 166 yards rushing.

The Tigers will host Mississippi State next week with both teams coming off home losses.

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