Unlike LSU and Alabama's last two regular season meetings, this one's outcome was decided long before the clocks hit zero. The Tide blew open a game that was tied late in the third quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points to close out a 38-17 victory in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
T.J. Yeldon racked up 133 yards rushing, A.J. McCarron threw three touchdown passes and the Alabama defense forced two turnovers and limited LSU to just 52 total yards of offense in the second half.
"I'm really not prepared for this," said LSU coach Les Miles of the defeat. "This kind of felt like we played better. Two quality teams played and that Alabama team separated themselves from us tonight."
Despite losing a pair of fumbles in the first half — including one by J.C. Copeland on the goalline — LSU came out of halftime trailing just 17-14 thanks to a Zach Mettenberger touchdown pass to Travin Dural shortly before the end of the second quarter. The Tigers got possession to open the second half, and tied it with a 41-yard field goal by Colby Delhoussaye.
But that would be the last time LSU scored.
Alabama reached the endzone on its next possession with a four-yard touchdown run by Yeldon, capping off a 14-play, 79-yard drive. The Tigers nearly escaped that possession though, if not for a little Miles-like trickery from Nick Saban.
On fourth-and-2 near midfield, Alabama faked a punt to pick up the first down and prolong the eventual scoring drive.
From there it was all Alabama. The Tide forced a punt on the next LSU possession, then marched it down the field again. It was Yeldon who scored, this time on a one-yard touchdown run, leaving LSU with just 10:31 to overcome a 14-point deficit.
But LSU did put itself in position to cut into Alabama's lead. Odell Beckham took the ensuing kickoff 82 yards to set up the Tigers inside the Tide red zone.
Jeremy Hill lost three yards on the first play from scrimmage, then an incomplete pass by Mettenberger, then another and one more to end the possession on a turnover on downs.
The defense failed once more to stop Alabama, this time helping the Tide with 30 yards of personal foul penalties. Alabama eventually scored on a three-yard touchdown pass by McCarron.
"They really used the clock," Miles said. "They did not throw the ball much. They were successful. They ran the football and just ran the clock out."
LSU's final possession, a desperate attempt to cut into a 21-point deficit, ended in three identical plays — sack, sack, sack.
The loss officially eliminates LSU from the SEC title race and gives the Tigers three regular season losses for the first time since 2009. LSU gets a bye week to recuperate before returning to action in two weeks against Texas A&M in Tiger Stadium.
"We're still going to have that bitter taste in our moth," said WR Jarvis Landry. "But we still have to prepare for Texas A&M. That's going to be the biggest thing for us."