DEVILLE: It's Gameday, grab the Mylanta

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - A reporter stopped LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini just outside the locker room door Saturday night.

A weary-eyed Pelini politely answered his questions and patiently waited for any others.

As he picked up his bag heading for the bus waiting outside Bryant-Denny Stadium, Pelini said "I am the oldest 39-year-old man on Earth right now."

After No. 3 LSU's 41-34, come-from-behind victory over 17th-ranked Alabama, Tiger fans can sympathize with Pelini. There were likely many an LSU fan waking up Sunday morning with a few extra gray hairs.

For the third time in four games, LSU trailed by 10 points in the second half before rallying for a last-second victory. Saturday, the Tigers scored 14 points in the final three minutes to shock the Crimson Tide 41-34.

"We have to stop doing this," Pelini said shaking his head. "I can't take this anymore."

Pelini is referring to LSU's last four-game stretch in which the Tigers have defeated Florida 28-24, Auburn 30-24, Alabama 41-34 and lost at Kentucky 43-37 in triple overtime.

LSU coach Les Miles agreed with Pelini.

"I am done with it," Miles exclaimed. "No more."

The important thing is the Tigers are still winning games and remain very much in the thick of the national championship race. However, LSU has been playing with fire recently and have been perilously close in each of the last four games to losing all of them.

On top of that, the LSU fanbase is developing one gigantic ulcer.

These days when Tiger fans prepare to attend an LSU game, the list of gameday gear has changed dramatically. Sure tailgaters still pack the customary accoutrements; beer, a grill, sausage and face paint, but lately there are new articles to include.

Mylanta. Check.

Prilosec. Check.

100-proof whiskey. Check.

Bible. Check.

After opening the season with two of the most decisive victories in recent memory, the Tigers have chosen to flirt with drama ever since. LSU dismantled two quality opponents in Miss. State and Virginia Tech in the first two games of the season outscoring them a combined 93-7.

It seems like eons since the Tigers actually took care of business.

Take for example LSU's win over Alabama on Saturday. The Tigers came out and established themselves as the dominant team staking claim to a decisive 17-3 lead early in the second quarter.

Despite all the hoopla surrounding the game and LSU facing former coach Nick Saban, the Tigers dominated Alabama throughout the first quarter and needed one more score to efficiently dispose of the Crimson Tide.

Easier said than done though.

Instead, LSU managed to play the sloppiest, most undisciplined game of football one can possibly imagine

"I don't know if I have been around a game where we have played this poorly - and made mistake after mistake and, yet, come out with a victory," Miles said.

Penalties? Of course.

LSU ranks 116th in the nation in penalties and had fourteen of them on Saturday totaling 130 yards.

Turnovers? Sure.

LSU quarterback Matt Flynn tossed three interceptions leading to 10 points for Alabama.

Breakdowns? You betcha.

Special teams was a disaster as Colt David had a 46-yard field goal attempt blocked at the end of the first half and LSU gave up a 61-yard punt return for a touchdown by Alabama's Javier Arenas in the fourth quarter.

All of this considered, the Tigers still won the game.

"This team is just tough," Flynn said. "We've got so many older guys and so many leaders on this team that they just come out there every day and work hard. It doesn't

matter what's happening in the game, they just overcome adversity and find plays."

Sounds like the making a championship team right?

Well, LSU surely didn't play like a championship team in Tuscaloosa last Saturday, that is until the final three minutes. The Tigers were not at their best but still found a way to win the game. And considering just how big the game was with all the contributing factors makes it all the better for LSU. Not only was their former coach pacing the opposing sideline, a loss would have ended the Tigers hopes of not only a national championship, but an SEC title as well.

But in the end, LSU won the game - mistakes and all. Miles said afterwards though the coaching staff intends to address these issues before the Tigers begin preparations for Saturday's game with Louisiana Tech.

"We are going to have to undergo some serious analyzing by our coaching staff or get after their tails," Miles said. "Secondly, they've got to resolve and compose and work hard at it. We need to correct some mistakes and improve and, if we do, this team can be something special. That is the task at hand."

Speaking of Louisiana Tech and the task at hand, LSU now begins the home stretch with games against the Bulldogs, Ole Miss and Arkansas. The Tigers will be heavily favored in all three contests and is all but a lock to make it to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

If the last four games are any indication of the grit of this LSU football team, the Tigers could reach their final destination with a chance to capture the grand prize.


Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag. Reach him at

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