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|LSU prevails in OT over Bama|
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- LSU's defense came up with an overtime stop before Drew Alleman made a 25-yard field goal, as No. 1 LSU went into Tuscaloosa beat No. 2 Alabama on Saturday, 9-6.
It was only fitting that America would be treated to an extra period in the epic matchup of the top two teams in the Southeastern Conference -- perhaps in all of college football.
The Tide took the ball first in the extra period and attempted to get the ball in the hands of star running back Trent Richardson. Two passes fell incomplete in the direction of No. 3 before LSU defensive end sacked Tide quarterback AJ McCarron for a 5-yards. Cade Foster's 52-yard field goal attempt wasn't close, sending the Tigers defense into hysteria as the offense too the field.
LSU went for the jugular, as Michael Ford's second down run looked to be a game-ending touchdown, but he stepped out at the 7. Three plays later, Alleman's field goal split the uprights and the Tigers again rushed the field victorious.
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Dubbed the "Game of the [insert hyperbole]" after weeks of media hype, LSU (9-0, 6-0 SEC) had its back to the wall against Richardson and the 101,821 Tide faithful. But, the LSU defense and its band of crazed followers came up with stop after stop.
Interceptions by Morris Claiborne and Eric Reid in the final 17 minutes of the game stymied opportunities for Alabama (8-1, 5-1 SEC), which never managed to extend leads of 3-0 and 6-3, despite many trips into LSU's side of the field.
Meanwhile, LSU's offense did just enough against the top-rated Tide defense to earn victory and stay atop the polls.
LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, who played most of the game after relieving starter Jarrett Lee, was 6-of-10 passing for 67 yards while running 11 times for 43 yards. Ford led all Tigers with 72 yards on 11 carries, while Spencer Ware had 29 yards on 16 carries.
LSU was outgained 296-239.
McCarron finished 16-of-28 passing for 199 yards and an interception that led to an LSU game-tying field goal on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Richardson was the star offensively, running for 89 yards on 23 carries while adding 80 yards receiving on five catches.
Marquis Maze added six catches for 61 yards, but it was his interception from the "Wildcat" formation that Reid intercepted at the LSU 1 with 11:26 remaining in the game.
In a game predicated on defense and field position, freshman punter Brad Wing landed 4-of-6 punts inside the Tide 20 including a 73-yard game changer from his endzone late in the fourth quarter.
Alabama won the coin toss and elected the take the opening kickoff. LSU freshman placekicker James Hairston kicked to the 4-yard line where Maze returned to the 30. Alabama used Richardson for gains of 18 and 22 to start the drive, the latter on a pass from McCarron. From the Tigers 30, LSU's defense stiffed for the first of three-straight drives by stuffing Richardson for a 5-yard loss and holding him to no gain on third-and-7 from the 27.
The first of two Alabama placekickers, sophomore Cade Foster, missed the 44-yard attempt from the right hash to the right.
LSU took over at their 27 and Lee fired a strike along the left sideline to Odell Beckham Jr. for 13 yards to the 45. Jefferson entered for the first time to convert a third-and-1 sneak to the Alabama 44. Lee returned but couldn't avoid the vintage Alabama corner blitz. After a pair of incomplete passes, LSU punter Brad Wing dropped his first punt into the arms of gunner Tyrann Mathieu at the Alabama 5.
On third-and-9 from the 6, McCarron avoided the Tigers blitz and connected with Maze for 19 yards. A face mask penalty gave Alabama a first down at its 40, before Richardson ran the ball into LSU territory to the 48. Lacey gave Richardson a breather for the first time and wasted no time making an impact. A 20-yard run to the LSU 23 had the Tide rolling. However, an illegal substitution penalty and a 6-yard tackle behind the line by Eric Reid put Alabama behind the down and distance. The tackle was Reid's fifth of the opening quarter.
A 50-yard field goal by Foster was short and right, giving LSU possession at its 33.
On the ensuing drive, Lee made the game's first mistake when he dropped a shotgun snap, quickly recovered, but tossed errantly into the Alabama zone for his second interception of the season -- and his first in 100 attempts. Alabama strong safety Robert Lester collected the pass that was intended for Shepard at the Alabama 47.
For the first time, the Tide had a short field, which was made shorter after a 19-yard catch by wide receiver Darius Hanks to the LSU 34. Richardson gained another first down rushing with 10 yards to the 24. But, again, LSU's defense stepped up and made the big plays to stop the Tide's momentum. After Maze's 6-yard loss on a botched reverse from Richardson, a 1-yard sack by defensive end Sam Montgomery setup a third-and-17 from the 31. LSU defensive end Lavar Edwards chased McCarron out of the pocket and forced a throw-away, as Alabama settled for a 49-yard field goal attempt by its regular placekicker, Jeremy Shelley.
The game remained scoreless, as Shelley's kick was blocked at the line by defensive tackle Bennie Logan and into the hands of Reid at the LSU 26. Reid ran along the right sideline for 26 yards to the Alabama 48, giving LSU its first drive that started in Tide territory.
Ware gained a hard-earned first down with a 1-yard run to the 38, but an illegal shift penalty on wide receiver Jarvis Landry proved too much to overcome against the Tide defense. Wing again wedged a 35-yard punt into the arms of gunner Ron Brooks at the Alabama 4.
Richardson again ran Alabama off its goal line with a 12-yard dart up the middle on second down. Another face mask penalty -- this on Logan trying to shed an offensive lineman -- moved Alabama to its 36. On third-and-4 from the 42, Richardson escaped from the backfield and McCarron found him for another huge gain of 39 to the LSU 19. With the star running back on the bench, Alabama managed only two yards in three plays.
Shelley was able to connect from 34 yards and Alabama led 3-0 with 3:53 left in the half.
Jefferson led the Tigers on an 11-play, 74-yard drive that ended with a goal-to-goal opportunity at the Alabama 8 after a 34-yard pass to Shepard. With 15 seconds left, Alabama was flagged for holding Randle in the endzone to give LSU a first-and-goal from the 2. Jefferson found no one and threw the ball into the stands on first down. With a timeout and eight seconds to play, Ware tried unsuccessfully for a run up the middle.
After a timeout with two seconds left, Drew Alleman's 19-yard field goal was true to tie the game at halftime, 3-3.
The teams traded punts to open the second half, as Alabama's first punt of the game went out of bounds at the LSU 17.
After getting bailed out by his defense late after a first-quarter interception, Lee's second mistake of the evening cost LSU points. Taking his first snap since the pick, Lee again threw into double coverage and was intercepted by free safety Mark Barron at the LSU 48. Barron's return went inside the LSU 5 but was called back to the 35 after an illegal block.
The Tigers defense stepped up to the challenge, holding Alabama without a first down and forcing a 46-yard field goal by Foster. After Shelley attempted the previous two kicks, Foster's kick snuck inside the left post and Alabama led 6-3 with 7:56 left in the third quarter.
With Jefferson under center, LSU worked its way across midfield with two first-down runs by Ford and a 13-yard pass to Randle. LSU's momentum was halted with a false start on first down, and the Tigers could go no further and punted from the 38.
Wing's punt was fair caught at the 11, where McCarron made another big play in his red zone with a 19-yard pass to Hanks. On third-and-10, he found Lacey out of the backfield for 11 yards and another first down. McCarron got a bit greedy on the next play, throwing deep along the right sideline toward Smelley.
LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne followed Smelley across the field and stepped in front of the tight end for his fourth interception of the season. He returned the ball 33 yards to the Alabama 15.
Jefferson and the Tigers were unable to take advantage of the opportunity, but a 30-yard field goal by Alleman tied the game at 6-6 with 14:13 remaining in the game.
Alabama looked to have taken control of the game again, as the Tide drove into LSU territory. On first-and-10 from the LSU 28, rather than methodically working its way into the redzone, Alabama again went for the big play.
With Maze in the "Wildcat" formation, the wide receiver took the snap and heaved a pass high in the direction of 6-foot-6 tight end Michael Williams. Williams had the ball at the 1-yard line before Reid ripped it away while the pair fell to the ground.
In a tie game, the interception just in front of the goal line was followed up by a 73-yard punt by Wing that may have changed the outcome of the game.
Starting from its 19, the Tide managed two first downs to its 41. However, defensive coordinator John Chavis sent his defensive backfield on consecutive run blitzes to stop Richardson in the backfield and force a punt on fourth-and-2 from the Alabama 49.
Pinned at his 5, Jefferson earned breathing room with a 14-yard pass to tight end Chase Clement. An 18-yard run by Jefferson allowed the Tigers to run the clock under a minute before Wing's final punt was downed at the 20.
Alabama played for overtime, where LSU's defense made the better plays and came away with the win. LSU improved to 8-5 in overtime games, while Alabama fell to 4-8.
The Tigers return to action at 6 p.m. CST on Nov. 12 when they face Western Kentucky for Homecoming at Tiger Stadium. The game will be televised by ESPNU.
Report courtesy lsusports.net