November 06, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - To say that I am pleased to report what I am about to report would be the understatement of the century. So, without further adieu, LSU has defeated Alabama in a game dubbed by analysts and commentators as the "Game of the Century.
The Tigers defeated the Alabama Crimson Tide 9-6 in overtime in Tuscaloosa in a game in which the defenses dominated from start-to-finish, and in which neither team scored a touchdown.
The Tigers came close on Morris Claiborne's interception return in the third quarter. Alabama nearly got in the end zone in the fourth quarter on a pass from Marquis Maze that was picked off by LSU safety Eric Reid at the LSU one yard line. Reid literally ripped the ball away from the Bama receiver in the air and came down with it without the ball ever hitting the ground. The receiver was wide open on the play until Reid seemingly came out of nowhere to cut off the route at the last second, timing his jump perfectly and fighting for the ball until he had clear and indisputable possession.
Both teams' defenses dominated the game, and LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee threw twice as many interceptions as he had all season leading up to the game. Luckily for the Tigers, embattled backup QB Jordan Jefferson played well enough to get his team the victory.
LSU held Alabama star running back and leading Heisman Trophy candidate Trent Richardson to 89 yards on the ground on 23 carries. Richardson also led the Tide in receiving with 80 yards on five catches.
The difference in the game turned out to be special teams, with LSU getting great performances from punter Brad Wing, who punted six times, pinning the Tide inside its own 20 on four of them, including a 73 yard punt he booted from inside the LSU 10. The ball sailed over receiver Marquis Maze's head, rolling another 20 yards before finally being downed at the 18. Alabama coach Nick Saban was clearly frustrated with that play in the post-game press conference, offering few words while holding nothing back in terms of his body language and tone.
LSU junior kicker Drew Alleman connected on all three of his field goal attempts, which accounted for all nine of his team's points.
Alabama kickers made only two of six field goal attempts, including one from over 50 yards which was partially blocked. In fairness to the Crimson Tide's kickers (two of whom played with each missing at least one field goal), with all four misses coming from at least 45 yards out, two of which were 50-plus yard attempts.
As even as the two teams are, the biggest difference between the two may ultimately be the coaches. LSU's coach is a slightly better coach and strategist than his rival from Tuscaloosa.
LSU defeats Alabama 9-6. Geaux Tigers!