NCAA Game Summary - LSU at Alabama|
(Saturday, November 7th)
Final Score: (3) Alabama 24, (9) LSU 15
Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) - Greg McElroy threw a pair of touchdown
passes, including a short completion that Julio Jones turned into a 73-yard
game-winning score midway through the fourth, as third-ranked Alabama gutted
out a crucial 24-15 win over ninth-ranked SEC rival LSU at Bryant-Denny
Mark Ingram was a workhorse with 144 yards on 22 carries to help offset a
sometimes shaky performance by McElroy, who ended 19-of-34 for 276 yards with
a pick and missed a series of potential big plays in the first half with
Jones hauled in four passes for 102 yards, and Darius Hanks caught a TD pass
for Alabama (9-0, 6-0 SEC), which not only remained unbeaten on the season but
clinched the conference's West Division for a second straight season and a
date with East champ Florida in the SEC championship game.
Leigh Tiffin connected on all three of his field goal attempts and became the
program's all-time leading scorer on his final 40-yard boot, passing Phillip
Doyle's mark of 345 points accumulated from 1987-90.
LSU was beset by both injury and undisciplined play, helping to derail a
possible trip to the conference championship and BCS title game should they
have defeated the Crimson Tide. The Tigers' lone previous loss this season
came against the Gators.
Jordan Jefferson was 10-of-17 for 114 yards with a 12-yard TD pass to Deangelo
Peterson, but he was held out for most of the second half after suffering an
Fellow sophomore QB Jarrett Lee came on and completed 4-of-10 passes for 44
yards but threw an interception to end the Tigers' (7-2, 4-2) final
Charles Scott rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries but also exited early with a
shoulder injury and did not return. Stevan Ridley rushed for a score in his
absence, giving LSU a temporary 15-10 lead late in the third.
The Tigers had several costly penalties, racking up eight in all for 43 yards,
and were outgained 452-253 in the loss.
"I told my team I was proud of them, how hard they fought, how hard they
played and that they had a lot of promise. Our football team played awfully
well," LSU head coach Les Miles said.
Scott's injury came on a key 34-yard run that set up LSU at the Alabama 15
just outside three minutes remaining in the third. Two plays later Ridley
bounced off a defender and stiff-armed another before tip-toeing inside the
right pylon on an eight-yard scoring run to take the lead, 15-10, following
what would prove to be a costly failed two-point conversion.
Alabama's ensuing series bridged the third and fourth quarters with a heavy
dose of Ingram leading to a first-and-goal at the nine. Two more Ingram
carries set up third down at the two, but the Tide were whistled for a costly
penalty, breaking the huddle with 12 players, and Tiffin kicked a 20-yard
field goal to make it 15-13 with 12 1/2 minutes to play.
Yet another injury, cramping to cornerback Patrick Peterson, was ultimately
the final blow to LSU on 'Bama's next turn with the ball. Peterson, lined up
opposite of Jones all game, gave way on the left side to Brandon Taylor, who
overran a short out route to the flat as Jones dashed 73 yards up the sideline
to the end zone on the drive's first play.
"I expect to make those plays," Jones said. "We had a good game plan going in
and it was able to open some things up for us out wide and I was just able to
make a play."
Trent Richardson then eluded a pair of defenders at the goal line to convert a
two-point try and the Crimson Tide were up six, 21-15.
The Tigers produced a quick three-and-out when Lee was sacked on third down,
giving Alabama the ball back. LSU's defense, though, stiffened and stuffed
Ingram on 3rd-and-6 to force a punt. However, an ill-timed penalty allowed the
drive to continue. Daniel Graff ran into the kicker to set up fourth and
inches, and Tide coach Nick Saban decided to go for it with Ingram plowing
ahead for two.
Peterson, back in the game after receiving fluids, looked to have picked off a
McElroy pass on second down, but it was ruled on the field that he did not
possess the ball before running out of bounds. A review upheld that call, and
Tiffin went on to boot a 40-yarder that stretched the lead to nine, 24-15,
with 3:04 remaining.
Lee got the Tigers as far as their own 28 before Robby Green intercepted a
fourth-down pass to essentially seal the win for 'Bama with a minute to go.
Both offenses were stunted early in a scoreless first quarter.
LSU looked to be in business on its second drive of the game as Jefferson
connected with Brandon LaFell deep down the middle of the field, but an
illegal formation penalty wiped out the gain and the Tigers punted away
following another penalty.
LSU soon sustained an impressive 13-play, 91-yard scoring drive to produce a
7-0 lead nearly six minutes into the second.
Jefferson moved the ball to midfield with completions of 28 and 13 yards, then
ran for 15 yards on 3rd-and-7 from the 'Bama 38. Three plays later he went
over the top to a wide open Peterson at the back of the end zone for a 12-yard
Javier Arenas returned the ensuing kickoff 40 yards to midfield and the Tide
rolled an additional 40 yards before Tiffin was forced to kick a 28-yard field
goal after McElroy led Jones too far on a pass toward the right pylon on first
down from the 18.
A series of punts followed before 'Bama drove to the LSU 23-yard line inside
the final minute. McElroy, though, poorly underthrew a ball at the goal line
that was picked off by Kelvin Sheppard and the Tigers took a 7-3 lead into
Alabama came out of the locker room and put together a 10-play, 61-yard drive
that McElroy ended with a 21-yard TD pass to Hanks just inside the right pylon
for a 10-7 lead.
The Tigers moved the ball into Crimson Tide territory on their next series,
but had to punt after a 4th-and-5 completion in 'Bama territory was wiped out
by a false start. The series also saw the loss of Jefferson to an ankle injury
on a first-down sack by Nico Johnson that helped derail the drive.
But the defense came up huge on the ensuing Alabama possession. A Josh Jasper
punt pinned the ball at the one and McElroy was wrapped up in the end zone on
second down by defensive tackle Drake Nevis. The quarterback was called for
intentional grounding, as LSU inched closer, 10-9, with the safety.
LSU had a five-game winning streak against the Crimson Tide snapped last year,
with a 27-21 overtime win for Alabama in Tiger Stadium...Alabama leads the
all-time series 45-23-5 with Saturday's triumph the Tide's first over LSU in
Tuscaloosa since 1999...Marquis Maze caught six passes for 88 yards for
Alabama while Ingram nabbed five balls for 30 yards...Terrance Toliver
topped the Tigers' receiving corps with 46 yards on four receptions. LaFell
also grabbed four passes for 28 yards for LSU, which lost the time of
possession battle 32:52-27:08...Neither team excelled on third down as
Alabama was 4-of-14 and LSU 5-of-14...Alabama has started 9-0 in consecutive
seasons for the first time since '73-'74.
11/08 01:35:51 ET