NCAA FB

Sat, Nov 3, 2012 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

No. 1 Alabama edges SEC foe LSU

Watch highlights of No. 1 Alabama's 21-17 win over LSU.
Watch highlights of No. 1 Alabama's 21-17 win over LSU.
Share This Story

   
 

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)

While a small batch of Alabama fans celebrated behind the end zone at Tiger Stadium, A.J. McCarron found his parents at the edge of the stands. He lunged into their arms, his watery-eyed father furiously rubbing his son's hair.

McCarron had vowed he wouldn't let his team lose to LSU in the game of the year.

The Crimson Tide quarterback was true to his word.

With Alabama's hopes of a second consecutive national title slipping away, McCarron shook off a dismal second half and guided his right down the field. He read an LSU blitz and flipped a screen pass to T.J. Yeldon, who did the rest on a 28-yard touchdown with 51 seconds remaining that gave the top-ranked Tide a 21-17 victory over No. 5 LSU.

Talk about a Saturday night stunner in Death Valley.

"It was like clockwork," McCarron said. "The whole offense just looked at each other and you could just tell in everybody's eyes it was like, `We do this every Thursday, so what's the difference here?'"

Alabama (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) now has a clear path to the league championship game in Atlanta, and remains solidly on course to defend its national title in Miami.

"There's just so many emotions running through me," McCarron said. "Sometimes it can be a lot of pressure playing here at this university, especially with all the tradition of winning and everything. Just coming back and winning a game like that, and like coach (Nick) Saban said, it might be known as `The Drive' for the history of Alabama. And just to be a part of it with my teammates was just truly a blessing."

This one was a struggle. Led by embattled quarterback Zach Mettenberger, LSU (7-2, 3-2) fought back from a 14-3 halftime deficit with an offensive performance that was nothing like their dismal showing against the Tide in last season's BCS Championship Game.

Jeremy Hill scored on a 1-yard run late in the third quarter, LSU's first TD against Alabama since 2010 — a span of nearly three full games. Then Mettenberger threw perhaps the best pass of his LSU career, hooking up with Jarvis Landry on a 14-yard touchdown that put the Tigers ahead 17-14 with just under 13 minutes remaining.

LSU was on the verge of putting the game away, driving into Alabama territory and forcing Saban to call his remaining timeouts. But Drew Alleman missed a 45-yard field goal, and McCarron took over from there.

He completed three straight passes to put Alabama in scoring position. Then, when LSU brought a corner blitz, he got the ball away quickly to Yeldon. The freshman running back broke one tackle and faked out another defender, racing to the end zone for the winning score.

"I'm really, really pleased with that last drive," Saban said. "That's something I'll never forget."

CFB ON FOX IN 2012-13

Get the latest FOX College football news, analysis and videos right here.

Before the final possession, McCarron was 1 of 7 for 0 yards in the second half. All was forgiven when he guided the Crimson Tide on the lightning-quick 72-yard drive, connecting with Kevin Norwood on three straight passes covering 18, 15 and 11 yards against an LSU defense that was giving some room short. McCarron took one shot at the end zone, the ball falling to the turf when both the receiver and the defender fell down.

But, with a much shorter throw, he hit paydirt on the very next play.

Mettenberger, who had gotten much of the blame for LSU's lackluster offense, suddenly put it all together for the Tigers in the second half. But LSU couldn't overcome the nation's top-ranked team and some dubious calls by coach Les Miles.

The Mad Hatter kept reaching into his bag of tricks — and kept getting burned. A fake field goal was stuffed. An onside kick didn't work. And going for it on fourth down in Alabama territory didn't work out either.

"I wish I had a couple of my calls back," Miles said. "That's the way it goes."

Mettenberger nearly bailed out his coach. He finished 24 of 35 for a career-best 298 yards, with 14 of those completions for 202 yards coming over the final two quarters. Landry had eight catches for 76 yards, and freshman Jeremy Hill rushed for 107 yards and a third-quarter touchdown that got LSU back in the game.

Alabama has not been behind in the fourth quarter since 2010, and sure didn't have much experience at playing with a deficit in 2012. The Tide arrived in Baton Rouge having trailed for a grand total of 15 seconds this season — one play against Mississippi — and when McCarron took off on a 9-yard touchdown run with just 11 second left in the first half it looked like a repeat of last January's national championship game.

WHO SETS THE CURVE?

Check out the FOXiest fans from schools across the country and tweet us your photo.

But LSU was determined not to turn in another embarrassing performance like the one in the Superdome, when a perfect season ended with a dismal 21-0 loss to the Crimson Tide. The Tigers managed only 92 yards and five first downs in that game; this time, they put up 435 yards and 17 first downs against the nation's top-ranked defense.

It still wasn't enough.

"I told the players they would have to overcome a lot of adversity to win a game here," Saban said. "Things went bad. The momentum changed. But they kept their poise, kept playing, kept competing. I've never been prouder of as bunch of guys."

Alleman's 38-yard field goal gave LSU an early lead, but Alabama began to impose its will in the second period. McCarron completed four straight passes, Yeldon rushed five times for 40 yards and Eddie Lacy capped an 11-play, 92-yard drive by running it in from the 7.

McCarron finished 14 of 27 for 165 yards and has still yet to throw an interception this season. Lacy finished with 83 yards rushing, while Yeldon had 76.

LSU actually moved the ball rather effectively through much of the first half, but some silly blunders and questionable calls cost the Tigers dearly.

After Alabama's Cyrus Jones bobbled away a bouncing punt, Jerqwinick Sandolph recovered for LSU at the Tide 32. With the record Tiger Stadium crowd of 93,374 in a frenzy, Hill quickly ripped off a 19-yard run, but fullback J.C. Copeland picked up a needless personal foul when he plowed into an Alabama player after the play was over.

The officials stepped off 15 yards the other way, and LSU's drive imploded. LSU lined up for a 47-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-12, but Miles decided to try one of his trademark gambles.

It backfired.

Brad Wing, the holder, took the snap and tossed a short pass to Alleman. Miles was counting on his 5-foot-11, 183-pound kicker to outrun the defense, which he's done it before, but the Crimson Tide wasn't fooled at all. Alleman was dragged down for a 2-yard loss, preserving a 7-3 lead.

Getting the ball back with just over a minute remaining in the half, Alabama moved quickly down the field for a touchdown that many thought had broken LSU's back.

Norwood hauled in an 8-yard pass and stepped out of bounds with 16 seconds left. McCarron dropped back into the pocket and spotted a huge hole right up the middle. The junior never even hesitated, taking off on 9-yard touchdown run without being touched.

After that big play, McCarron was largely overshadowed in the second half.

Until the end.

Call if The Drive, Alabama style.

"I didn't doubt it one bit at all," McCarron said. "I just love moments like that. I like having the ball in pressure situations. When you've got teammates like I have, it makes your job easy."

Tagged: Alabama, LSU, Drew Alleman, Jarvis Landry, Zach Mettenberger

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash