Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
Tuscaloosa, AL: The game went down to the final play. A 30 yard Hail Mary into the end zone that was knocked away, along with a offensive penalty, helped #2 ranked Alabama escape with a 20-14 win over a LSU football team that played their hearts out for 60 minutes, leaving it all out on the field.
The story of the game was the aggressive LSU defense that played perhaps their best game of the season. They put pressure on Bryce Young all night long and shut down the Alabama running game, allowing only six yards total on the ground, while a young, inexperienced secondary held their own against a couple of the best receivers in the SEC.
The big difference in the game was a key LSU turnover with 1:21 left in the 1st half when Max Johnson had his pass tipped and intercepted by Alabama, which the Tide turned into a quick touchdown.
LSU however had a few opportunities to take the lead late in the 4th quarter as the Tigers would drive 74 yards on 14 plays, but came away with no points, as they would go for it on 4th and goal from the seven yard line. Max Johnson, who was under pressure on the play, threw too high for Trey Palmer in the end zone.
The Tigers started their next possession at the Alabama 42 yard line after recovering a Bryce Young fumble, but the LSU offense would turn the ball over on downs with 2:36 left in the game.
LSU won the toss but elected to defer giving Alabama the ball first to start the contest. Bama would slowly move into LSU territory as Bryce Young would dink and dunk the Tide down the field. The LSU defense stiffened, stopping the drive at their 32 yard line to set up a 49 yard field goal attempt. Alabama kicker Will Reichard's kick fell short, hitting the cross bar, bouncing away to end the Tide's opening drive with zero points.
The Tigers started their first possession at their own 32 and move the ball to their 48 yard line where they would face a 4th and four. With nothing to loose, Ed Orgeron dialed up a little trickery calling a fake punt. Avery Atkins would throw a nice jump pass to a wide open Jack Mashburn who would rumble for a 26 yard gain to the Bama 26 yard line. From there, the Tigers took care of their good fortune finishing the drive with Max Johnson completing a 8 yard touchdown pass to Brian Thomas Jr. to take the early lead. 7-0 Tigers with 8:33 left in the 1st quarter.
Both defenses dominated the game until the Tide's offense began to show some life with 8:58 to go in the 2nd quarter. Alabama would tie the game up, driving 77 yards on 12 plays, with Brian Robinson Jr. punching the ball into the end zone from two yards out. 7-7 with 2:52 left in the first half.
LSU would be the first to turn the ball over on the next possession. On 3rd and four from their own 31, Max Johnson threw into tight coverage. Bama linebacker Christian Harris batted the pass away, and the football found its way into Jalyn Armour-Davis arms for an interception at the LSU 39 yard line.
The turnover ended up being a costly one as Alabama's offense took advantage to grab their first lead of the contest. Bryce Young would find John Metchie in the end zone from 8 yards out for the score to put the Tide up 14-7 at the half.
The Tigers would start the first drive of the 2nd half from their own 28 yard line. After a 16 yard completion to Jaray Jenkins giving LSU a first down at the 47, Ty Davis-Price would break an 11 yard run, but Henry To'o-To'o stripped the ball loose at the end of the run. Alabama would recover the fumble to set up 1st and ten at their own 42. Two plays later Bryce Young went deep, hitting Jameson Williamson in stride for a 58 yard touchdown. Will Reichard missed the PAT, as Alabama increased their lead to 20-7 with 12:51 left in the quarter.
Later in the quarter LSU would dig deep down to make it a new ball game, driving 89 yards in 14 plays to score. The Tigers converted 4th and one twice on the drive, then had the aid of a personal foul penalty on Bama to help cash in. On 1st and goal from the 8, Max Johnson hit Jack Bech at the five yard line, who battled his way into the end zone for the score. 20-14 Bama with 2:27 left in the 3rd quarter.
*The LSU defense punched Bama in the mouth all game long, blitzing most of the night to harass Bryce Young throughout the game, sacking him four times, while recording 8 TFL...
*Damone Clark led the team with 8 tackles, a sack, and two TFL, ... Dwight McGlothern, Micah Baskerville, and Neil Farrell each finished with seven tackles, ... Jay Ward and Cameron Lewis both played well making huge plays during the game.
*Max Johnson who was under pressure much of the game showed his toughness after taking several hard hits. He would finish going 16-32, 160 yards passing with two touchdown and one interception.
*Ty Davis-Price led the team in rushing with 104 yards on 23 carries.
*Jack Bech had a good game grabbing 5 balls for 53 yards and a touchdown, ... Jaray Jenkins had 54 yards on 4 catches, ... while Brian Thomas Jr. had 3 catches for 28 yards and a score.
The Tigers will return to Tiger Stadium next Saturday, Nov. 13th to host the Arkansas Razorbacks. Kickoff is set for 6:30pm and the game will be carried on SEC Network..
LSU now sits at 4-5 overall, 2-4 in the SEC. The Tigers have three games remaining and need two more wins to become Bowl eligible, making this next contest against Arkansas a must win situation if LSU hopes to play an extra game.
Hats off to Ed Orgeron and his coaching staff for a great game plan that pushed the Crimson Tide to the limit and for keeping their team motivated to compete at a high level, as well as a round of applause for the LSU players, who instead of throwing in the towel, continue to play hard for their coach and each other.