The team that has won three of the last four national titles was at home Saturday night as a 12-point favorite trying to jump another hurdle in their quest for a third straight national title. The team trying to knock off the champs was 7-2 and hoping to play their best game of the season. Not only would the visitors need their best game of the season to beat the champs, they would need a near-flawless effort, which they did not produce.
Alabama has proven over the course of the last several seasons that they do not beat themselves, as they are now an incredible 46-0 when they win the turnover battle. LSU was the team that committed more penalties and made more mistakes, as they finished minus 2 in turnovers.
With 12:01 left to play in the third quarter of the game, the visitors and their followers felt pretty good about their position, as they were tied with the champs at 17-17. Then, just a little over three minutes later after a timeout, the game changed.
The Tide came out of that timeout and were successful on a fake punt attempt converting on a fourth and 2. From that point on, the Big Crimson Machine lined up, revved up and beat up the Tigers defense. The Tide went on three straight scoring drives of 14 plays for 79 yards and a touchdown, 10 plays 71 yards and a touchdown, and 8 plays 78 yards and another touchdown. The Tide blew the game up to finish 38-17 and improved to a massive 68-1 under Coach Nick Saban when Alabama has a 14 point lead over an opponent.
In the second half of the game the Tide had 179 yards and 21 points 15 first downs. The Tigers racked up 52 yards, five first downs and three points.
Since the biggest game ever between the Tide and Tigers back in January of 2012, the two teams have gone in different directions. Alabama has posted a 23-1 record, won two national titles, and they are the odds-on favorite to win the title again this season.
On the flip sid,e since that very dim night in the Big Easy, the Bayou Bengals have posted a 17-6 record, lost two bowl games and right now are in fifth place in their own division and could be bowling somewhere like Nashville, Memphis or even Shreveport.
And a word about the final score, 38-17, which was a 21 point margin of victory for Alabama. 21 points was the very same margin of victory back on January 9, 2012 when the Tide won 21-0. So now, the Tide movse on with all of their season goals still intact, while the Tigers have another week off to ponder what goals they have left, if any!
So what will the final numbers be for LSU? Will it be the best possible record which would be 10-3, or the worst which would be 7-6? The answer probably lies somewhere in between. Again, I ask you... what were you expecting?
Photo credit Steve Franz / LSU Athletics