Unbelievable. That’s about the only word I can use to describe the Alabama Crimson Tide’s 21-17 come from behind victory over LSU on Saturday night in Baton Rouge.
After taking a 14-3 lead into the locker room, Alabama was thoroughly outplayed in the second half. Zach Mettenberger carved up the Alabama secondary to the tune of 298 passing yards, and LSU controlled the game for the majority of the final thirty-minutes. Alabama could not do anything offensively in the second half.
When it looked like Alabama finally caught a break, an onside-kick gone array by the Tigers, the Tide fumbled deep in LSU territory and let the momentum swing back to LSU’s favor.
With seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, LSU went on a drive to try and ice the game leading by three points. It was an 11-play 54-yard drive where Mettenberger converted two back-breaking third downs. Alabama’s defense finally rose to the occasion and made a stop to force a Drew Alleman field goal attempt. From 45-yards, Alleman missed wide left.
Now with 1:34 on the game clock Alabama had time to at least move the ball down the field and get a FG attempt to tie the game. But, with the way Alabama’s offense had played in the second half, it didn’t look likely that it would happen. But then something changed. After an awful performance up to that point, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron came to life with the game on the line.
He hit three straight passes to Kevin Norwood to set Alabama up at the LSU 28. After an incomplete pass in the endzone, Alabama came up with the perfect play call. LSU blitzed, and McCarron dumped off a screen to freshman T.J. Yeldon, who went 28-yards to the endzone to put Alabama up 21-17 with under a minute to go.
LSU’s last gasp wasn’t enough as Damion Square sacked Zach Mettenberger to end the game and give Alabama an improbable victory.
Make no mistake, LSU outplayed Alabama. The final numbers tell-all with the Tigers racking up 435 yards to Alabama’s 331. But, Alabama came up with the plays when it mattered most and junior quarterback AJ McCarron came up calm in the clutch to lead Alabama to the win, and to keep the Tide’s National Championship hopes alive.
Championship teams have to find ways to win on the toughest of days, and that is exactly what Alabama did tonight. They fought through all the adversity of the hostile road crowd at Death Valley, and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.