Photo courtesy of LSU athletics
Alabama and LSU have had some epic battles in recent years.
That includes one that took place on this day 15 years ago and ultimately decided the SEC West. Alabama was the last undefeated team in the SEC in 2005 and after a strong start, looked to continue that trend. Unfortunately for the Crimson Tide, LSU rallied to win in overtime, 16-13.
Setting the Stage
Since blowing a big lead against Tennessee, LSU had won six straight games at it arrived at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 12, 2005. The fifth-ranked Tigers were looking for their fourth win over a ranked team.
Alabama, on the other hand, was undefeated at 9-0 and ranked No. 4 in the country. The Crimson Tide were looking for their first home win over LSU in six years. For a while, it looked like they might get it.
Throughout the day, the contest featured just two touchdowns. Alabama led 10-0 at the half, thanks to a field goal and a Brodie Croyle touchdown pass to DJ Hall.
LSU took its opening drive of the second half 80 yards in nine plays. Justin Vincent scored from a yard out to get the Tigers on the board. Less than four minutes later, Chris Jackson’s 42-yard field goal drew LSU even at 10.
Jackson had two chances to put LSU ahead in the fourth quarter, but missed on field goal tries from 47 and then 49 yards with less than a minute to play. Alabama nearly went the entire fourth quarter without picking up a first down, but made its way to midfield with just two seconds remaining. Croyle didn’t throw it into the end zone, but dumped it off to Glen Coffee who was finally brought down inside the 10-yard-line as time expired.
Alabama got the ball first in overtime, but it started with a 5-yard penalty. Facing 3rd-and-2 from the 17-yard-line, Croyle was flushed to his right and unable to hit a diving Kenneth Darby. Jamie Christensen’s second field goal of the day put Alabama back in front.
LSU’s overtime drive started with a 10-yard completion from Jamarcus Russell to Vincent, but three plays later, the Tigers faced 3rd-and-7 from the 12-yard-line. Alabama had a chance to get LSU off the field, but it was not to be.
After buying time in the pocket, Russell fired a strike across the middle. Waiting for it was Dwayne Bowe, who hauled it in for the game-winning 12-yard touchdown. Prior to that, LSU had never led.
Bowe finished with a game-high 98 yards receiving. Darby led Alabama and all rushers with 104 yards on the ground.
The contest in Tuscaloosa would ultimately give LSU the inside track to the SEC Championship. Under first-year head coach Les Miles, the Tigers beat both Ole Miss and Arkansas to reach Atlanta. They would fall to Georgia for the conference crown.
For Alabama, the defeat would be somewhat of a damper on an otherwise solid year. The Crimson Tide lost to Auburn the following week before closing the year with a 13-10 victory over Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl.
LSU would blast Miami in the Peach Bowl as both the Tigers and Crimson Tide finished in the top 10. Over the years, four of the meetings between Alabama and LSU have gone into overtime. The first of those came on this day 15 years ago.