During the 2011 season, Alabama and LSU met twice. Each time, it was a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2.
LSU won the regular season matchup in Tuscaloosa in overtime, but the Crimson Tide got sweet revenge with a 21-0 shutout in the BCS National Championship. In 2012, the teams again met as top-5 foes. That one did live up to the hype.
On this day 10 years ago, Alabama found a way. A screen pass from AJ McCarron to T.J. Yeldon in the final minute was the difference as Alabama rallied past LSU, 21-17.
Alabama was a perfect 8-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country as it arrived at Tiger Stadium on Nov. 3, 2012. To that point in the season, the Crimson Tide had not played a game decided by fewer than 19 points.
At 7-1, LSU was ranked No. 5 in the country and playing a ranked opponent for the fourth straight week. The Tigers had gone 2-1 in the previous three with each decided by eight points or less.
McCarron, Yeldon Come Up Clutch
Statistically, LSU finished with 435 yards to 331 for the Crimson Tide. The only two turnovers in the game were also committed by Alabama. Despite that, Alabama dominated early.
Touchdown runs by Eddie Lacy and McCarron in the second quarter gave Alabama a 14-3 halftime lead. In the second half, the LSU defense settled in.
Four of the next five Alabama possessions resulted in a 3-and-out. The other ended in a fumble.
Jeremy Hill’s third-quarter touchdown run pulled LSU to within 14-10. Early in the fourth, Zach Mettenberger’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry gave the Tigers the lead.
With less than two minutes left, Drew Alleman’s field goal to push the lead to six was no good. Alabama began the decisive drive at its own 28-yard-line.
Quiet for most of the night, McCarron began the possession with three straight completions to Kevin Norwood covering 44 yards. After an incomplete pass, LSU decided to bring pressure.
With a blitz called, McCarron dumped a screen pass to Yeldon. The running back had open field in front of him and made a couple LSU players miss on his way to a 28-yard touchdown. With 51 seconds left, Alabama had regained the lead before holding on for victory.
Box score and recap:
Alabama was 9-0, but did lose a week later to Texas A&M and eventual Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. The Crimson Tide bounced back to win their final four games, including the SEC Championship against Georgia and BCS National Championship over Notre Dame.
LSU closed the regular season on a 3-game winning streak before falling to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Tigers finished 10-3 and No. 14 in the final AP Poll.
For Alabama, the win in Baton Rouge would be the second straight victory during what would be an 8-game winning streak over an LSU program where head coach Nick Saban once coached. It came on this day one decade ago.
Featured image courtesy of Alabama athletics
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.