NOTE: Michael McCoy of the Auburn Football Insider Podcast and Blogcritics Magazine is pinch hitting for J. Newcastle this week for the SEC Weekly Wrap Up report.
LSU Muscles Past Alabama
LSU rode a strong second half effort and some more magic from Les Miles to beat Alabama 24-21, all but ending the Crimson Tide’s chances at repeating as both SEC and national champions.
After a predictably defensive first half spent battling for field position, LSU came out in the second half with Jordan Jefferson firmly establishing himself as the Tigers’ go to quarterback with a couple of big throws to lead LSU on a two-play, 90+ yard drive, culminating in a 75-TD pass to Rueben Randle, one of LSU’s outstanding players on the day. Alabama answered immediately with an impressive drive of its own, this time riding the legs of Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram to climb back on top 14-10.
LSU cut the deficit to one point early in the fourth quarter with a Josh Jasper field goal. LSU’s defense was on top now and quickly got the ball back to the offense, who immediately drove the ball into Alabama territory, but was faced with a fourth-and-1 around the Alabama 25-yard line.
Further enhancing his reputation as a successful gambler, Les Miles dialed up a reverse that set up a first-and-goal inside the five-yard line for the Tigers. RB Stevan Ridley dove in to the end zone a few plays later to put LSU ahead for good, with a successful two-point play converted immediately after.
On Alabama’s ensuing possession, LSU’s All-SEC DT Drake Nevis blew up the Tide's offensive line to sack QB Greg McElroy and cause a fumble which the Tigers pounced on. Another Josh Jasper field goal soon followed and it seemed all but over at 24-14, but Alabama responded with a surgical drive to cut it to 24-21 with a little over three minutes to play.
After LSU got the ball back, Jordan Jefferson was knocked out of the game on a first down option play. Much maligned reserve QB Jarrett Lee stepped in and two plays later, on a critical third-and-long, delivered a long strike down the sideline to a streaking Reuben Randle, allowing LSU to just about run the clock out. Alabama got the ball back with 20+ seconds remaining, but it came to nothing.
LSU outgained Alabama 433-325 for the game, with much of that coming in the second half. Les Miles moved into a tie for first with predecessor Nick Saban for most all-time wins (four) against Alabama as LSU coach. The Tigers still need a lot of help to get to Atlanta, having to win out and hope that Auburn loses its remaining games, but a BCS Bowl Game is a very attainable target.