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The Fifth Quarter: Alabama-LSU Rewind

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron celebrates after his team defeated the LSU Tigers during their NCAA football game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana AP

Yes, this game was so big it gets its own Rewind.  Your regularly-scheduled “The Fifth Quarter: Week 10 Rewind” will appear, in its entirety, later on in the day Sunday.

Ben did a helluva job with the post-game recap of one of the more entertaining football games you’ll see at any level, a 21-17 win for the top-ranked team in the nation.  Below is a little bit of the minutia and talking points that may or may not litter sports radio shows and water cooler conversations throughout the weekend and into the start of a new work week.

THE TURNING POINT
The first five drives of the second half, LSU’s relentlessly stifling defense had held Alabama’s offense in check, limiting the No. 1 Tide to 49 yards of total offense.  In those five series, the No. 5 Tigers forced four three-and-outs and one fumble.

And then came the sixth drive.

After a missed 38-yard field goal attempt gave the Tide the ball at their own 28-yard line with 1:34 left in the game, LSU, which had been in full-blown attack mode on defense throughout, went into full-blown soft-zone mode.  It turned out to be the worst of several questionable decisions made by Les Miles and his coaching staff throughout the game.

In three plays after taking possession, and in less than 40 seconds, the Tide gained nearly as many yards (44) as they had in the entire second half previously, moving from their own 28 to the same yard line on LSU’s side of the field.  Following an incompletion on the fourth play of what would prove to be the game-winning drive, LSU again donned their blitzing caps… and the Tide made the Tigers pay dearly, dialing up a perfectly-executed screen pass from AJ McCarron to T.J. Yeldon that saved both the game and the Tide’s title aspirations.

It’s hard to blame LSU for trying to prevent the one big play that would cost them the game.  It’s not hard to blame LSU, though, for a decision that allowed a trio of mini-big plays, ultimately leading to the big play.

THUMBS UP

Back-to-back still intact
Suffice to say, the biggest winner of the night was Alabama’s title hopes.  If last week was the Tide’s first real test of the 2012 season, tonight was their first real test of the year.  And, while they didn’t pass with the flying colors of a week ago, they passed.  At this stage of the season, that’s all that matters — for the most part.  While the Tide had walked, talked, smelled and played like an unstoppable force through eight games — so  much so, in fact, that the laughable notion of UA being able to beat an NFL team was actually taking hold — they were anything but that for a sizable chunk of the first 58 minutes.  As odd as it sounds, though, that might’ve been the second most important development of the night as it gives Nick Saban‘s coaching arsenal yet another pointed teaching tool to use on what is still, despite all of the wins and lofty rankings, a very young football team.  Complacency will likely be the Tide’s biggest enemy for the remainder of the regular season; the LSU game tape would serve as the ultimate trump card, as evidenced by Saban’s quotes following the game.

“Our players have to be aware that they can take this one way or the other,” the coach said of the hard-fought win. “This one is either going to affect them in a positive way or a negative way with what they do in the future. They can focus on the things they didn’t do and take the next challenge and continue to improve and be ready to play next week and prepare and practice next week or they can say, ‘We’re satisfied for ourselves with what we did.'”

AJ’s Heisman hopes
AJ McCarron, because of Alabama’s style of play, will simply not put up the type of numbers that other Heisman contenders do on a weekly basis, and that was never more evident than this latest Saturday night in Death Valley.  That final drive, however, was the stuff of which legends are made.  And the stuff that attracts the attention of Heisman voters regardless of the stat line for the first 58 minutes.  The raw, from-the-heart emotion McCarron displayed as the final seconds ticked off the clock and then boiled over as he met his parents beyond the end zone after the game were as epic, in a good way, as his engineering of the final drive.  I don’t know if the junior deserves to win the Heisman, but he certainly belongs in the discussion.

The SEC
If you don’t think the SEC was privately and/or publicly rooting for an Alabama win, you might consider removing your head from the sand as it’s awfully hot and hard to breathe down there.  For the conference in general and the Tide specifically, the stakes couldn’t have been higher.  An Alabama loss would’ve left the SEC with no unbeaten teams.  When combined with three other highly-ranked teams still unbeaten — four if you want to consider Louisville as part of the mix — the SEC’s streak of six straight BcS titles would’ve been in serious jeopardy, with the conference in the uncharted territory of relying on outside help for a ticket to the title game.  Fortunately for the SEC, the Tide’s win left the conference with the inside track for one of the two spots in the BcS championship game.  Just as fortunate?  There were no controversial calls that favored Alabama and played a role in the outcome of the game…

Death Valley didn’t disappoint
Forget the fact that LSU lost just its second home game under the lights (Florida, 2009) under Les Miles.  The atmosphere at Tiger Stadium, even from my vantage point a little over 1,000 miles, is simply electric and by all accounts deafening, which makes the Tide’s triumph all the more impressive.  If you were to make a list of the greatest venues for any sport in the country, it wouldn’t take long to call roll before you got to Death Valley.  It’s a credit to the university, the football program and, most importantly, the fan base that such a spectacle exists.  Yes, the loss was certainly disappointing to those that live and die with the Bayou Bengals, but they can take heart in the knowledge that they are a big part of what makes the sport of college football so great.  And, yes, a trip to Death Valley is on my sports bucket list.  Gotta get there at some point for a night game…

Democrats
Regardless of what the polls may or may not say, the Democratic Party has to be feeling pretty good heading into Tuesday based solely on the results of a football game.  Why?  According to research conducted by FanSided.com, the winner of the Alabama-LSU has accurately predicted the results of all seven presidential elections held since 1984.  In years that Alabama won, a Democrat won the election.  In years LSU won, a Republican was sent to the White House. So, with the Tide’s win, is it hello second term for the sitting president?  Your mileage may vary greatly as to whether an eighth-consecutive accurate prediction would be a positive or negative development.

THUMBS DOWN

The Mad Hatter
Take your pick on the daffiest of the daftness of the Mad Hatter in this game.  Was it the failed fake field goal that everybody — including the Tide’s defense and my grandmother, who’s been six feet under for two decades — saw coming?  The failed onside kick, which admittedly would’ve been idiot savant-level genius were it not for a quirky bounce that resulted in an illegal touching penalty on the kicker?  The failed 54-yard field goal attempt that gave the Tide prime field position with just over a minute left in the second quarter, and which the Tide turned into a touchdown and a 14-3 lead heading into the half?  A failed fourth-and-one from the Alabama 24, one in which LSU utilized its version of the gimmicky Wildcat offense after it had been very successful running the football with the standard power game?  Individually, these plays didn’t cost LSU the game.  Collectively, they were part of the subtle flow of the game that set the table for the game-winning drive.

Oh, Copeland…
Midway through the second quarter, a fumbled punt on the part of the Tide was recovered by the Tigers at UA’s 32-yard line.  On the ensuing play, a 19-yard run by Jeremy Hill moved the Tigers down to the 13-yard line… and a post-play personal foul on J.C. Copeland moved the ball back to the 28.  While it was still first and 10 following the penalty, all the momentum gained from the previous two plays was lost as the Tigers gained just one yard the next three, leading to the failed fake field goal.  The penalty almost certainly cost the Tigers at least a field goal, if not a touchdown.  In what was a four-point loss, and even as it occurred in the first half, Copeland’s momentary lapse of reason was a significant moment in the game.

Who are you and what’d you do with the Tide’s defense?
Through the first eight games of the season, Alabama led the country by stingily giving up just a little over 57 yards per game on the ground; LSU churned out 80 rushing yards… in the first quarter alone.  For the game, the Tigers rushed for 139 yards; previously, the most the Tide had given up in a single game this season was 80 to Ole Miss in Week 5.  Add that to some very suspect play in the passing game, and we’re guessing Nick Saban will spend an inordinate amount of time tightening things up on that side of the ball as the Tide preps for the high-octane Texas A&M Aggies’ trip to Tuscaloosa this Saturday.

McCarron’s Heisman hopes
As great as the final drive was, the first 58:26 was as choppy of a game McCarron has played in his one-plus seasons as the Tide’s starting quarterback.  On that final drive, McCarron was 4-5 for 72 yards and a touchdown; prior to that, he was 10-22 for 93 yards and one rushing touchdown.  On what will be his second-biggest stage before votes are cast — the SEC championship being the biggest, provided the Tide can navigate games against A&M and Auburn — the question will become what voters give the most weight to when it comes to McCarron’s stiff-armed candidacy: the first 58, or final two.

QUOTABLE

“I’ve never been prouder of a bunch of guys to overcome adversity. … It’s something I’ll never forget.” — Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

“It was a very hard game. We needed a hard game.” — Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.

“You’ll remember this one forever.  It hurts worse than the [loss to Alabama] in the national championship game.” — LSU defensive tackle Bennie Logan.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

– From the UA Sports Information Department: AJ McCarron continues to build his school record of passes without an interception. McCarron ends the LSU game with an active streak of 289 passing attempts without an interception.

– Speaking of McCarron, the junior is one touchdown pass away from tying and two away from breaking Greg McElroy‘s single-season mark of 20 set in 2010.  He’s also 10 touchdown passes away from breaking John Parker Wilson‘s career mark of 47.

– Despite the loss, quarterback Zach Mettenberger came of age for the Tigers.  In unquestionably his finest performance in his first season as a starter, Mettenberger completed 24-of-35 passes for 298 yards, one touchdown and, most impressively considering the opposition’s defense, no interceptions.

– Until late in the third quarter, LSU had gone 169:38 without scoring a touchdown against Alabama, a span that stretched back to 8:13 left in the fourth quarter of the Nov. 6, 2010, win over the Tide and which covered two-plus games.  Then, in a span of 5:37, the Tigers exploded for a pair of touchdowns.

– The 435 yards of total offense by the Tigers was the most surrendered by a Tide defense since a loss to the same team in November of 2007, Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa.

– The attendance of 93,374 is a new Tiger Stadium record.

– Alabama leads the all-time series with LSU, 47-25-5.

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40 Responses to “The Fifth Quarter: Alabama-LSU Rewind”
  1. rsmeans says: Nov 4, 2012 5:54 AM

    Great article. Very realistic and insightful.

  2. liverpoolred04 says: Nov 4, 2012 6:50 AM

    Yeah not everyone can hit wide open receivers like AJ…. Who else thought that Yeldon just earned a new vehicle for his folks? R.E.D. RTR

  3. southernpatriots says: Nov 4, 2012 6:57 AM

    Thanks for recognizing the great contribution of LSU fans at Tiger Stadium. The school definitely puts much into each game there, especially at night, but it is the fans that make the venue the best in college football.

    The players for LSU attribute the loss to several things you mentioned, but also the blown assignment on the Alabama final TD score, where the LSU player was not where he was supposed to be to even make a play or slow the run. The defense did a great job, and showed, despite great loses due to injury of valued starting players and the well publicized expulsion of one, that they were equal to, and in this game, perhaps even better than the vaunted Tide defense. One thing to be said, you cannot blow 4 calls as Miles did, you cannot get “high school type” penalties which stopped LSU from scoring, and 3 dropped passes in the hands of receivers…you just can’t do all those things together and win against Alabama. You have to play a great game (which Mettenberger did!) and that includes the coach and the players avoiding pitiful drive stopping penalties.

    Congratulations to Alabama. They won. LSU lost. Both things are clearly true in just about every aspect.

  4. raider2124 says: Nov 4, 2012 7:56 AM

    A big F-U to inject the presidential race into lsu-bama game. I would expect nothing less from a third rate news channel.

  5. WingT says: Nov 4, 2012 8:12 AM

    Great recap John – nicely done.

    Two great teams fighting for 60 minutes – they both left everything on the field.

    LSU fans are by far, the best in the country. That stadium was rocking all night. When those fans get rockin LSU starts rolling and become hard to stop.

    Mettenberger is scary good. This game should solidify his confidence going forward. With that running game and his arm, they are a force.

    roll tide

  6. normtide says: Nov 4, 2012 8:18 AM

    Not my place to judge miles’ 4 chances, that’s up to the LSU fans. I will say, when everything your team does works, that’s execution of a great game plan. People say Saban and Miles are opposites, the hat is a players coach and Saban is an x and o guy. That’s so wrong. Saban’s players love him, and Miles has more then proven his worth at schematics. The game was just like last years regular season game, maybe not to outsiders, but it is to the two fan bases. This is the best rivalry, talent wise, in the country. Two titans clashed, and the ground shook. No one has mentioned the two young rb’s, but Yeldon and Hill are BEASTS. Bama needed a game like this, going forward, if we are going to try to complete this run. My hat goes off to Miles, the LSU team and fans. Also very proud of my boys, no shame in getting knocked down, the measure is if you get back up. Bama did.

  7. infrno says: Nov 4, 2012 8:25 AM

    I realize that now people will be criticizing Miles for doing too much but I will say that there were only 2 “bad” calls – the fake and going for the 54 yarder, and the latter can still be justified. The guy had a brilliant game plan and damned near pulled off what NO ONE thought would happen. It’s kinda sad that we have a BCS winning coach that is 3-3 against the Great Saban and nothing he does satisfies some folks. Last year it was that he didn’t do enough, now it will be that he tried too much.

    The onside kick was not a bad call and as pointed out, would have worked if not for an odd bounce about 6 inches too early. Going for it on 4th wasn’t a bad call either, though I’d have rather seen him just line up and do it. People don’t realize that one of the reasons Les is willing to take chances is because of our defense. This game was lost because our defense bit it and went soft.

    This one is on Chavis, not Les.

  8. infrno says: Nov 4, 2012 8:33 AM

    And BTW, Alabama deserved it. They didn’t give up, we did. I met several Bama fans at the game and even the obnoxious ones were pretty damned cool.

    Funniest one was a slightly intoxicated, very loud “Roll Damn Tide”-er that, while sitting in the stadium in the middle of another hoarse “Roooooollllll Tiiiiddddeeee” changed to “Geauuuuuuxxxx Tigerrrrrs” because a really hot chick in a tiger costume – complete with whiskers and a tail – came strolling down the steps.

    He looked over and grinned and said “hell, it’s just a game, but that was a WOMAN”

    Great night, great game, and after everything that LSU has been through this year with injuries, suspensions, and having a QB that is in his first year in Div 1 football, I like where there team is headed. There were a lot of freshmen on that field last night.

  9. florida727 says: Nov 4, 2012 8:37 AM

    Condolences to my “southernpatriots” friends, and congratulations to all Alabama supporters. What an amazing game and atmosphere. The SEC haters will still hate, but there’s no denying this was an exceptional college football game. My plans for continually hitting the “Last” button on the remote (still want to meet the genius who invented that) to also watch Kansas State went up in smoke early.

    As much as I respect Les Miles and all he’s accomplished for LSU football, this loss gets pinned squarely on his shoulders, which I’m sure he’s aware of and capable of handling.

    As the announcers pointed out during replays, the fake field goal was doomed from the beginning with the three linebackers/safeties perfectly positioned regardless of which direction the play was run. To not audible out of it and either attempt the kick or call timeout and trot your offense back out onto the field is inexcusable.

    The wildcat play was also doomed from the start as well. You could through a blanket over 9 of the Alabama defenders just prior to the snap. Why in the heck was Spencer Ware UNDER CENTER? At least in the shotgun he has options to the outside. Under center, he has a 2-gap area of options. Actually one option considering where Copeland lined up. Put Copeland at the traditional fullback spot with a traditional tailback (if you’re going to leave Ware under center), and at least you give yourself read OPTIONS. The slightly muffed snap didn’t help, but his lack of options hurt even more.

    The failed 54-yard field goal before halftime? Wasn’t LSU’s kicker’s longest CAREER make from 44 yards? PUNT! Pin Alabama inside their own 20 and they accept their fate, run out the clock and the potential damage is eliminated. That’s a no-brainer call. Then again… apparently not.

    The onside kick was just flat out a bad break. But considering how the defense was playing and the momentum gained from having just scored, was it worth the risk? Hindsight is always 20/20, but this one seemed pretty obvious as well.

    LSU deserved a better outcome. Their fans deserved a better outcome, and their players certainly deserved a better outcome. They outplayed Alabama. Sorry, Les, this one’s on you. Sometimes reputation and ego are a dangerous combination. You’ll be hard-pressed to justify these moves in your biggest game of the year.

  10. infrno says: Nov 4, 2012 8:39 AM

    I guess Sean Payton is an idiot savant.

  11. infrno says: Nov 4, 2012 8:43 AM

    @florida727 – I understand what you’re saying, but I disagree. This one is on Chavis. Regardless of whether you liked the play calling, we were ahead with under 2 minutes and Chavis went into prevent mode. And the only thing a prevent defense does is prevent you from winning.

  12. omniusprime says: Nov 4, 2012 8:44 AM

    John Taylor must have watched Chuck Todd of MSNBC explain Alabama/LSU presidential race predictor since 1984. I think it’s hilariously ironic that Alabama wins against LSU herald a Democratic Party presidential victory considering that Alabama’s mascot is an elephant, same as the GOP and their uniforms are red to symbolize they are in the heart of all those decrepit southern red welfare states.

    To raider2124 – whine on little crybaby, Obama supporters are going to send R’money back to the unemployment line Tuesday!

  13. polegojim says: Nov 4, 2012 9:06 AM

    While I don’t place the entire loss on Les’ shoulders as ‘you would Florida727’…. I’m not forgiving as you ‘infrno’.

    I agree that the D strategy on that last drive was really bad… esp when they shut them down ALL HALF to that point.

    But – Les getting ‘gimmicky’ in a game against Bama… not so smart… and unnecessary.

    Lastly – in this type of a game… take ALL the points you can get in the 1st half… PERIOD.

  14. kansas525 says: Nov 4, 2012 9:20 AM

    After watching the game, and several other SEC games this year, my summary is, this year, the SEC is highly overrated. I have not seen one game where there were not ineffective offenses (extremely low percentages on 3rd downs, missed open receivers, etc), turnovers at critical points, good defenses suddenly disappering, and close wins to bad teams. There “signature” win out of conference this year was Alabama over Michigan. Guess what, Michigan has proven it is not as good as pre-season hype, so not such a good win after all. Yet, they have several top ten teams, simply because of reputation. Alabama just barely beat LSU, which hadn’t scored a touchdown in 2 games, and the Tide’s “defense” gave up several hundred yards of offense to this ineptitude. Florida wins by 1 touchdown over a Missouri team that has done nothing this year. A&M beats Mississippi State by about the same score as Alabama and everybody knows A&M doesn’t have a defense.
    Somebody please give me some evidence of the SEC being the best conference in the nation this year. And, high rankings in the polls is not evidence of greatness, it is only evidence of prejudice of the voters.

  15. gorilladunk says: Nov 4, 2012 9:21 AM

    Was jumping back and forth with the remote between Oregon-USC and this game. Two completely different types of games and BOTH were entertaining as Hell!!
    Best statement of the night………Verne Lundquist during the pre-game remembering the late Beano Cook’s famous line, “Dracula and LSU football are both better at night”.
    Man, Woman and Child..what a GREAT 5 hours of football. (Especially if you have no real rooting interest!)

  16. parkerfly says: Nov 4, 2012 9:30 AM

    Welcome LSU fans to the world that drove TN fans crazy for years. Defense has been working fine all game, but Chavis goes into prevent at the end and everyone watches them dink and dunk all the way down the field to the endzone.

  17. normtide says: Nov 4, 2012 9:35 AM

    So your saying the voters in Kansas, California, Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, and all across the west and mid-west are prejudice FOR the south? That is a ridiculous statement. Claiming these areas are prejudice for the SEC even more so.

  18. florida727 says: Nov 4, 2012 9:44 AM

    “infrno” and “polegojim”, I don’t disagree with you at all. Same as you “infrno”, I’ve said for years that the only thing a “prevent defense” does is prevent you from WINNING. They most definitely needed to continue doing what they were doing. The pressure was working, obviously. I could never understand the logic behind giving up a lot of yards and then, magically, expecting your defense, which has just backpedaled an entire series, to suddenly put the brakes on and stop an offense with momentum. I’m not a coach (nor have I ever played one on TV :) ), but I’ve never heard a coach explain the logic of a prevent defense either. Also, keep in mind, giving up even a field goal that late in the game would leave the outcome up to the whims of an overtime. And those are always the proverbial “crap shoot”. Are you playing to win, or are you playing NOT TO LOSE? It’s pretty obvious which one Chavis was doing, but again not to point fingers necessarily, why doesn’t Les tell Chavis to ratchet up the pressure before it’s too late? Who’s ultimately in control in those situations?

  19. florida727 says: Nov 4, 2012 9:51 AM

    “gorilladunk”, great catch on the Verne Lundquist quote. I used to work with Verne on PGA Tour telecasts for CBS Sports, and I’ll tell you one thing, that man is simply one of the best to ever sit in a broadcast booth. And besides how gifted he is at his job, he’s an even nicer person, in person. You could be the lowest level grunt (like I was), and he’d make you feel as though you were crucial to the success of the broadcast. He is, and always will be, one of my favorites on TV. Once I got into sports broadcasting, I interviewed him. As nervous as I obviously was, he just ran with the interview, taking a mindless question and running with it, knowing his words were more powerful than mine because HE was the subject being questioned instead of the other way around. He’s the ultimate broadcast professional.

  20. gorilladunk says: Nov 4, 2012 9:59 AM

    @florida727…You are so RIGHT about Lundquist. I grew up in the D/FW area when he was the sports director at our ABC affiliate. He was also, for many years, the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys. I once told him that when he left the Cowboys radio broadcasts in about 1982 or so, they fell apart, and I blamed him solely for the decline. He laughed heartily. What a great guy he is and I can’t imagine watching SEC games and not hearing his voice. Danielson, on the other hand……..

  21. polegojim says: Nov 4, 2012 10:23 AM

    @Fl727 and gorilladunk… loved Vern in Dallas. Local sportcaster and announcer.

    @Florida727 – completely agree with D failure.

    ‘Prevent D’ – supposedly… intended to ‘prevent’ the BIG ‘passing play’, keeping them in front of you when the field is long, and clamping down as it shortens… But, LSU played it ‘too softly’ giving up huge chunks.

    Prevent D is woefully ineffective against a running team, since it spreads out the D and provides huge holes in secondary…. just like we saw last night with Alabama.

    When you’ve shut a team down for 30 mins… why would you suddenly change??? Makes no sense to me.

  22. infrno says: Nov 4, 2012 10:35 AM

    Look I agree that the gimmick plays weren’t necessary, but after all the crap here since the BCS game I completely understand why they were in there. He was criticized for being to vanilla and predictable, now he’s criticized for doing too much. In the end, though, the offensive game plan worked extremely well against the best defense in the country and the only ones that thought Alabama was going to win when they got the ball back with less than 2 minutes were the players and coaches from Alabama.

    I love Chavis, but again, this one is on him.

  23. dcroz says: Nov 4, 2012 11:26 AM

    Lundquist may have been one of the best commentators in the game earlier in his career, but he’s clearly outstayed his best days. He made so many mistakes last night that it was excrutiating. Saying that Saban coached four years at LSU (he actually coached five), calling the fake field goal a fake punt, and that Oregon won by one point (they won by eleven) are just the ones that I can think of off the top of my head some twelve hours after the game ended. He routinely gets the yardline spot wrong by five or even ten yards, calls players by the wrong name, and makes numerous other errors during the course of a typical game. He has one of the great voices in the business and has a wonderful passion for the game, but he has become a parody of himself. He needs to get out before he gets laughed out.

  24. Deb says: Nov 4, 2012 12:25 PM

    Great article, John!

    LSU played an incredible game, just incredible. And no one watching that game could question how that venue got its nickname. That is one of the most intense home crowds–if not the most intense–in sports. The Tigers’ second-half performance was outstanding.

    AJ had me in knots through much of the game, only to turn around and channel his inner Captain Comeback. I’ll never forget the sounds of that final drive. My hands were over my eyes.

    Yes, have to agree with your thumbs-down regarding Who are these people and what have they done with my defense? That was the question screaming in my head throughout the game. This season isn’t over by a long shot. After a win like that, they could easily heave a big sigh of relief … and fall to the Aggies. Can only hope Saban will drive that message home all week.

    Much respect to the Tigers.

    Roll Tide!

  25. bamasleeper13 says: Nov 4, 2012 2:12 PM

    I agree with Deb, I worry about next week! All props to LSU , they came to play and Death Valley at night is a scary, scary place, especially if you are wearing Red! My Tide pulled it out of the fire but not without giving me a heart attack! Great, Great rivalry! Roll Tide!

  26. jdillydawg says: Nov 4, 2012 2:37 PM

    I watched Pitt start to play conservatively and basically give the game to Notre Dame. Then I watch the LSU-Bama game and I see LSU doing the same thing. They gave them the last drive – so much room between receivers and defenders my grandma could have driven her cadillac around the field and never hit a soul. Why did they think changing the defense was a good idea when it worked five times previously?

    Oh, they had a lead to protect. Good lord…

  27. irishdodger says: Nov 4, 2012 6:14 PM

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about Verne Lundquist as a person, but I’m afraid he’s past his prime. I don’t know what it is about Danielson, but I do know the SEC could do better. If the SEC is the best conference, I’d hope that they strive to put the best talent in the booth for their premier games.

  28. txnative61 says: Nov 5, 2012 1:12 AM

    With all the blame loaded on Miles and Chavis, I’d like to point out that all of the gimmicks and the prevent defense COULD have worked against many teams. Bama coaches and players sniffed out the fake and controlled it, but many teams would not. To march on a prevent requires near perfect execution or it works as designed, and to have a perfect scoring play designed for when the prevent was abandon was masterful! Bama is very well coached, and the players alert enough to notice subtle nuances most college teams miss. Blame rests squarely with Saban and company for seizing the victory.

  29. alligatorsnapper says: Nov 5, 2012 6:30 AM

    In post-game interviews McCarron said all season they had been practicing a 2 minute drill against prevent defenses to show them the short passes and advances they could make. They were able to shorten the time to score a TD from 2 minutes to 1 minute in practices during the previous week (McCarron said).

    The defensive linemen interviewed spoke about the “special” plays, such as fake field goals and they also had practiced the defenses against them all season.

    Chavis’ defense worked for the previous 5 possessions of Alabama. Why would he then change the defense that had brought such success and substitute a prevent defense which did not work well for him at TN and obviously did not work well in that game. Chavis knew they were not playing against a lesser opponent. Chavis knew this opponent had embarrassed LSU in January, Chavis knew this was the season, Chavis knew Alabama was well coached, Chavis knew what he had been doing was working very well, but he tried the same type of prevent that he had done at TN numerous times to watch their opponent march down the field for a score.

    No doubt Saban and staff, McCarron and team seized the victory. The victory was given to them by the change of defense that at least one player did not fully understand because he was completely out of position and hugely blew his assignment (as revealed by Sam Montgomery and LSU’s defensive tackle). Sticking with the defense that had worked the previous 5 possession of Alabama would have probably have given LSU the victory. Looking at a video of the game, as I did, after watching it live, indicated that to me.

    When the coaching staff review the video I would hope they will learn something as well. Great coaches but huge mistakes made in the game, all adding up to a loss. I guarantee Miles, Chavis, and all went to the team and told them in post-game meetings in some kind of words an apology for not coaching well enough and not making the best decisions and costing them the game. I will hear confirmation of this later today, I greatly suspect. If this happened, it will indicate the team will rebound and will be ready for games coming up and maybe get to a BCS bowl somewhere (Capital One, etc.)

  30. tide4life says: Nov 5, 2012 8:31 AM

    That was a helluva game- even watching the Tide out-played for most of the game. Glad the Tide I was expecting showed up in the last 1.5 minutes.
    But, Lordy mercy, Zach Mettenberger had the game of his life. Looks like he might’ve found the groove and settled into it with a vengeance. LSU played for keeps as a whole, and Hill proved himself, but Mettenberger . . . jeez. Kid will be scary if he can stay in that groove.

  31. tigersgeaux says: Nov 5, 2012 8:40 AM

    tide4life:

    That was a playbook march for TD against a loose “prevent” defense, just as Saban had it planned and practiced. Good job for AJ.

    Thank you for the kindness toward Mettenberger. He has been skewered all season so far…”not a QB,” “overhyped,” “no talent,” “washed up,” “will never be a good QB…” etc. I was able to see him in practice and it was great but in game situations it seemed he and the receivers were on different pages. As he said after the game, “It is a good thing when all players do what they are supposed to do.” ha. so true.

    Just want our coaches to rethink some things and make some changes on their coaching. Chavis probably needs to come down from the booth to the side lines. He is in the booth to see the field better, but somehow he missed the play after play after play from AJ to the his receiver for 10 -15 yards along the sideline with the defender 10 yards away.

  32. foreverlsu says: Nov 5, 2012 10:10 AM

    Classy comments from Deb, normtide, and other classy Alabama fans on this board make this easier for me to read. That was tough walking out of that stadium after seeing LSU play so hard and I was damned proud of the team and atmosphere in Tiger Stadium.

    I wasn’t for some of the decisions Miles made either but I look at the whole picture and can’t get too down on him; he is ultimately responsible for a gameplan that led to 85 offensive snaps against the best D in college football. The onsides kick was executed perfectly, the bal just took a bad hop at the end but LSU definitely caught Alabama leaning back on that one and Miles would have been hailed as the Mad Hatter had it gone one more foot.

    Have to laugh at Tennessee fans ripping John Chavis for the last drive of the game. Bet you wish you had Chavis back now based on what I’ve seen from your D over the past few years. LSU was NOT in a prevent mode because LSU had 2 safeties deep and coverage at the line of scrimmage; a linebacker should have covered Yeldon on the touchdown and Les Miles was not about to publicly throw him under the bus after the game.

    I have to give Alabama credit for great playcalling at the end of the game. Great teams find a way to win and sometimes you have to tip your hat to the other team. It was a great night in Tiger Stadium and congrats to Alabama. Good luck the rest of the way and thanks again for the nice comments.

  33. foreverlsu says: Nov 5, 2012 10:18 AM

    Hard to call it a prevent defense when LSU blitzed on the touchdown. I’ve heard all the UT fans bitch about “Third and Chavis” but who is UT’s defensive coordinator? Exactly!!!

    Oh, and by the way, Alabama was 1 of 10 on third down conversions, so …so much for that logic.

  34. foreverlsu says: Nov 5, 2012 10:22 AM

    raider2124 says:Nov 4, 2012 7:56 AM

    A big F-U to inject the presidential race into lsu-bama game. I would expect nothing less from a third rate news channel.
    ————————-
    Relax Raider. It was just an interesting stat that I had heard earlier in the week as well. The same can be said for how the Redskins fare also. I’m not a big MSNBC fan either but that’s a little rough.

  35. tigersgeaux says: Nov 5, 2012 10:51 AM

    foreverlsu:

    Not a pure or classical “prevent defense.” Chavis put a change in it (or two) but even Bennie Logan called it a “prevent defense” so I would guess that is what the LSU defense knew it to be.

    The players were really down on themselves after the game…what could’ve, should’ve, etc. because they knew LSU let that game get away from them in the final 2 minutes.

    I hope the coaches (Miles and Chavis especially) went into the locker room after the game and in some way indicated that they let the team down by making some calls that were not the best. Mettenberger, Mingo, Minter, Montgomery, Reid, Logan, etc. all played their hearts out. All in all, it was probably the best played game all season for the players (except for the juvenile penalties). Nowhere else to place the responsibility except some play calling by Miles and Strudwa and a the final change of defense by Chavis to allow the repetitive sideline passes with no defensive back within 10 yards.

  36. normtide says: Nov 5, 2012 10:59 AM

    For LSU fans this game was like the regular season game last year, for Bama fans. Honestly, laying blame inside the locker room would be a huge mistake. You win and you lose as one. Miles and Chavis put a plan in that was awesome. At the same time, Bama was out played but found ways to keep it close. LSU was down at half, and the coaches made adjustments to come back and take the lead. If your team had played tight man, and a Bama receiver broke open for a td, you would have wanted looser coverage. Its a chess game.

  37. Deb says: Nov 5, 2012 12:39 PM

    @foreverlsu …

    You should be proud, and LSU players certainly don’t have any reason to blame themselves. They played an incredible game. I posted after their first loss that I thought Mettenberger had a lot of potential, and he really demonstrated that. Except for that one blown assignment at the end, they played a tremendous game. And you can attribute the blown assignment to the change in defensive strategy.

    As an aside, everyone has been jumping on Miles for that fake FG. Last night my Steelers did exactly the same thing against the Giants–only the Steelers seldom do anything like that. And Pittsburgh’s attempt to gain the first down failed, too. It was a weird deja vu moment that had me convinced we’d lose the game. But it worked out better for the Steelers. It wasn’t a stupid call. Unfortunately, Bama was prepared for it. But if it had worked, everyone would have been praising Les’s genius.

  38. greggatx says: Nov 5, 2012 3:00 PM

    The tide is looking flat. They won’t make the championship game. It will be K-State and Oregon.

  39. foreverlsu says: Nov 5, 2012 3:59 PM

    I saw that yesterday and had a de ja vu moment as well.

    I did not understand the fake at all when LSU was facing 4th and 12 but I will say that I don’t think it was pre-planned by Miles. After the play, Miles walked up to an assistant coach and was clearly not happy. I believe the players have the option to run a fake if they see something favorable. If that’s the case, I have no idea what it was and it should not have gone off. Ultimately, Les is responsible and he manned up after the game.

    Having said that, I can’t get on him too much. He had his team well prepared to play a great opponent and made fantastic adjustments at the half when it looked dismal. He gets heavily criticized but if LSU’s last drive was 1 minute longer, we’d be talking about how he did this with 4 backup OL and a QB making his ninth start.

    Alabama made critical plays at the end and took it from LSU and deserved the win. It was a classic in my book.

  40. alatide says: Nov 8, 2012 4:03 PM

    alatide

    Great game LSU! Dito Ala! A classic. As I watched the game, I thought an Ala win was just not meant to be last Sat night. Attempts to give reasons why LSU lost & Bama won are all over the place, but in the end some wins or losses are a combination of things, not one or two persons fault. But we all want to play the blame game. Ala could say we would have an even better team and win all our games by more than an average of 25 points, if only we had not lost two or three of our best offensive players (running back Fowler and a premier wide receiver out for the entire 2012 season with injuries). “If onlys” don’t win football games. But they can cause us to work harder to finish better next time. …can’t wait till 2013 LSU/ALA.

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