Home > Uncategorized > Running Blog of No. 1 LSU Tigers vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

Running Blog of No. 1 LSU Tigers vs. No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide

12:55 p.m. Ah, Saturday. It’s a beautifully sunny, crisp day here in Long Beach, California. 61 degrees and clear right now. I was planning to see a movie today, but that didn’t happen. So I’ve spent it reading some academic stuff, writing fantasy football notes and watching Breeders’ Cup racing. It’s been a nice day.

But I’ve heard there’s, like, an important football game on tonight. Did you know about this?

It’s kind of funny because I’ve been watching ESPN for every hour of every day since Monday, forgoing sleep to watch the 3 a.m. repeat of a repeat of SportsCenter, and I haven’t been exposed to much regarding this LSU at Alabama game. The ESPN family of networks has been very subtle in its pre-week pregame coverage. Because if there’s one thing ESPN doesn’t do, it’s give a single regular-season sporting event too much airtime and suffocate its audience with continuous interviews, analysis and predictions.

But this game seems to carry some weighty significance, so I figure I’d once again ramble on while it’s being played out. Join me, won’t you?


4:40 p.m. OK, so who’s ready for some football?

Seriously, who’s ready? You couldn’t possibly be even more ready after this week. LSU and Alabama have been nailed into your our brains. Remember those state capitols you learned back in sixth or seventh grade? Well, not anymore you don’t. All of that information has been taken up by Trent Richardson and Tyrann Mathieu.

4:45 p.m. You already know the keys to the game and what everyone is watching for:

  • Which offense will be able to control the line of scrimmage more?
  • Can Trent Richardson have success against LSU’s nine-man box?
  • Which QB,  A.J. McCarron or Jarrett Lee, will manage the game better (a.k.a. be less stupid than the other QB)? Because they will HAVE to make some.
  • Can Alabama’s wideouts beat LSU’s outstanding DBs?
  • How much does home-field advantage matter?
  • What crazy shit will Les Miles do tonight?
  • Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.
4:48 p.m. Last I checked, Alabama was a 4 1/2-point favorite. That’s a bit much, but I do think Alabama is more talented overall.

My pick: Alabama wins, 20-17.

But I’ll take LSU with the points.

4:51 p.m. I’m not here to do a lot of analysis, but I will point out a few things:

This is the 45th No. 1 vs. No. 2 game in college football history, and just the second since 1997. The last came in 2006 when No. 1 Ohio State defeated No. 2 Michigan, 42-39. I don’t remember, but I’m sure that was billed as “The Game of the Century” too.

LSU has committed three turnovers this season. THREE! And none since Septemeber!

Neither Alabama or LSU has trailed after any quarter this season. Obviously, that’s going to change tonight. But a lot is going to change tonight, including the BCS rankings and my opinion on both of these teams. Because I jump to conclusions with little regard.

4:56 p.m. I think we’re going to see a fairly boring first half as the defenses take over. It’ll probably be something like 6-3, Alabama. And then the offenses will start to make this game actually worth watching and worth (some of) the hype.

4:57 p.m. Our local CBS station here in Southern California just ended its news broadcast by telling us to stay tuned for “the LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson.”

Yeah. Roll, Crimson, roll. That’s what they always say.

5:00 p.m. While checking some stats for this game, I happened upon this:


1. LSU


3. UCF


Does this mean that my UCF Knights have a better defense than the Crimson Tide?

Yes. Yes, it does.

5:03 p.m. The time for talk has ended. Game time is here.

Now if only the band would get off the God damn field!

5:07 p.m. Drinking game option for tonight: A shot for every hearty laugh that Verne Lundquist let’s fly tonight. The man loves the comedy styles of Gary Danielson.

5:09 p.m. And both teams come on to the field. Couldn’t have done this 10 minutes ago, could they? Nooooooooooooooo.

5:10 p.m. Nick Saban tells Tracy Wolfson that his team needs to “see ball, hit ball.”

Nick Saban is ready to win the World Series.

5:11 p.m. Alabama wins the toss and takes the ball first. Nick Saban looking for a home run return, I’m sure.

5:13 p.m. Man, how awesome must that tailgate have been today? People who have been looking forward to this game for weeks won’t remember one second of it. I’m sure five percent of the crowd has already blacked out.

5:14 p.m. AND WE’RE OFF!


Maze returns it to the 30 for Alabama, showing some nifty moves.

5:15 p.m. First play from scrimmage, Richardson runs left for 13 yards. Good omen.

5:16 p.m. Next play, Richardson takes a little flip pass and nobody covers him! He goes down the left sideline for 22. Because who would want to cover that guy?

5:16 p.m. Richardson gets the ball for the third straight play … and loses five. OK, now we’re playing football.

5:18 p.m. A short pass and another touch for Richardson for zero yards leads to a field goal attempt. And Cade Foster … uhhhh … kind of missed it. It was a little right.

And by a little, I mean a lot.

5:22 p.m. LSU takes over at its own 27.

5:23 p.m. Nice little play-action pass from Lee on second down for a gain of 13 and a first down. LSU will hurry it up.

5:25 p.m. Jordan Jefferson comes in on third and a few inches. … LSU kind of lulls Alabama to sleep by staying in the huddle for a long time, then rushing to the line. Jefferson sneaks it for a first down.

5:26 p.m. Lee calls timeout with less than six minutes gone in the first quarter. Could be crucial by the end of this half.

5:29 p.m. Third and long for LSU at about the ‘Bama 45.

And in the game that nobody cared about all week, No. 7 Arkansas vs. No. 9 South Carolina, that one looks like an entertaining game so far. 17-14, Backs over COCKS before the halfway point of the second quarter.

5:31 p.m. After an incomplete pass, LSU is forced to punt and it lands out of bounds at the Tide’s 4-yard line.

5:35 p.m. Richardson again and he gets absolutely stung at the line of scrimmage. Lots of hard hittin’ out here, boys. Wooo-eee!

5:36 p.m. On third and 10 — and after what should have been a defensive PI call on LSU — Maze finds a zone where no one is watching him. Add on 15 more yards for a facemask, and ‘Bama is up to the 40 suddenly.

5:38 p.m. A screen to Maze goes for nine on second and10. On third and 1, Richardson is barely able to avoid a tackle on the left side and move the chains after a gain of three.

5:39 p.m. Richardson gets hit really hard a couple of more times on first down, but still battles for four yards. That dude benches, what, 475? It showed there.

5:40 p.m. Eddie Lacy gashes LSU right up for the gut for 20. That seemed to catch the Tigers off guard.

5:41 p.m. A five-yard penalty for illegal substitution pushes Alabama back to LSU’s 28. Lacy then rushes for one.

5:42 p.m. Man, we knew this game was going to be physical, but this thing is looking like Steelers-Ravens.

5:43 p.m. Alabama was fortunate-lucky on third down. McCarron’s pass should have been picked off, but instead, it was almost caught by a Tide receiver. If he had been able to control it, it would have been a first down. Alas, Alabama is setting up for a 50-yard field goal from Foster.

But first, a timeout as a ‘Bama player is late getting on the field. Oh vey.

And really, Saban can’t feel good about Foster’s chances to make this. He is 1-of-4 this year.

I say punt it and let your defense take over.

5:46 p.m. But Saban doesn’t punt and pays the price. Forget that Foster’s kick was right (again), it also didn’t have enough distance. I know hindsight is 20-20, but that is a stupid decision to not punt it.

5:50 p.m. An awful possession for LSU ends up with an interception. On third down, Lee dropped the shotgun shanp and then threw it right to Robert Lester.

On first down, there was a short run. Then a false start. Then a short pass and then that disaster from Lee, throwing into double coverage. It’s easy to say he panicked on that play.

Which is why I just said it. That ball was begging to be intercepted.

It was Lee’s first pick in his last 100 passes. And remember that LSU had turned it over only three times this season.

5:51 p.m. Alabama takes over at its own 47 and on first down, opens it up with a pass that gains 19 yards.

5:52 p.m. McCarron guns it to the end zone to Darius Hanks, but it is broken up.

And that ends the first quarter. Yes, it is 0-0. That’s kind of what I expected. But there’s been a good amount action for a scoreless affair. The Tide has 114 total yards. LSU, 38.

5:56 p.m. Richardson rushes up the middle for 10 to open the quarter. He looks like a taller Ray Rice on that play. Which I guess isn’t a great comparison because of the size difference, but the guy is jacked and has great balance.

5:58 p.m. After that, the best play for Alabama on that series came on third and long when McCarron decided to throw it away and not risk a pick.

5:59 p.m. Unfortunately, the ball is at the 32, which means a field goal is possible.

And unfortunately, Saban decides to kick it from 49 yards. Jeremy Shelley, the “short yardage” kicker for Alabama gets the attempt and it is blocked. An LSU defender catches the block in the air and runs down the right sideline for 26 yards to the Tide 48.

Does anyone want to be a kicker for one of the best teams in the nation? Open auditions start Monday.

6:02 p.m. I’m not saying Alabama should be up 9-0. But the fact that it had the chance and we’re still locked at zero has to give a lot of confidence to the Tigers.

6:02 p.m. Jefferson at QB to start this LSU series. On second down, he calls a timeout after trying to audible. Probably couldn’t hear himself speak.

6:06 p.m. DRINK! Verne loves himself some Danielson. Ware runs for three tough yards.

6:06 p.m. On third and 1, LSU barely picks up the yard on another run. Jefferson still in there.

6:07 p.m. Jefferson runs the option, pitches it to Michael Ford for a nice gain, but it’s brought back because of an illegal shift.

6:08 p.m. Then Jefferson goes with a designed run. He had a whole up the middle, but decided to jump to the outside and lost a yard. This LSU offense is really struggling tonight. (Understatement)

6:09 p.m. Incomplete pass for LSU, but close to a hit on a defensive receiver penalty on Alabama.

6:11 p.m. For the second time tonight, LSU punter Brad Wing puts Alabama inside its five. He’s telling pro scouts not to forget about him in his NFL minor league game.

6:16 p.m. Richardson with another 10 – a an 11-yard gain on second down. Really hit the hole on that one.

6:19 p.m. For the second time in this game, LSU loses Richardson! How does that happen? He just rolls out of the backfield and catches a ball and runs clear for 39 yards to the 19. Biggest play of the game.

He did get the benefit of an illegal pick play. But that’s never called.

6:21 p.m. Tyrann Mathieu makes a nice stick tackle on first down. Haven’t heard his name much tonight. Have heard the “Honey Badger” reference even less.

6:22 p.m. But now it’s fourth and 8 at the 17.

Field goal?



Yep. From 34 yards, Shelley actually makes this one and the crowd erupts. They have never been so delighted.

3-0, CRIMSON TIME. 3:53 left to play in the half.

6:26 p.m. LSU, which has fewer yards as a team than Trent Richardson has by himself starts this drive at the 24.

6:26 p.m. Jefferson at QB, and the first two runs of the drive — one option, one not — pick up eight and 14 yards, respectively.

6:29 p.m. And offsides penalty gives LSU a first down into ‘Bama territory.

6:31 p.m. On first and 15, there is only one Alabama guy “guarding” two LSU receivers. The pass is caught by Russell Shepard at the 8. Verne’s initially call: “The pass is … PICKED! NO!”

Last I checked, Shepard plays on LSU. But a bad defensive breakdown for Alabama.

6:33 p.m. After a three-yard run and an incomplete pass, third and goal at the 5 … throw to Rueben Randle is incomplete, but the reffs flag Dre Kirkpatrick for defensive holding.

First and goal at the 2. But hey, there is only 15 seconds left. LSU has one timeout left. Jefferson draw?

6:34 p.m. On first down, Jefferson looks for a receiver in the pocket, but throws it away. Eight seconds left.

6:35 p.m. LSU runs a toss play that gets funneled back to the middle, but Ware gains nothing. LSU calls a timeout with just two seconds remaining! Wow.

Third and goal. Two seconds left. At the 2-yard line. Down by 3 in a defensive battle. I think you have to kick it here.

But I’m sure crazy Les disagrees.

6:38 p.m. No, LSU sets up for the chippy. But first, Saban brings out the ice.

6:39 p.m. Brad Alleman attempts the 19-yarder (no holder-throws-it-over-his-shoulder-to-the-kicker fake??) and it is good.


6:41 p.m. And so, LSU still hasn’t trailed after any quarter this season.

6:41 p.m. It’s OK, CBS. No one really wants to hear Nick Saban talk anyway.

6:43 p.m. Elsewhere, UCLA is ahead of Arizona State, 23-14 in the third quarter.

Didn’t see that coming.

Kansas State is tied with Oklahoma State, 24-24, with less than two minutes to go until halftime.

Didn’t see that coming.

South Carolina trails Arkansas just by six, 27-21, in the third.

Didn’t see that coming.

But 3-3, Alabama and LSU at the half? Yeah, if you read above, you’ll see that I’m pretty close to spot on there.

6:46 p.m. But I still think the offenses will pick it up in the second half. Jefferson, if nothing else, is going to make this game interesting for either good or bad. And Richardson looks unstoppable. Yeah, he’s benefited from two busted coverages on pass plays, but he has averaged close to five yards per carry against LSU’s nine-man front and has 114 total yards.

6:50 p.m. McCarron has played well enough, at least better than Lee. Jefferson’s one big completion was almost interception.

6:52 p.m. And the defenses? Yeah, they look a’ight.

6:53 p.m. I know people are looking at this score and thinking, “how boring!” But really, it’s been an entertaining game in relative terms. Richardson has lit up the screen, big, BIG hits, bad special teams from Alabama, a mix of big plays here and there. It’s never going to live up to the hype because no game could live up to THAT hype. But I think it is playing out as expected.

7:04 p.m. Les Miles says he will use both Jefferson and Lee here in the second half. Well, LSU gets the ball to start the second half and the QB is Jefferson.

No surprise to me. I think he stays on the field until he makes a really bad mistake, such as a really, really stupid interception. LSU starts at its own 18.

7:06 p.m. And that’s exactly why Jefferson is in. On third and 3, he drops back to pass, no one is open, but he scrambles left and picks up the first down. That ability to buy time and run is going to be sooooooooo valuable.

7:07 p.m. And then Jefferson shows you why he’s not a good quarterback. Nearly in the grasp of two ‘Bama defenders, Jefferson shovels it ahead with his right hand. It’s caught, so instead of a loss of nine, LSU loses three.

And then he takes a coverage sack on the next play.

7:08 p.m. And that’s compounded by an awful punt from Wing. It travels just 22 yards and goes out at Alabama’s 48. Richardson!

7:12 p.m. On second down, McCarron runs a nice play-action fake and throws to Maze at the sticks, but he’s standing out of bounds.

7:13 p.m. Gary Danielson keeps bringing up how Alabama needs to find a Julio Jones.

Yeah, because players like that totally grow on trees in Alabama.

7:15 p.m. So after another three-and-out, Alabama’s punt goes out of bounds inside the 20.

7:17 p.m. Jarrett Lee is back in the game. I know the last series was not a good one for Jefferson, but I don’t like the call.

7:18 p.m. AAAAAAAAAAAAAND LEE THROWS A PICK! Another pass he shouldn’t have thrown, into double coverage. Mark Barron returns it to the 4-yard line, but a block in the back during the return brings it back to LSU’s 35.

Hey, who wants to see Jordan Jefferson again??? You will soon.

7:19 p.m. On first down, McCarron goes to the end zone, but he misses his man in double coverage.

7:21 p.m. Another third-down stop by LSU and here we go again … a 46-yard field goal from Cade Foster. Oh boy. Everybody, hang on to your butts.

7:22 p.m. He got it! Actually, he nailed it through by plenty. There’s a confidence booster.

6-3, Crimson Tide. 7:56 to play in the third quarter.

7:24 p.m. He’s GOT to come back with Jefferson, right? His legs do so much. And while Lee is the better passer, he has thrown two absolutely dreadful INTs.

7:26 p.m. And Jefferson is back in. On the first play, he runs for seven.

7:27 p.m. On a first-down throw to Randle, he spins his way across the 50 and for another first down.

7:29 p.m. LSU has run four times for 22 yards on this drive. Keep it going.

7:31 p.m. And so LSU does. But Alabama is locking down now. After a short run by Jefferson on first down, he goes with an option pitch that is dead from the start for a loss of two. On third down, Jefferson scrambles and throws it away.

Amazing how quickly ‘Bama can shut down that running game.

7:32 p.m. The punt is fair-caught at the 10. 3:15 left in the third.

7:35 p.m. McCarron finds Darius Hanks on the out for a gain of 20, beating “Honey Badger.”

7:37 p.m. Just before the play clock expires, ‘Bama calls a timeout. You have these big plays and then everything stops. I won’t be surprised if Alabama doesn’t get another first down on this drive. That’s just the way this game has gone.

7:40 p.m. OH! McCarron had DeAndrew White wide open on second down from a short distance away and just missed him.

7:40 p.m. I will follow up an “OH!” with a “WOW!” On third and long, Eddie Lacy catches a screen play and gains 11 for a first down. A little demoralizing for LSU.

7:41 p.m. And now that morale goes back up as McCarron gets picked off by Morris Claiborne. You knew that was coming; McCarron had been dodging picks all night. LSU returns it to the Alabama 15.

7:43 p.m. LSU keeps the ball on the ground, which is smart, but the Tigers aren’t going anywhere.


7:44 p.m. They are definitely within Alleman’s range. He is 10-for-12 this year. But first, third and 11 at the 16.

7:46 p.m. Again, Jefferson can’t throw. He runs up in the pocket and gains only three yards.

From 30 yards, Alleman … is good.

6-6, 14:13 left in regulation.

7:47 p.m. OK, so what do I have to lose … I AM CALLING IT RIGHT HERE!


Daring, right?

7:48 p.m. Again, people across the nation are saying how this is so boring and a major letdown. I still disagree, but I’m leaning that way.

However, I mean, these are two NFL-quality defenses out there.

7:50 p.m. Richardson brings it out of the end zone and gets past the 20, to the 22.

7:52 p.m. Third and 6, an injured Marquis Maze takes a WR screen and gains 18 for a first down.

7:54 p.m. And then LSU needs six guys to bring Richardson down. He is slippery and super strong. That’s a gain of 24, down to LSU’s 28.

7:56 p.m. I can’t wait to draft Richardson in the first two rounds of my fantasy football league in a few years. But not as a rookie. Never draft rookie RBs.

7:58 p.m. And see THIS is why this game isn’t boring! McCarron lines up out wide and Maze throws a pass from the center’s snap. He goes down the field to a tight end. I initially thought the ball was caught and down at the 1. But the refs say LSU DB Eric Reed intercepted it! Uhhhhhh, this will be reviewed.

8:00 p.m. Wow, ruling on the field stands. I don’t know about that one. I know the ruling was a pick, but it sure looks like the Alabama receiver had possession of it as his butt hit the ground. I think it should have been a catch, or at least an incomplete catch. Alas, LSU starts on the 1.

8:01 p.m. Three and out for LSU after a series of runs. Punt.

8:03 p.m. And what a punt it is! Help out by a gimpy Maze who simply can’t move, the punt goes over his head and takes a big roll, not  for the Tide but for the Tigers. 73-yard punt, downed at the 18. 9:30 to play.

8:04 p.m. No matter how this game ends up, that interception at the 1 is going to be heavily talked about. It was a very, very questionable call.

But overall, these refs have done a fine job.

8:05 p.m. Richardson starts with a nine-yard run. He now has 94 rushing yards on 18 carries.

8:09 p.m. Richardson is finally stopped, this time for a six-yard loss. Second and 16, Alabama at its own 35.

And he’s going to keep going backwards! Minus three on the next rush. Punt it on third down.

8:10 p.m. They dump it to Richardson and he does all he can, carrying defenders on his back and breaking other tackles, but he comes up two yards short. Seventeen yards on third and 19.

8:12 p.m. Tyrann Mathieu makes his biggest impact on the game with a cheap shot to Dre Kirkpatrick during the punt return, clubbing him in his neck with his right arm. He’s called for a penalty, so LSU will begin another drive deep in its own territory.

The “Honey Badger” has been off the prowl tonight. He’s been close to a non-factor.

8:15 p.m. LSU starts at the 5. About 4:30 left.

8:16 p.m. On the first play, Jefferson finds his tight end for 13 yards. Nice play.

8:17 p.m. Jefferson makes a great play, getting away from pressure and running up the middle for 18. But he always seems to negate a great play with a dumb one.

8:18 p.m. Ware runs for five tough yards. 2:25 and running.

8:18 p.m. On third and 2, Ware runs it … into a red brick wall. He doesn’t make it back to the line of scrimmage. Saban has two timeouts left, he he’s letting the clock runs.

8:19 p.m. Punt fair-caught at the 20. Overtime certainly looks like it is on the way. Only 52 seconds left. LSU has three timeouts.

8:21 p.m. Not surprised that Alabama didn’t call any timeouts.

Definitely surprised that LSU didn’t. But hey, it’s not like that offense has been lighting it up, either.


8:23 p.m. Bad news for the Tide: Because of overtime rules, they will already be in field goal range when they get the ball. And they don’t want to turn this into a FG battle.

But it looks like it will.

8:23 p.m. Unless these quarterbacks do something idiotic, which is definitely possible.

8:24 p.m. LSU calls tails and wins the toss. So Alabama will get the ball first from the 25.

8:26 p.m. Maze on the field, Richardson drops the screen on first down.

8:27 p.m. A 12 men in the huddle penalty on ‘Bama backs them up to the 30. Oh, man.

8:28 p.m. McCarron had Richarsdon on a wheel route down the left sideline, but it’s over the wrong shoulder and the running back can’t bring it in. Could have been a TD, would have at least been inside the 10.

8:28 p.m. And then McCarron takes a sack!!!! Oh my God! Now this is going to be a 52- or 53-yard attempt! What an awful mistake.

8:29 p.m. Foster attempts it (because what else are you going to do here?) and of course, it is no good. Left and short.

So all LSU needs is a field goal to win it. And they are already in his range. I think the Tigers will run it three times.

8:31 p.m. First down, three-yard run.

8:31 p.m. Michael Ford takes the toss down the left sideline and goes into the end zone!


He is ruled out of bounds at the 7.

Still, just line it up in the middle of the field and this game is over.

8:33 p.m. Two runs for a few yards

8;34 p.m. So Alleman comes out on third down for a 25-yard attempt. But first, the ice by Saban.

Still, he’s going to get this.

8:35 p.m. And he got it!


8:36 p.m. Tracy Wolfson interviews Les Miles and says the game lived up to the hype.

Apparently she didn’t watch the hype. It didn’t.

8:37 p.m. Miles also says that future games on LSU’s schedule are “much more important.” I guess he’s right in one respect because if the Tigers lose next week, this game turns out to be not so important.

But LSU won’t face a stiffer test than this one.

8:38 p.m. In the end, you had two defenses that are at the top of the world.

You had Trent Richardson.

And you had nothing else.

Both quarterbacks were sub-par. The kicking game was brutal. The wide receivers couldn’t get anything done.

Just defense and a running back.

8:44 p.m. I just turned on the Kansas St.-Oklahoma St. game. KSU had three shots from the 5-yard line to tie it. But the Cowboys held on, 52-45. Mike Gundy then said, after being told that LSU beat Alabama, that the people should have been watching their game.

That’s probably right.

8:45 p.m. The LSU-Alabama game was special in its own right. Great, great defense. Trent Richardson shining on a grand stage.

But at times, you have to admit, even if you loved it like your own child, it was really tough to watch at times.

8:47 p.m. So here’s a presumptious question: Which team is LSU going to face in the BCS title game? Stanford? OK State? Boise State? We’ll find out. But for now, LSU is still in the discussion.

For my money, Alabama is not unless everyone else loses.

8:48 p.m. Thanks for checking out this post tonight! It wasn’t an all-time classic, but these kinds of games don’t come along often in the regular season. I was glad to blog it out.

Have a Sunday fun-day! And don’t forget to set your clocks back.

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