Daily Archives: November 4, 2012

Opinion: What’s important now is how Tide handles its comeback win

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron runs in for a touchdown against LSU. (AP photo by Butch Dill)

This is my opinion column for today’s print editions, written in the Baton Rouge airport while waiting for my flight to board:

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Alabama’s Nick Saban has a 24-hour rule for his players, which means they can enjoy a win or mope over a loss for 24 hours, then they must move on.

But with a game like Saturday’s 21-17 comeback win over LSU, maybe it’s a good thing it fell on the same weekend the clocks went back an hour for daylight savings time. If an Alabama team ever deserved an amended 25-hour rule, this one did.

With national title hopes hanging in the balance, Alabama got the ball 72 yards from the end zone with 1:34 to play and trailing by three. A field goal would have given the Tide a chance for overtime, but forget that, Alabama scored a touchdown, covering the distance in only five plays.

T.J. Yeldon, more than making up for a critical second-half fumble, caught a screen pass and went 28 yards for the winning points. AJ McCarron, more than making up for a lackluster second half, threw the pass.

Could this go down as Alabama’s best comeback ever?

You could make a case for it. It marked only the 66th time in Alabama history it played in a game in which both teams entered with top 10 rankings. A loss likely would have booted the Crimson Tide out of the national championship race.

This game already received an abnormal amount of attention because these two teams have built college football’s best new rivalry.

But we could make a case for other games, too. Just three years ago, Alabama saved a national championship season by rallying to beat Auburn late. Greg McElroy‘s 4-yard touchdown to Roy Upchurch with 1:24 to play.

In 2007, as Saban began his run at Alabama and was fighting for every win he could get, Alabama beat Arkansas with late touchdown. John Parker Wilson hit Matt Caddell with a 4-yard pass with eight seconds left.

Neither team battled for a national title that year, but who knows what it meant for Saban and his efforts to get his players to believe in his Fourth Quarter conditioning program?

Other last-minute touchdowns and field goals have lifted Alabama from defeat through the years.

Freddie Kitchens beat Auburn in 1996 with a last-minute touchdown pass. Jay Barker‘s quarterback sneak and David Palmer’s 2-point run tied Tennessee in 1993. Backup quarterback Vince Sutton‘s pass to quarterback-turned-tight end Gene Newberry beat Kentucky in 1988.

In 1985, Mike Shula‘s pass to Al Bell beat Georgia, and Van Tiffin‘s 52-yard field goal on the final play beat Auburn.

Bucky Berrey beat Florida State with a field goal in 1974, and Richard O’Dell did the same to Georgia Tech in 1960.

Fortunately for those of us who are curious about football history such as that, Alabama has a “notable comebacks” section in the record book it gives reporters.

Saturday night might not even mark the most improbably comeback by Alabama over LSU. According to that record book, the Crimson Tide beat LSU 6-4 in Mobile by scoring the winning points with 20 seconds left. Jack Reidy did it by returning a kickoff 75 yards.

But whether Saturday night goes down as anybody’s version of the greatest comeback likely depends on what happens the rest of the way.

If Alabama goes unbeaten and wins a national title, you could say this one means as much as those great defensive plays that saved title runs: Terrence Cody‘s blocked field goal against Tennessee in 2009, Antonio Langham’s interception return against Florida in 1992, and the 1978 Tide’s goal-line stand against Penn State in the Sugar Bowl.

Minutes after the win, Saban said his team could react in one of two ways: It either could sit back satisfied with its great accomplishment, or it could work to fix its mistakes and move forward.

Maybe the modern Crimson Tide could take a lesson from that 1907 team. Five days after rallying past LSU, Alabama traveled to Birmingham and beat hated rival Tennessee 5-0.

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Thoughts from watching the Alabama-LSU replay

Count me as someone watching the replay Sunday night. Here are just a few thoughts while seeing Alabama’s 21-17 win over LSU a second time.

–The Crimson Tide missed more tackles than I can recall seeing in any game this year, but it didn’t look like a lack of effort. The effort was there, but for some reason, Alabama didn’t always bring down the guy with the ball.

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron after the win. (AP photo by Bill Haber)

–At the game Saturday, a couple of Louisiana reporters mentioned how impressed they were with the play of Barrett Jones, who has made a seamless transition to center. He did play a good game against LSU. For example, he did a great job holding his block and opening a hole for AJ McCarron‘s first-half touchdown run.

–Noseguard Jesse Williams played well. I would love to watch him go against Jones in practice, full speed.

–CBS broadcaster Verne Lundquist clearly did a whole lot of homework on last year’s regular-season Alabama-LSU matchup, and he was going to give it to viewers whether they wanted to hear it or not. Enough was enough about midway through the second quarter.

–Another thing about Lunquist: He said Alabama running back Eddie Lacy “scampered” at one point. Puppies scamper. Kittens scamper. Major college football running backs don’t scamper.

Kevin Norwood caught a career-high five passes, and all of them came in the two-minute offense. The first two came in the touchdown drive at the end of the first half, and the remaining three came on the game-winning series. The second and third catches on the big drive weren’t easy at all.

–The fake field goal by LSU in the first half seemed especially dumb, and not only because it didn’t work. The Bengal Tigers had place-kicker Drew Alleman catching the pass and getting drilled by about half the Crimson Tide defense. Even if he had made the first down, do you want to take that kind of chance with your kicker?

–It’s interesting to note Les Miles‘ halftime interview, in which he mentioned how much the screen pass hurt LSU on Alabama’s touchdown drive at the end of the second quarter.

–LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger really did play well. He completed some big third-down passes when Alabama defenders didn’t leave him much of an opening.

–Who does T.J. Yeldon remind you of when he runs? Maybe a little bit like Bobby Humphrey? Just a little?

–Defensive lineman D.J. Pettway made a huge play on the fourth-and-one that LSU didn’t make in the fourth quarter.

–LSU’s onsides kick wasn’t a bad idea, just poor execution.

–Great radio call by Eli Gold of the game-winning play.

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Tide in the NFL: Trent goes over 100 again

San Diego linebacker Jarret Johnson sacks Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel in the end zone, where Cassel fumbled and the Chargers recovered for a touchdown. (AP photo by Greg Bull)

Trent Richardson topped 100 rushing yards for the second straight week for Cleveland, although the Browns fell 25-15 to the Baltimore Ravens.

Trent Richardson breaks a tackle by Baltimore’s Dannell Ellerbe. (AP photo by Rick Osentoski)

Richardson had 105 yards on 25 carries and caught six passes for another 31 yards, but the Browns lost when they couldn’t convert a touchdown. Their 15 points came on five field goals.

Richardson has three 100-yard games this season.

For Baltimore, noseguard Terrence Cody had one tackle, and linebacker Courtney Upshaw added three.

–Atlanta receiver Julio Jones made five catches for 129 yards in a 19-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys. He also rushed once for 8 yards. This marked his second straight 100-yard game and third of the year. He had five 100-yard games last season.

–Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick made his season debut in a 31-23 loss to Denver. Kirkpatrick played only on the punt team and made one tackle. Defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry added a tackle for Cincinnati.

–Cornerback Kareem Jackson made two tackles in Houston’s 21-9 win over Buffalo, while defensive lineman Marcell Dareus had three for the Bills.

Kansas City’s Javier Arenas (21) brings down San Diego’s Ryan Mathews. (AP photo by Denis Poroy)

–Kansas City defensive back Javier Arenas had a team-high nine tackles in a 31-13 loss to San Diego. On one of his stops, he tackled running back Ryan Matthews 2 yards behind the line.

For the Chargers, fullback Le’Ron McClain had one carry for no yards. Linebacker Jarret Johnson had two tackles, including a sack of Kansas City Matt Cassel, who fumbled into the end zone, which San Diego recovered for a touchdown.

–Tampa Bay safety Mark Barron had four tackles as the Bucs scored a 42-32 win over Oakland. Middle linebacker Rolando McClain had six stop for the Raiders.

–On Monday night, Philadelphia (linebacker DeMeco Ryans and offensive lineman Evan Mathis) will face New Orleans (running back Mark Ingram and safety Roman Harper).

CBS picks up Alabama-Texas A&M game

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and his Crimson Tide gets to play during the day when Texas A&M visits Saturday. (AP photo by Bill Haber)

After three straight night games, Alabama finally gets to play in the sun Saturday. CBS will carry the Crimson Tide’s home game against 15th-ranked Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m.

The rest of the SEC TV schedule that day:
Arkansas at South Carolina, CBS, 11 a.m.
Missouri at Tennessee, SEC Network, 11:21 a.m.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Florida, SEC Network, 11:21 a.m.
Georgia at Auburn, ESPN2, 6 p.m.
Vanderbilt at Ole Miss, ESPNU, 6 p.m.
Mississippi State at LSU, ESPN, 6 p.m.

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Poll update: Alabama increases lead in BCS standings

Alabama’s Xzavier Dickson, left, T.J. Yeldon, middle, and Jeremy Shelley after Saturday’s win. (AP photo by Bill Haber)

After polishing off LSU 21-17 on Saturday night, Alabama ran the table in the polls Sunday. The Crimson Tide dominated the Bowl Championship Series standings, holding the top spot over No. 2 Kansas State, No. 3 Oregon and No. 4 Notre Dame.

LSU gave Alabama’s strength of schedule a big lift, so that the Tide took first place in four of the six computer rankings used by the BCS. One had Alabama second and another third. The computers combine to count for one-third of the BCS formula.

Alabama took every first-place vote in the USA Today coaches poll, which counts for one-third. In the Harris poll, which counts for the remaining one-third, Alabama grabbed 108 of 115 first-place votes, while Oregon State had six and Kansas State one.

In The Associated Press, Alabama occupied first on all 60 ballots. The Crimson Tide has received all the first-place votes in The AP poll five of the last six weeks and seven times in its history. The final polls of 1992 and 2009 marked the remaining two times. The AP rankings do not count toward the BCS rankings, but AP has awarded a national championship since 1936 and still is considered a major poll.

This also marks Alabama’s 10th straight week at No. 1. That’s a school record for the longest stretch in Tide history.

Click here for the complete AP, USA Today coaches and Harris rankings and the BCS standings.

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Opinion: No. 1 Bama handles LSU’s shot to the jaw

Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon runs past LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo for the go ahead touchdown to beat the Bengal Tigers. (AP photo by Butch Dill)

This is my column for today’s print editions. With a late game undecided until the final minute, I didn’t get to express all the thoughts I wanted. I wrote it during the fourth quarter, inserting some of the details I wanted after the winning touchdown. Also, I had to write a different column, in case that comeback hadn’t worked and Alabama lost. I don’t think I’m going to let you see that one.

BATON ROUGE, La. — Death Valley didn’t kill Alabama’s perfect season.

Every champion has to survive at least one night when everything isn’t going its way. It has to take all the punches, remain upright and find a way to win.

Alabama did it Saturday night in a 21-17 win Saturday night over LSU, as AJ McCarron came alive on the last drive, just in time to keep the Tide pointed toward a possible repeat appearance in the BCS National Championship Game.

Alabama has faced this every week — not nearly this harrowing, but it seems as if every team tries its hardest to push the Tide the way LSU pushed.

Alabama’s AJ McCarron runs for a touchdown against LSU during the first half. (AP photo by Butch Dill)

After winning a national title last year and holding the No. 1 ranking this season, the Crimson Tide brings out a barrel full of emotions and desire from every team’s fan base every week.

Everybody wants to beat Bama. It’s unfair to say it would make a team’s season to knock off the Crimson Tide, but a victory would be a pretty big bowl of ice cream at the end of the meal. Teams approached Alabama this way when Bear Bryant coached the Tide, and they do so again now.

We hear so much about Alabama’s not-so-strong schedule, but the Tide faces a unique situation no other team in the country must handle. Oregon doesn’t face this every week. Neither does Kansas State. Not even Notre Dame.

The Crimson Tide faced it again Saturday against LSU. If there ever was a situation in which the emotion, stakes and timing could do in Alabama, this was it.

First, LSU is a good team. The Bengal Tigers entered as the nation’s No. 5 team and earned that. They were at home. On Saturday night. They had lost only once at home on Saturday night in the previous 10 seasons. And this one seemed to have even more of an edge. More media showed up, with an LSU record number of credentials distributed. More fans did. The crowd of 93,374 set a record for the biggest to attend a football game in Louisiana.

Even five hours before the game began, traffic snarled for miles around the stadium. Parking lots already were filled.

And so many of these folks came to see if Alabama finally would get taken down.

The Bengal Tigers appeared ready to cooperate. LSU’s running game gashed the Crimson Tide defense unlike anybody in the Southeastern Conference has in two years.

LSU took an early lead. It was only 3-0, but it was a lead. Alabama hadn’t been behind by as many three points in regulation since last year’s game against Tennessee.

But Alabama responded. The Tide didn’t panic. McCarron had his worst game of the season, but midway through the first half, he engineered a 92-yard, six-minute drive for a touchdown, coming on a 7-yard run by Eddie Lacy.

At the end of the half, he put together a quick-strike drive of 63 yards in only 57 seconds. Taking advantage of LSU safety Eric Reid out of the game with a chest contusion, McCarron watched the Bengal Tigers follow his receivers, who were out wide. The middle opened up, and McCarron ran through for a 9-yard touchdown.

LSU had more waiting for Alabama, however, putting together an improbable rally to retake the lead at 17-14 with 12:58 to play. Alabama faced trouble. It faced the end of its perfect season.

But the Tide survived.

If Alabama finishes the season unbeaten, it will have earned its place in the national championship game. It’s hard when everyone is hunting your hide, and you deserve respect if you can handle that and not lose.

Now it starts all over again.

Texas A&M is next, and the Aggies want to take their turn and see if they can beat the unbeaten defending national champions.

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Where McCarron, Alabama stand in the NCAA statistics

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron no longer leads the nation in passing efficiency, but he still leads the nation’s No. 1 team. (AP photo by Bill Haber)

Unfortunately for Alabama’s AJ McCarron, dramatic fourth-quarter comebacks that save an undefeated season don’t earn bonus points in the NCAA passing statistics.

After two weeks of leading the NCAA passing efficiency ratings, McCarron dropped to third after completing 14 of 27 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s 21-17 win over LSU. Kansas State’s Collin Klein moved up to No. 1 with a 174.39 rating, and Florida State’s EJ Manuel sits at No. 2 with 174.03. McCarron’s rating is 173.54. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd (170.18) occupies the fourth spot.

Tide defensive back Dee Milliner is third in passes defended with 1.88 a game. He led the statistic two weeks ago and dropped to second last week. Bradley Roby of Ohio State leads with 2.0 a game, while Texas Christian’s Jason Verrett is second with 1.89.

In the team defensive statistics, Alabama entered Saturday’s game leading in rushing, passing, total, scoring and passing efficiency. After the game, the Crimson Tide leads in the most important one — scoring defense, with 9.11 points a game.

Alabama is second in total defense to Florida State, second in rush defense to Stanford, fifth in pass efficiency defense while Florida now leads, and eighth in pass defense. Michigan leads that category.

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What others said about Alabama vs. LSU

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, rear, congratulates running back T.J. Yeldon (4) after the two hooked up for the winning touchdown to defeat LSU 21-17. (AP photo by Bill Haber)

Alabama’s 21-17 win over LSU drew plenty of reporters, including several from outside the South. We’re giving you a sample of what they wrote:

The New York Times
BATON ROUGE, La. — Death Valley went quiet. And above the lull, an unexpected, unbridled joy came from the southeast corner of Tiger Stadium. With pride and might, some called, “Roll Tide.” T. J. Yeldon had scored. Zach Mettenberger’s second half had been ruined. Louisiana State’s revenge was iced.

A J McCarron had shown poise, leading a 51-second scoring drive. Earlier, he had scrambled down the throat of the L.S.U. defense for a touchdown and had pointed to that corner. The Crimson Tide fans there erupted nearly as loudly as the whole stadium had when Yeldon scored.

Roll Tide, roll.

No. 1 Alabama’s defense was battered for 435 yards. McCarron was essentially negated in the second half, until that stunning final drive. The Crimson Tide had trailed for all of 15 seconds this season, early in a what turning into a romp of Ole Miss in late September. Saturday, Alabama stayed undefeated, beating No. 5 L.S.U., 21-17, in the cruelest of ways, when those in Death Valley were certain victory was near.

“I was thinking, ‘I can’t believe this; did that really happen?’ It seemed not real,” Alabama center Barrett Jones said.

Los Angeles Times
BATON ROUGE, La. — Until they break up the Bowl Championship Series in two years, the only thing left to do is shake it up.

Les Miles and Nick Saban after the game. (AP photo by Gerald Herbert)

Tiger Stadium, on a Saturday night, seemed a perfect place to do it.

Pittsburgh had a similar thought at South Bend and USC actually came close to running down Oregon’s rabbits at the Coliseum.

Almost, though, never counts in the BCS.

In the end, the top four undefeated teams remained undefeated and so now we move forward to next week.

Pittsburgh let a 20-6 lead slip away against Notre Dame and Louisiana State let the biggest catfish, Alabama, slip off the hook.

“It’s tough,” LSU Coach Les Miles said. “You know there’s a game there you could have had. There’s some sick guys in that room.”

Yahoo! Sports
BATON ROUGE, La. – As the roars were building in Tiger Stadium and the season-altering upset edged ever closer to reality, nausea set in for Tony McCarron in the Alabama cheering section.

“Honestly,” the father of Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron said, “we were about to throw up.”

But down on the field in the Crimson Tide huddle, 72 yards from the end zone and down three points with just 94 seconds left, there was no sickness. There was only calm amid the deafening chaos, as the loudest stadium in America reached peak decibel levels. This was the two-minute drill ‘Bama practices every Thursday come to life, the chance for ingrained habits to overcome insane nerves.

Center Barrett Jones recalled someone in the huddle saying, “We’ve got a chance to make history. Who’s going to be the one who makes history?”

Let the record show that the historic play was A.J. to T.J. for the TD.

New York Daily News
BATON ROUGE, La. — Top-ranked Alabama has been such an overwhelming force in college football this season, the Tide is drawing comparisons to the late Bear Bryant’s 1979 team that went 12-0, only gave up 67 points and defeated Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl to win its second consecutive national championship.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier went as far as to suggest this Alabama team could compete in the NFL.

“Alabama, gosh, they look like they could beat a couple of those NFL teams that I’ve watched on Sundays,” Spurrier said this week on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “I think a lot of the odds makers out there that usually know what’s going on, I’d guess Alabama would be favored by a little bit.”

That still seems a little far fetched to us.

But it is hard to believe there is any team in college football can roll back the Tide for four quarters. Alabama came into the most intimidating atmosphere in what is easily the best conference in the country last night and rallied for a darmatic 21-17 victory over fifth-ranked LSU here in an SEC West showdown, breaking the Tigers’ 22 game winning streak before a record sellout crowd of 93,374 at Tigers Stadium.

Sporting News
BATON ROUGE, La. – Just when it looked like the rest of the nation could breathe, Alabama did what Alabama does.

And that means the SEC still is the team to beat in the BCS National Championship race.

They tried to cannibalize each other on this cool night on the Bayou, but the Tide wouldn’t let it happen. The SEC still is king, and the rest of the nation still is playing catch up.

All it took was a 28-yard touchdown pass from AJ McCarron to T.J. Yeldon with 51 seconds to play for a 21-17 victory over LSU. Until then, LSU had given the rest of the nation reason to believe the SEC’s streak of six straight national championships was over.

BATON ROUGE, La. — Before Alabama center Barrett Jones trotted onto the field for the No. 1 Crimson Tide’s season-defining drive at No. 5 LSU on Saturday night, he offered offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland one final suggestion.

“Hey, don’t forget about the screen,” Jones told Stoutland.

With about 1½ minutes to play, LSU had a 17-14 lead and was threatening to knock off defending BCS national champion Alabama, which probably would have ended the SEC’s hopes of winning a seventh consecutive national title.

Along with most of a record crowd of 93,374 fans at Tiger Stadium, college football fans from Eugene, Ore., to Manhattan, Kan., to South Bend, Ind., (and everywhere else outside the Southeast) were probably roaring for the Tigers to make one more defensive stop.

The Advocate of Baton Rouge
LSU couldn’t finish what would have been one of the most significant victories in Tiger Stadium history Saturday night just as it couldn’t finish what would have been the most significant season in school history 10 months earlier.

The Tigers were on the verge of avenging a 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS Championship game in January, but AJ McCarron drove the Crimson Tide 72 yards and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass with 51 seconds left to give the defending national champion a 21-17 victory in front of a Tiger Stadium-record crowd of 93,374.

“We let this get away,” LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery said. “We had tons of opportunities to maximize in the game. But we couldn’t put them away. Sometimes, it’s not the best team, but it’s the most disciplined team. It’s tough. It was slow death.”

The New Orleans Times-Picayune
Baton Rouge — No. 1-ranked Alabama broke LSU’s heart for the second consecutive meeting but in an entirely different fashion. Instead of squeezing it slowly for four quarters, the Tide ripped it out of the Tigers’ collective chest, taking with it what looked like a stunning LSU upset Saturday night before a record paid crowd of 93,374 in Tiger Stadium.

AJ McCarron’s 28-yard screen pass for a touchdown to T.J. Yeldon with 51 seconds remaining rescued the struggling Tide for a 21-17 victory that will be as hard to forget as the 21-0 crush job in last season’s BCS title game.
“Our football team came in here to play to win,” LSU Coach Les Miles said afterward. “We went after it, and thought we played extremely hard. There are some sick guys back there.”

American Press of Lake Charles, La.
BATON ROUGE — Les Miles was right: championship dreams do die inside Tiger Stadium.

He just didn’t know he was talking about his own team’s dreams.

On Saturday night, it was the fifth-ranked Tigers who had their national championship aspirations proclaimed dead in Death Valley. And Miles had no idea just how hard of a death it would be.

Top-ranked Alabama cut the heart out of Tiger Nation with a 21-17 comeback victory before a record crowd of 93,374 crazed fans.

It was the third time in the last year that the two teams have played, with Alabama winning the last two, including the Bowl Championship Series national title game on Jan. 9 in New Orleans.

Shreveport Times
BATON ROUGE — Apparently it takes just 43 seconds to crash a party in Baton Rouge. Moments after it appeared LSU would rock No. 1-ranked Alabama, the SEC and national-championship pictures, the Crimson Tide streaked down the field at Tiger Stadium late Saturday.

A stunning 28-yard touchdown on a screen pass from A.J. McCarron to T.J. Yeldon completed a dagger-filled, five-play drive as Alabama rallied to stun a Tiger Stadium record crowd of 93,000-plus and the No. 5 Tigers, 21-17.

The loss snapped LSU’s 22-game home winning streak.

Alabama (9-0, 6-0) maintains control of its BCS National Championship Game destiny while the Tigers (7-2, 3-2) may be out of the BCS picture altogether.

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AJ McCarron on ESPN after the Alabama-LSU game (video)

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — ESPN talks to AJ McCarron after Alabama’s 21-17 win over LSU on Saturday night.

It’s not just the typical stand-up interview but instead at the Gameday desk. The video is about five mintues long

The Crimson Tide and Twitter, after the LSU game

Some of the better Twitter posts by Alabama players after Saturday’s 21-17 win over LSU:

AJ McCarron (@10AJMcCarron): “Words can’t explain the emotions of that game but I can say I have the best teammates & fans in the world. Love this team! #bamanation #RTR”


Jesse Williams (@ThaMonstar): “That was Fun. Time to head Home.”

Cyrus Kouandjio (‏@ck_allday71): “Favorite part of the night is seeing all those people flicking us off on the way to the airport.”

Kenny Bell (‏@TheKennyBell7), showing the same deadpan sense of humor Nick Saban has: “it probably b dead in ttown when we make it”

This one tugs at me. Plenty of people inside and outside the LSU program like place-kicker Drew Alleman a lot. Here’s what he posted after the game:

Alabama vs. LSU, game highlights (video)

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — We have two highlight packages for you. The first comes from the Southeastern Conference, while the second is ESPN’s.

With the SEC package, keep in mind it’s not just Alabama’s good plays but LSU’s highlights as well. However, you’ll appreciate that they didn’t leave out any of Alabama’s touchdowns.

The ESPN highlight tape looks more complete, although it does leave out the Crimson Tide’s first touchdown. It also includes some analysis from Kirk Herbstreit.

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Les Miles’ postgame opening comment

LSU head coach Les Miles is now 5-4 against Alabama while coaching the Bengal Tigers. (AP photo by Gerald Herbert)

Here’s LSU coach Les Miles‘ opening comment after his team’s 21-17 loss to Alabama on Saturday night:

“First of all, hats off to a very good Alabama team. I felt like that we didn’t do some of the things late in the game to win it. Our football team came in here to win. We did not go timidly into the game. We went after it.

“I felt that we played extremely hard. I was thrilled with how Zach Mettenberger played. I can tell you that he made all the passes, that he was competitive and fought. Defense gave up two big drives. That is uncharacteristic of them.

“I can you tell you one thing. This is really interesting. The idea that people would sit there and discount this football team before they even played the game is just unbelievable. There was no one in that locker room that thought that they were going to do anything but win tonight, just so you know. The idea that someone would pick somebody else.

“I can tell you this, I am proud of my team. I like how they fought. I wish I could have had a couple of my calls back, just so you know. That is the way it goes. The good news is that we have a good football team. The good news is that we will fight again. They learned a tremendous lesson today — give everything you got. That is what they did. They gave everything they got.”

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Barrett Jones recommended that winning play

Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (4) eludes LSU linebacker Kevin Minter (46) for the winning touchdown. (AP photo by Gerald Herbert)

T.J. Yeldon scored the winning points in Alabama’s 21-17 win over LSU, and AJ McCarron threw the pass.

But there’s a third player who had a big role in that 28-yard screen pass: Tide center Barrett Jones.

“I actually had a talk with coach,” Jones said. “We were talking about what we wanted to run, me and Coach Stout [Jeff Stoutland]. I said screens have been there all night. He called it, and it was great.

“It reminded me of that drive we had in Auburn when we had a few big screens. It was fun.”

LSU coach Les Miles said his own team had a breakdown on the play.

“I know that there was a missed assignment on the big screen play,” Miles said. “They were efficient throwing the football. AJ McCarron played pretty well in that game.”

Nick Saban’s postgame opening comment

Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (4) scores the game winning touchdown past LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo (49). (AP photo by Gerald Herbert)

Opening statement by Alabama’s Nick Saban after Saturday’s 21-17 win over LSU:

“We knew this would be a tough game. LSU played a great game. They had a great game plan. They did a great job of executing. I think their quarterback played really well. There was a stretch there in the second half where they converted seven straight third down and five or mores.

Alabama’s Nick Saban acknowledges fans as he leaves the field after a 21-17 win. (AP photo by Gerald Herbert)

“We couldn’t get off the field on third down, but our players competed in the game. We told our players, and it’s kind of ironic, that they would have to overcome a lot of adversity to win a game here. And when things went back and the momentum of the game changed, that’s what we kept talking to them about. And they kept their poise, and they kept playing, and they kept competing. I’ve never been prouder of a bunch of guys to overcome adversity.

“It was obviously a good [final] drive in two-minute [offense]. We’ve never really had to use two-minute [offense], but we actually scored two touchdowns in the two-minute offense — one before the half and one at the end of the game. I don’t think we played our best game; I think they played an outstanding game.

“Our players can either take this one way or the other. This win is either going to affect them in a positive way or a negative way in terms of what they do in the future. They can focus on third they didn’t do and take the next challenge and continue to improve and be ready to play the next week and prepare in practice next week, or they can say we’re satisfied for what we did with ourselves. I’m really, really pleased and proud of them. That last drive was something I’ll never forget. Offense did a really good job of executing. There was a lot of tough football played out there — this was a very physical game. I’m going to tell you that our guys are probably going to be as sore as they’ve ever been after any game.”

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