LSU beats 'Bama in battle of field goals
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The defenses lived up to the billing in the latest Game of the Century. Neither No. 1 LSU nor No. 2 Alabama could reach the end zone Saturday night, not even with extra time.
The Tigers aren't complaining.
They now have the inside track to the BCS title game.
Drew Alleman kicked a 25-yard field goal in overtime to lead LSU to a 9-6 victory over Alabama, which missed four field goals and squandered another scoring chance by throwing a goal-line interception — simply too many mistakes to overcome in a fierce defensive struggle that didn't produce a lot of style points.
Or any points, for that matter.
"It didn't go by the script," LSU coach Les Miles said. "The key is to keep fighting, to find a way."
Find a way, these Tigers did.
With a lot of help from the Crimson Tide.
"It's a difficult pill to swallow," said receiver Marquis Maze, who was hobbled by a leg injury and wound up at the center of two key miscues in the fourth quarter. "If everybody executes in the red area, that wasn't even a close game. The defense played outstanding."
Alabama missed four field goals, including Cade Foster's 52-yard attempt after the Tide got the ball first in the extra period. LSU appeared to win the game on Michael Ford's run around left end after taking a pitch, but he stepped out of bounds at the 7.
Two plays gained nothing, so LSU (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) sent on Alleman to attempt his third field goal of the game on third down. Alabama (8-1, 5-1) tried to freeze the junior kicker by calling timeout, but he calmly knocked it through to set off a wild celebration by the visiting team.
A small contingent in purple and gold chanted, "LSU! LSU! LSU!" The players ran to the far end of the field to celebrate with their band and the fans who made the trip from Louisiana.
"Before I went to bed last night, I was preparing for it," Alleman said. "It's every kicker's dream, and I got to live it."
The crowd of more than 100,000 at Bryant-Denny Stadium — most of them dressed in crimson — sat in stunned silence as LSU celebrated its victory in only the 23rd regular-season matchup between the top two teams in The Associated Press rankings.
LSU still must win its last three regular-season games — No. 8 Arkansas is the toughest test — and then would have to get through the SEC championship game. But the Tigers are the clear favorite after winning another huge game away from home, emerging with the victory in a matchup between two teams generally considered the best in the land.
And what if the BCS formula pits LSU against Alabama again in the national championship game?
"I'd be honored to face that team again," Miles said.