LSU-Alabama breakdown by the numbers

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry pulls in a touchdown pass over Alabama defensive back Deion Belue during the second half of Saturday's key Southeastern Conference game in Tiger Stadium.
Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry pulls in a touchdown pass over Alabama defensive back Deion Belue during the second half of Saturday's key Southeastern Conference game in Tiger Stadium.

How they scored

Score by quarters

Alabama 0 14 0 7 — 21

LSU 3  0 7 7 — 17

First quarter

LSU: Drew Alleman 38 field goal at 6:11. DRIVE: 12 plays, 53 yards, 4:53. KEY PLAYS: Russell Shepard 19 run gets the drive started. On third-and-4, Spencer Ware 4 run yields a first down at the Bama 25. On third-and-6, Zach Mettenberger rolls out and throws wide of Jarvis Landry, leading to the field goal. LSU 3, UA 0.

Second quarter

UA: Eddie Lacy 7 run at 8:17 (Jeremy Shelly kick). DRIVE: 11-92-6:00. KEY PLAYS: T.J. Yeldon 15 run gets the drive started. Christion Jones 16 pass from AJ McCarron puts the ball at the LSU 46. On third-and-6, Jones 11 pass from McCarron produces a first down at the LSU 7. UA 7, LSU 3.

UA: McCarron 9 run at 0:11. DRIVE: 6-63-0:57. KEY PLAYS: Alleman is short on 54 field goal, giving Bama the ball at its 37. Lacy 19 pass from McCarron moves the ball to the LSU 38. Ronald Martin pass interference penalty produces a first down at the 17. UA 14, LSU 3.

Third quarter

LSU: Jeremy Hill 1 run at 3:35 (Alleman kick). DRIVE: 13-58-6:59. KEY PLAYS: On third-and-7, Kadron Boone 19 pass from Mettenberger. On third-and 4, Hill 5 run. On third-and-5, Odell Beckham Jr. 6 pass from Mettenberger. On third-and-7, Jarvis Landry 10 pass from Mettenberger. UA 14, LSU 10.

Fourth quarter

LSU: Landry 14 pass from Mettenberger at 12:58 (Alleman kick). DRIVE: 7-90-3:13. KEY PLAYS: J.C. Copeland 42 pass from Mettenberger gives LSU a first down at the Bama 44. On third-and-7, Landry 23 pass from Mettenberger moves the ball to the 18. LSU 17, UA 14.

UA: Yeldon 28 pass from McCarron at 0:51 (Shelly kick). DRIVE: 5-72-0:43. KEY PLAYS: Kevin Norwood 18, 15, 11 passes from McCarron. UA 21, LSU 17.

FINAL SCORE: UA 21, LSU 17.

RECORDS: UA 9-0, 6-0 SEC. LSU 7-2, 3-2.

ATTENDANCE: 93,374.

Les East

THREE AND OUT

What we learned

That Alabama could respond when finally pushed to the brink. The Crimson Tide hadn’t trailed but 15 seconds in its first eight games, but faced with a do-or-die situation with 1:34 remaining down 17-14, Bama drove 72 yards for the game-winning score. The Tide’s BCS championship dreams didn’t die on this night.

Trending now

Zach Mettenberger. Everyone knew the quarterback needed to play his best game of the season for LSU to have a chance. He did, going 24 of 35 for a career-high 298 yards with a 14-yard TD pass to Jeremy Landry and no interceptions. He delivered pass after pass in the face of blitzes. Perhaps this will be the breakout performance he has needed.

Final thoughts

The Crimson Tide remains on track as ever to deliver the SEC’s seventh straight national title. LSU saw its championship hopes dashed in gut-wrenching fashion. Les Miles second-guessing will begin anew and last for months, this time not for doing too little but perhaps for trying too much.

Scott Rabalais

NUMBERS TO KNOW

1:40 Alabama’s combined time of possession on its touchdown drives to close each half (57 and 43 seconds).

23-8- 1 The record of the road team in the LSU-Alabama series since 1981.

298 Yards passing by LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, a career high.

HOT TOPICS

NOT SO SPECIAL TEAMS

ä LSU’s special teams were a big negative factor in the loss to top-ranked Alabama. LSU kicker Drew Alleman only made one of three field goals, missing from 54 and 45 yards. His miss from 45 yards with 1:34 remaining in the game set up Alabama for a five-play, 72 yard drive for the game-winning touchdown. LSU also failed to score in the first half when a fake field goal resulted in a minus-2 yard pass from punter/holder Brad Wing to Alleman.

ZACH COMES ALIVE

ä LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger had his best passing game at LSU, completing 24 of 35 passes for a carer-high 298 yards. He also threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jarvis Landry to give the Tigers a 17-14 lead with 12:58 remaining in the game.

ALL TRICKS, BUT NO TREAT

ä LSU coach Les Miles usually has success with his gimmick plays, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday. The Tigers lost two yards on a fake field goal pass. The team also had a recovery of an onside kick overturned when a player accidentally touched the ball before it went 10 yards. Even when Miles gambled on his kicker he lost when Alleman was short on a 54-yard field goal.

Tweet talk

“Could LSU wear Ala down in 4th, CBS guy asks. Yes. And I could steal off to Costa Rica tomorrow with Charlize Theron.”

@DaveKindred. Dave Kindred is a contributing writer to Sports on Earth.

“For the love of God can we please stop running the option against Alabama?”

@WillyB60. Will Blackwell is a former LSU guard.

“For what it’s worth, Spencer Ware is throwing passes with the #LSU quarterbacks during warmups.”

@perrynkeys. Keys is the Assistant Sports Editor at The Advocate.

“Mark Ingram is on the field with the #Alabama players, he’s moving at 2.5 yards a minute. #LSU”

@garlandgillen. Garland Gillen is a sports reporter for WVUE Fox 8 in New Orleans.

“Russell Shepard just ripped off his helmet and screamed toward the #LSU student section. We’ll see if that’s his biggest contribution 2nite.”

@perrynkeys

“Two drives, twice across midfield for #LSU. Must be something wrong.”

@ScottRabalais. Rabalais is a sportswriter at The Advocate.

“LSU’s offensive line is serious business!”

@RealJoeNamath. Joe Namath, who played at Alabama, led the New York Jets to their only Super Bowl win in 1969.

“My seat was just shaking a little bit in the press box. Not sure if I’ve ever felt that during the 1st quarter in Tiger Stadium.”

@Sheadixon. Shea Dixon works for 247 sports.

Alabama’s defense knows #LSU is very limited on offense. ... and Tigers know it too.”

@LesEast. East covers LSU football for The Advocate.

Pierce W. Huff

THUMBS UP

ä Zach Mettenberger: It took nine games, but Mettenberger finally had the type of game the LSU fans envisioned him having on a weekly basis. He completed 24 of 35 passes for a career-best 298 yards and one touchdown. He threw the ball with an authority and accuracy that was only seen in brief stretches prior to Saturday. He also did a good job of reading the Alabama coverages. After this type of game he should never be the same as a quarterback. Of course, it’s just too bad for LSU that Mettenberger’s best game came too late.

ä LSU receivers: The Tigers had three receivers, Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr. and Kadron Boone, with four or more catches. This group played with a skill and confidence level that was only seen in brief stretches earlier this year. Landry had eight catches for 76 yards and one touchdown. It was his best game of the year. his leaping catch gave LSU a 17-14 lead with 12:58 remaining in the game. Beckham had four catches for 73 yards. He made some nice leaping grabs. It was nice to see. Boone, who had a diving catch in the victory against Texas A&M, continued to play like a guy who has the best hands on LSU’s team.

ä LSU coach Les Miles: The Mad Hatter finally ran out of successful tricks. Why did LSU run a failed fake field goal and onside kick (althought it would have been successful were it not for an unlucky bounce)? The calls were an obvious indication that Miles thought LSU wasn’t good enough to line up head to head and defeat Alabama that way. The calls were examples of a coach trying too hard.

THUMBS DOWN

ä Penalties: LSU had seven penalties for 51 yards. Alabama had one penalty for 15 yards. Suddenly you can see the difference between the No. 10-ranked team and the Nl. 5-ranked team. LSU needed to play an almost perfect game to upset the defending champions. Instead, it made the same old mistakes it has made week in and week out this season.

ä Defense: For the first time this season LSU’s defense let it down. The Tide’s five-play, 72-yard drive for the game-winning touchdown was too easy. Quarterback A.J. McCarron completed 14 of 27 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown. The defense just couldn’t make the key plays when it had to.

Pierce W. Huff