TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- One of the biggest questions entering Saturday night's college football clash at Bryant-Denny was how Alabama and LSU would handle a 60-minute game after blowing out eight opponents each by double digits.
As it turned out, 60 minutes wasn't enough.
Drew Alleman's 25-yard field goal in overtime catapulted the No. 1 Tigers to a riveting 9-6 win over No. 2 Alabama in a game that evoked the old-school days of big hits and field position. With the victory, the Tigers improved to 9-0 overall and have their first 6-0 start in SEC play since 1961.
"Everybody associated with the University of Alabama can be disappointed, but nobody hurts right now more than the players," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I don't feel like we took advantage of the opportunities that we had, and that was the difference in the game."
Alleman's kick was set up by Michael Ford's 15-yard run around left end to the Crimson Tide 7.
The game ended with Tigers players racing around the field and with LSU coach Les Miles getting mobbed by cameras as he worked his way to midfield to greet Saban.
Two hours before kickoff, Miles added to the frenzy of the special day. As he walked out on the field, he immediately was met with booing from Alabama's student section. Miles waved as he continued toward the student section and then stopped and saluted them.
Alabama's overtime possession was a disaster. The Crimson Tide committed a substitution violation and AJ McCarron suffered a 5-yard sack before a 52-yard Cade Foster field-goal try didn't have the distance or the accuracy.
Trent Richardson finished with 89 yards on 23 carries, losing 9 yards on his last two carries as the Tigers seized late-game momentum.
Alabama took a 6-3 lead midway through the third quarter on a 46-yard Foster field goal that was set up by a Mark Barron interception. The Tigers tied it 6-6 within the first minute of the fourth quarter after Morris Claiborne intercepted a McCarron pass at midfield and raced 35 yards to the Tide 15.
LSU punter Brad Wing gave Richardson a run for MVP honors, booming a punt out of his end zone 73 yards with nine minutes remaining. Wing, a redshirt freshman from Melbourne, Australia, had punts downed at the 5- and 4-yard line during the first half.
Alabama took a 3-0 lead at the 3:53 mark of the second quarter on a 34-yard field goal by Jeremy Shelley. The score was set up by a 39-yard pass from McCarron to Richardson to the LSU 19, which was the first time all night either team reached the red zone.
LSU got inside the 20 on its ensuing possession when Jordan Jefferson connected with Rueben Randle for 34 yards to the Crimson Tide 8. That set up a 19-yard Alleman field goal at the halftime horn that knotted the game at 3-3.
Richardson finished the first half with 53 yards on 11 carries and another 61 yards on three receptions, and his 114 total yards were 62 percent of Alabama's first-half offense.
"It's tough out there," Saban said at halftime. "We have to finish moving the ball down the field offensively. We got to the 30-yard line four times and missed three field goals. That's where we've just got to get points on the board and get down the field and into the end zone."
Richardson had an 18-yard run and a 22-yard reception on the game's first two plays from scrimmage to take Alabama down to LSU's 30-yard line, but the drive stalled and Foster pushed a 44-yard field goal wide right. Foster was short and right on a 50-yard attempt late in the first quarter to halt a Crimson Tide possession that began at their 5-yard line.
Shelley replaced Foster to try a 49-yard attempt early in the second quarter, but the low kick was blocked by Bennie Logan and returned by Eric Reid 26 yards to the Alabama 48.
“This was a great night,” Miles said. “Tough football. Not necessarily a pretty game, but it had a nice ending.”
Not long after the game, talk about a possible rematch surfaced.
“If it happens, it happens,” Tide linebacker Nico Johnson said. “The only thing we can control is what we do down the road.”
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...