TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- An 18-yard run by Alabama's Trent Richardson on the first play of scrimmage Saturday night against LSU not only delighted the crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but it gave the junior tailback his first 1,000-yard season.
Richardson, who rushed for 751 yards as a freshman and 700 as a sophomore, entered the hyped No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup with 989 yards through eight games. He finished with 89 yards on 23 carries in the 9-6 overtime loss to the Tigers.
"It's not like we played a sorry team," Richardson said. "They're No. 1 for a reason."
The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder from Pensacola, Fla., became the 11th Crimson Tide player to run for 1,000 yards in a season, and this is the 15th time an Alabama rusher has surpassed the mark. Richardson's former teammate, Mark Ingram, set Alabama's single-season rushing mark in 2009 with 1,658 yards.
Entering Alabama's Oct. 22 game against Tennessee, Richardson had been ahead of Ingram's '09 pace.
When Alabama and LSU went to the half tied at 3-3, it marked the lowest scoring first half in a Crimson Tide contest since the 2007 game against Florida State in Jacksonville. The Tide and Seminoles went into halftime of that game scoreless.
The low first half Saturday was nothing new to the series, because the last two Alabama-LSU games before this one had 7-3 halftime scores.
With 38 seconds remaining in the first quarter, LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee threw across midfield and was intercepted by Alabama safety Robert Lester at the Tide 47-yard line. Lee, who set an NCAA single-season record in 2008 when seven of his 16 interceptions were returned for touchdowns, had not been picked off since the fourth quarter of a Sept. 15 win at Mississippi State.
Lester's pickoff also was the first LSU turnover of any kind since then, as the Tigers went the entire month of October without giving the ball away.
Alabama, which intercepted Lee again in the third quarter, has at least one interception in eight of nine games this season, the lone exception being the rout of North Texas. The Tide have picked off at least one pass in 18 of 21 games dating back to the start of the 2010 season.
Saturday was just the second home loss for Alabama since the start of the 2008 season, with the other being last season's 28-27 loss to eventual BCS champion Auburn. ... Senior cornerback DeQuan Menzie had to be helped off the field midway through the second quarter after LSU receiver Odell Beckham landed on him, but he returned quickly. ... When Jeremy Shelley kicked a 34-yard field goal with 3:53 left in the first half, Alabama became the first team all season to score first against LSU. ... Alabama has allowed 10 or fewer points in the first half of 16 consecutive games, a streak that started after last season's loss at South Carolina.
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 ...