No. 1 Tide rallies by LSU
BATON ROUGE - Top-ranked Alabama used a 72-yard drive in the final two minutes to escape Tiger Stadium with a 21-17 victory over fifth-ranked LSU on Saturday night.
LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) overcame an 11-point deficit to take a 17-14 lead early in the fourth quarter and looked to be on its way to earning a thrilling victory behind an efficient offense and a stout second-half defense.
However, the Crimson Tide needed only five plays and 43 seconds to score the go-ahead touchdown with 51 seconds remaining.
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron led the Tide into LSU territory and dumped a screen pass to running back T.J. Yeldon who scampered 28 yards for the back-breaking score against an LSU defense that had only allowed 49 yards in the second half.
After converting a pair of scoring drives in the final minute of each half, the Crimson Tide remained undefeated at 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference.
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger had a career night against the top-rated Tide defense, completing 24-of-34 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked three times, but helped LSU convert 7-of-11 third downs in the second half with clutch throws in tight quarters.
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry led the Tigers with eight catches and 76 yards with a go-ahead 14-yard touchdown catch with 12:58 remaining. Odell Beckham Jr. added 73 yards on four grabs including a 22-yarder on LSU's penultimate drive that ended in a missed field goal that would have put the Tigers ahead by six.
LSU running back Jeremy Hill had 107 yards rushing and eclipsed the century mark for the third-straight game, the first Tiger to do so since 2008. Hill had 29 of LSU's 49 carries.
The Tigers outgained the Tide, 435-331 and ran 33 more plays (85-52).
However, LSU missed two field goals, had a failed fake field goal and an onside kick that was touched by the kicker too soon.
Alabama made mistakes of its own - two fumbles, one of which was at the LSU 10 - but came away from the slugfest with victory.
McCarron's final scoring possession highlighted an otherwise average performance for the Heisman Trophy candidate. He managed 14-of-27 passing for 165 yards, of which 53 came in the deciding drive. McCarron also scored on a 9-yard scramble with 11 seconds remaining in the first half.
Alabama running back Eddie Lacy had a team-high 83 yards and one touchdown while Yeldon added 76. Kevin Norwood had a team-best five catches for 62 yards including a three for 44 yards to setup the Tide's final score.
Sam Montgomery led the LSU defense with a fumble recovery and sack.