The Crimson Tide cut into a 20-point halftime deficit, but the Tigers hung on for the win
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 3 Alabama came up just short in a back-and-forth affair with No. 2 LSU, 46-41, in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. The Crimson Tide goes to 8-1 on the year with a 5-1 mark in Southeastern Conference play, while the Tigers are now 9-0 overall and 5-0 in SEC competition.
On offense, the Tide was led by junior running back Najee Harris, who had a big day with a career-best 146 rushing yards to go with two scores on the ground. Harris also tallied 44 receiving yards and one touchdown reception. Junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finished the game 21-of-40 for 418 yards and four scores. Junior wideout DeVonta Smith ended the night with his second 200-plus yard game of the season after compiling 213 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Junior defensive back Xavier McKinney tied his career high with 13 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a blocked extra point. Senior defensive backs Jared Mayden and Trevon Diggs each had career highs in tackles with Mayden finishing with 11 and Diggs totaling 10. Redshirt senior linebacker Anfernee Jennings added eight tackles and a career-high two sacks.
How It Happened
- LSU started the game by building a 10-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the contest.
- Sophomore return man Jaylen Waddle provided the spark for the Crimson Tide in the first quarter by taking the Tigers’ first punt 77 yards to the house, getting Alabama on the board with 1:14 on the clock.
- The Tigers used a 29-yard pitch-and-catch to go up 16-7 early in the second quarter. The extra point was blocked by McKinney to keep the LSU advantage at nine.
- Alabama responded when Tagovailoa found a wide-open Smith down the sideline for a 64-yard touchdown. The Tide missed the extra point to keep the score at 16-13 with 6:43 left before the half.
- LSU scored 17 points in the final five minutes of the half to take the 33-13 advantage into the break.
- Stout defense kept the game scoreless in the first 10 minutes of the second half, before Alabama found the end zone when Harris made a leaping grab at the goal line for a 15-yard score to cap the 10-play, 95-yard touchdown drive. Alabama trailed 33-20 with 4:51 left in the third period.
- Following an LSU punt, the Alabama offense picked up where it left off with another scoring drive, this time driving 78 yards in nine plays. Harris leapt into the endzone from one yard out, cutting the deficit to 33-27 with 14:33 remaining in the game.
- The Tigers responded with a touchdown of their own to make it 39-27 after the two-point conversion failed, giving LSU a 12-point edge with 10:07 to go.
- Alabama answered with another touchdown after putting together a methodical 14-play, 75-yard which included two fourth-down conversions. The drive was capped by Tagovailoa finding Jeudy on fourth-and-two from the LSU five-yard line for the score. After the extra point, Alabama trailed 39-34 with 5:32 left in the game.
- On the next LSU drive, the Tigers found the end zone again to push the lead back to 46-34 with 1:37 on the clock.
- Alabama’s next offensive play from scrimmage resulted in a touchdown when Tagovailoa connected with Smith for his second long score of the game, this time for an 85-yard pitch-and-catch.
- In the final drive of the game, LSU picked up a first down to seal the victory at 46-41.
Players of the Game
- Harris sparked the offense in the third quarter. The Antioch, Calif., native had all three of his catches for 44 yards and a touchdown in the third to go along with 83 of his 146 rushing yards in the same frame. On the night, he averaged 7.7 yards per carry.
- Waddle’s 77-yard punt return in the first quarter gave Alabama its first points of the game and set a new career-long punt return. The return score was the second of his career and first of the season.
- Smith notched his second 200-plus yard receiving performance of the season after hauling in 213 yards against the Tigers. With that, he became the first UA receiver with multiple 200-yard games in a season since Amari Cooper in 2014. He continues to pace the Tide with 934 yards on the year.
- In addition to his 13 tackles on the night, McKinney also set a new career best in sacks with two and tackles for loss with 2.5 for a total of 13 yards while adding a quarterback hurry.
- The Crimson Tide outscored the Tigers 28-13 in the second half, while also outgaining LSU 345-250 in the final two quarters.
- The Alabama defense had five sacks compared to LSU’s one on the night.
- Alabama hits the road to take on Mississippi State next Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss. Kickoff between the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs is slated for 11 a.m. CT and the game will air on ESPN.