Tucsaloosa, Alabama may prove to be a very lonely place for Alabama Crimson Tide kickers, Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley as they would both combine to miss four field-goals including a potential game winner in overtime in a 9-6 defeat at the hands of the LSU Tigers.
In a game that featured the #1 and #2 teams in the BCS, top-ranked LSU and #2 Alabama, this highly-anticipated match-up was a white-knuckle, low-scoring, field-position defensive clinic worthy of a classic Big 10 game right out of the 1970’s.
Crimson Tide running back—and Heisman Trophy candidate–Trent Richardson was held in check by the stout LSU defense as he would rush 23 times for 89 yards.
Tigers running back Michael Ford would run for 72 yards on 11 carries.
Both teams basically neutralized each other’s passing game as Crimson Tide quarterback A.J McCarron would go 16-of-28 for 199 yards and toss a costly interception to Tigers safety Eric Reid at LSU’s one-yard line.
While LSU still has its own quarterback controversy to sift through, there is no debate in what leads this Tigers team—defense and special teams—as they would shut down Alabama’s playmakers in Richardson and wide receiver Marquis Maze.
The Crimson Tide were not helped by LSU’s 72-yard punt to Maze—who had a tender ankle late in the fourth quarter, Maze would let the ball sail over his head for an additional 22 yards, would ultimately pin the Tide in against the relentless LSU defense.
While LSU would go on to kick the game-winning field-goal in overtime, the Tigers and Tide showed the defensive intensity and grinding physicality worthy of a BCS title game.
There was talk back in 2006 when the top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the #2 ranked Michigan Wolverines 42-39 in an instant classic, the talk of an OSU-Michigan BCS Championship Game rematch would prove futile as the Buckeyes would end up getting man-handled by the Florida Gators 41-17.
College fans may try to make a case for the likes of Boise State, Stanford and Oklahoma State, but a LSU-Alabama rematch in the BCS Championship Game in the Tigers backyard of New Orleans makes the most sense.
Consider that both teams play in the toughest—bar none—conference in college football, and while The Broncos and Cardinal may boast Heisman Trophy-worthy quarterbacks in Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore, the reality is that both of them would get slaughtered by the speed and talent of a SEC team.
Despite going 112-16 in the last decade—Boise State is hurt by playing in a non-BCS conference, Stanford has had a relatively soft schedule in playing the likes of an overrated Notre Dame team , and a USC team on probation and a quirky Oregon Ducks squad—who lost to LSU.
Which makes the case for a LSU-Alabama rematch even more valid is the strength of schedule in both teams which have played a total of ten ranked teams and still have games against #10 ranked Arkansas and defending national champion, Auburn.
This game not only lived up to the hype, but exceeded them in the pure display of hard hits, special teams and classic chess game of field position.
While this defensive clinic was worthy of any Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game in the NFL, you cannot help but feel that this game was more than just a unofficial national semifinal—but more like a round one of a two-game series—with the teams showing that they deserve to meet again in New Orleans.
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