Rapid Reaction: Alabama escapes Death Valley classic, alive in Playoff
Quick thoughts from Alabama’s thrilling 20-13 overtime win at LSU:
What it means: The Crimson Tide’s fourth straight victory over a hated rival kept Alabama’s Playoff hopes alive and proved this year’s team has championship potential during a season that previously lacked a quality win.
What I liked: Blake Sims’ fearlessness on the big stage as a fifth-year senior in knee-rattling moments. Much like A.J. McCarron’s late-game heroics in Death Valley during the 2012 season, Sims led the Crimson Tide to a game-tying field goal with no timeouts in regulation before showing poise in overtime with a six-yard score to DeAndrew White. Sims avoided turnovers against the SEC’s best pass defense and executed in the clutch.
What I didn’t like: A couple uncharacteristic drops from Amari Cooper, including a mishandled slant with 21 seconds left in regulation near midfield. He still finished with a game-high eight catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Key plays: T.J. Yeldon’s 11th lost fumble of his career, perhaps his most crucial giveaway, nearly decided the outcome of an epic defensive battle. Adam Griffith’s 27-yarder forced overtime and Alabama’s secondary tightened its grip in the extra session, forcing Anthony Jennings into four consecutive incompletions to end the contest.
What’s next: Alabama hosts Mississippi State next weekend hoping to put the first blemish on the Bulldogs’ season.