Rapid Reaction: Wild! LSU's record day ends Alabama's reign
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LSU answered the biggest Saturday, finally slaying Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide 46-41, ending Alabama’s 8-year winning streak in the series.
There is not a better team in the country than the one that just dethroned the most indomitable team of the past decade.
This was LSU’s 4th victory over a top 10 victory this season — and obviously its most important and impressive. This was Alabama’s first loss at home since 2015, ending the nation’s longest streak. This was the most points LSU has scored in series history.
The Tigers’ performance was as legacy-changing as it was Playoff-defining.
And, perhaps, just maybe, it signaled a long-term changing of the guard in the SEC West.
This was LSU, finally, not only matching Alabama’s offensive firepower but exceeding it.
Ed Orgeron told his team all week, and probably longer, that it was the better team, that it had the better quarterback. Saturday, they proved it.
The Tigers jumped to a 10-0 lead in the 1st quarter, cashing in on Tua Tagovailoa’s fumble just when it appeared the Tide might strike first. Instead, LSU recovered at its 8 and Joe Burrow went to work.
Burrow went 3-for-3 for 74 yards, the final 33 coming on a TD toss to Ja’Marr Chase for a 7-0 lead. The lead grew to 10-0 before Jaylen Waddle returned a punt 77 yards for a TD to make it 10-7.
Burrow struck back, hitting 4 more passes, including a 29-yard TD toss to Terrace Marshall to make it 16-7. After that throw, Burrow was 9-for-9 for 149 yards and 2 TDs — as if he were playing Alabama A&M.
Tagovailoa, hobbled by a surgically-repaired right ankle, finally found his rhythm on Bama’s ensuing drive. He hit Jerry Jeudy on 2 passes and then delivered a dime on a go route to DeVonta Smith, who got behind Derek Stingley for a 64-yard TD to make it 16-13. Joseph Bulovas missed the PAT.
York, who also missed a PAT, connected on his 2nd FG to make it 19-13 just before halftime. That represented the most points LSU had scored against Alabama since 2010.
They weren’t done.
After forcing 3-and-out, LSU took over at its 39. Eight plays later, Clyde Edwards-Helaire dived over from the 1 to give the Tigers a 26-13 lead. Burrow had 2 big runs during the drive and a beautiful throw to Thaddeus Moss to set up the TD.
They still weren’t done.
Tagovailoa tossed an interception on Bama’s next play. Burrow promptly hit Edwards-Helaire for a TD — his 3rd TD pass of the half— to make it 33-13. Only twice in series history had LSU scored more — and the Tigers still had 2 quarters to go.
It was as shocking as Alabama’s comeback.
Alabama slowed down LSU in the second half. Tagovailoa hit Najee Harris for a TD to draw within 33-20. Moments later, Harris was back in the end zone, capping another long drive with a short TD run to make it 33-27.
Could Alabama do the unthinkable and erase a 20-point halftime deficit?
Burrow provided the answer. Twice he converted key 3rd downs to keep the chains moving. His QB draw on 3rd-and-5 gave LSU a 1st-and-goal. Edwards-Helaire ran in for a TD on the next play to provide some breathing room. The 2-point conversion failed, but the Tigers pushed their lead to 39-27 with 10:07 left.
Jeudy’s TD catch pulled the Tide within 39-34.
Alabama needed a stop. Burrow couldn’t be stopped. LSU couldn’t be stopped. Burrow drove them down the field and Edwards-Helaire ran it in from 7 yards to make it 46-34.
Tagovailoa answered with an 85-yard TD pass to DeVonta Smith to make it 46-41. Tagovailoa had 418 yards and 4 TDs. Somehow, that wasn’t enough. Burrow threw for 393 yards and 3 TDs.
LSU promised its offense was better. Saturday delivered the ultimate proof.
The only question remaining is: Who’s next?