Alabama explodes in second half to defeat LSU 38-17

Kevin Connell

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For the second year in a row, Alabama finished off LSU with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. For the second year in a row, Alabama escaped with a win.

The No. 1 Crimson Tide outlasted No. 13 LSU 38-17 Saturday night to keep its national championship hopes alive in what is annually one of the team’s biggest potential roadblocks.

Jalston Fowler scored the final touchdown of the game on a three-yard pass from McCarron with just over four minutes remaining in the game to effectively end any chances of an LSU win. The touchdown was the third consecutive touchdown for the Crimson Tide, which scored 21 unanswered points to close out the game after LSU tied the game at 17-17 on a field goal early in the third quarter.

“No matter what the record in this game, though, it always seems like both teams come out in this game and they have high expectations for how they want to play and what they want to do,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “But our guys did a great job of keeping their poise and staying focused on the things that they needed to do. [They] had to overcome some adversity in the game, but [I’m] really pleased with the way we got control of the game in the second half.”

Alabama led 17-14 at the half, but were outgained 232-to-193 in total offensive yards by the Tigers, after struggling to move the ball for much of the half. That changed after halftime.

“The second half was great,” wide receiver Kevin Norwood said. “We came out and did our job. Coach told us to put our foot down and play hard and physical, because LSU was going to give it their all. That’s what they did. We made a promise to each other we were just going to go out and play Bama ball.”

T.J. Yeldon carried the load in the second half with two short rushing touchdowns from inside the LSU five-yard line, before Fowler’s touchdown sealed it. The sophomore running back finished with 133 yards on 25 carries, in addition to his two scores.

“That dude’s awesome. I love blocking for him,” right guard Austin Shepherd said. “He sees it and makes cuts that are unbelievable, and he makes us look good and makes our job easy.”

Alabama took control of the game in the second half of the game on its opening possession with a fake punt from its own 47. Senior linebacker C.J. Mosley received the snap and handed off to cornerback Jarrick Williams, who picked up six yards and a first down on the play.

The Crimson Tide went on to score touchdowns on all three of its second-half drives, before running out the clock on its fourth and final possession.

“It was our toughest opponent yet probably, and it was going to be a great test for us, and we needed to play a 60-minute ball game and we came out and did that,” McCarron said.

McCarron finished the night 14-of-20 passing for 179 yards and three touchdowns. He broke the Alabama record for career passing yards set by John Parker Wilson during the second quarter.

Alabama (9-0) will travel to Starkville next Saturday to play the Mississippi State Bulldogs.