Nick Saban Gives Les Miles a Taste of Own Medicine in Alabama's Big Win over LSU

Sean FryeFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2013

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 09:  (L-R) Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers shakes hands with head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide before the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Nick Saban proved to America in Saturday's win over the LSU Tigers that he has no problem opening up the playbook the same way his counterpart at LSU, Les Miles, does. 

With the game tied midway through the third quarter and Alabama at its own 41, Saban called for a fake punt and it worked. That sparked the nation's top-ranked team to take the lead with a touchdown run by T.J. Yeldon that gave the Crimson Tide a 24-17 advantage. 

Alabama kept the momentum on the next drive, a 10-play, 71-yard masterpiece that included an attempted flea flicker and was punctuated with a 1-yard touchdown run by Yeldon. 

Miles is certainly no stranger to trick plays. In fact, he's known as the "Mad Hatter" because of how much he's willing to gamble in games. 

Saban's opening of the playbook is reminiscent of Miles' trickery against the Crimson Tide in years past. Last year on 4th-and-12 in the second quarter, Miles called for a fake field goal that was snuffed out by Alabama. 


That wasn't the first time LSU tried a fake field goal though. Against Florida in 2010, Miles had punter Derek Helton toss the ball over his head and behind his back to the kicker, who then picked up the first down that allowed the Tigers to beat the Gators. 

While the Tigers are certainly known for Miles' "Mad Hatter" tactics, the usually conservative Nick Saban is, surprisingly, not allergic to pulling a few fast ones himself.

Early in the 2011 season as Alabama was facing Arkansas, the Crimson Tide went for a fake field goal in which A.J. McCarron threw a 37-yard touchdown pass. 

What was most noticeable in Alabama's win against LSU on Saturday was how much the momentum changed after Saban went for the fake punt. The game had been gridlocked up to that point. But after that play, the Crimson Tide went on a 21-0 run to stay undefeated on the season.