LSU Football vs. Alabama: The Top 10 Games in Series History
On Saturday afternoon, No. 6 Alabama and No. 10 LSU (both 7-1, 4-1) battle on the gridiron for the 74th time. Personally, I'm upset because it was originally scheduled as a night game at Death Valley. Thank the suits at CBS for moving it to 3:30 p.m./ET.
Anyway, the rivalry originated 1895, and Alabama leads the all-time series 45-23-5. The teams have met annually in early November since 1964.
One the unique things about this series is how much success the road team has had. From 1971 to 1999, the Crimson Tide went 14-0-1 in Baton Rouge. Conversely, LSU was 10-3 in the state of Alabama from 1982 to 2007.
In 2007, the meeting garnered more attention when Alabama hired head coach Nick Saban—who previously coached LSU from 2000-04.
With that as a backdrop, here are the top 10 games in the Alabama-LSU series.
No. 10: Nov. 10, 1979 — Alabama 3, LSU 0
On a very rainy night in Baton Rouge, the top-ranked Crimson Tide (8-0) got a defensive struggle with a rag-tag LSU (5-3) squad.
Despite rushing for 252 yards, the Alabama offense grounded to a halt near the goal line. Their only score came when Alan McElroy converted a 27-yard field goal with 8:43 in the third quarter.
Alabama's defense held LSU to 164 total yards and picked off Tigers QB Steve Ensminger twice in their closet victory of the season.
No. 9: Nov. 8, 1986 — LSU 14, Alabama 10
Sixth-ranked Alabama outplayed 18th ranked LSU in Birmingham, outgaining them 387 yards to 237. But the Tiger's defense made key stops, forcing three of Bama's four turnovers in the second half.
Twice LSU stripped Tide RB Bobby Humphery of the ball inside the Tigers 15-yard line—one recovered by Greg Jackson and the other by Kevin Guidry in the end zone. With just over two minutes left, Tigers MLB Eric Hill intercepted Mike Shula to seal the win.
No. 8: Nov. 7, 1998 — Alabama 22, LSU 16
LSU was 3:16 away from beating Alabama in Baton Rouge for the first time since 1969. Then, with a 16-7 lead, the Tigers defense caved in.
In less than a minute, Crimson Tide QB Andrew Zow hit RB Shaun Alexander on a 21-yard TD pass. Then Alabama recovered the ensuing onside kick at the LSU 40. With 38 seconds left on the clock, Zow found Quincy Jackson for the 25-yard game-winning TD pass. Zow completed the 2-point conversion pass to Michael Vaughn for the final score.
No. 7: Nov. 6, 1999 — Alabama 23, LSU 17
Yet another game where Alabama (6-2) dominated, but LSU (2-6) hung around until the very end. The 12th-ranked Tide, headed by QB Tyler Watts, were cruising with a 23-7 lead.
Then the Tigers scored 10 unanswered points on a 66-yard pick-six by DT Johnny Mitchell at the end of the third quarter and a John Carbello FG midway through the fourth. After Bama kicker Ryan Pflugner missed a 27-yard FG attempt, LSU got the ball back with 2:23 remaining.
Tigers QB Josh Booty drove LSU from its own 20 to the Alabama 1-yard line. On the last play of the game, Booty ran for the end zone off right tackle but was stopped short by Reggie Myles and Marvin Constant as time expired.
No. 6: Nov. 4, 2000 — LSU 30, Alabama 28
Tied at 14 after three quarters, LSU was determined to get their first home win over Alabama since 1969.
Alabama RB Dustin McClintock scored a on 1-yard TD three minutes into the fourth quarter. Then LSU scored three times in the next seven minutes (two of Josh Booty's four TD passes, and a 28-yard Carbello FG). Tide WR Freddie Milons caught a 13-yard TD with seven seconds remaining, but LSU recovered the ensuing onside kick to preserve the victory.
Tigers strong safety Lionel Thomas encapsulated the significance of the win, "The last time we beat them, man walked on the moon. We're part of history now."
No. 5: Nov. 6, 1993 — LSU 17, Alabama 13
Alabama entered this game the reigning national champions, on a 31-game unbeaten streak, with the No. 5 ranking and a 25-point favorite over LSU, who sported a 3-5 record.
The Mobile Register headline that day declared: TIDE COULD LOSE, PIGS MIGHT FLY. Columnist Jimmy Wigfield wrote: "[Alabama head coach Gene] Stallings will be merciful to his old pal [LSU head coach Curly] Hallman. Alabama 30, LSU 7."
After a scoreless first half, LSU jumped on top 14-0 with a pair of 2-yard TD runs in the third quarter. The Tigers defense terrorized Bama QBs all game with four sacks and four interceptions. The Tide scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 17-13 with 2:41 remaining.
Alabama tried an onside kick but touched the ball before it went 10 yards, and LSU ran out the clock.
Then-LSU center Kevin Mawae said, "I've always dreamed about being Alabama, and I did it today."
The next day's [Baton Rouge] Morning Advocate headline read BELIEVE IT! "Pigs will fly."
No. 4: Nov. 8, 2008 — Alabama 27, LSU 21 OT
This matchup featured the return of Alabama head coach Nick Saban to Death Valley, where he led LSU to the 2003 BCS National Championship. It was also Alabama's first game as the No. 1 team since 1980.
The contest was a back-and-forth struggle (three ties, three lead changes) and plagued with seven turnovers (three by Alabama in the first half and four Jarrett Lee interceptions).
Tied at 21 on the final play of regulation, LSU's Darry Beckwith blocked the potential game-winning 29-yard FG attempt of Alabama kicker Leigh Tiffin.
In overtime, LSU got the ball first. Three plays in, Lee was intercepted by Rashad Johnson in the end zone. On Bama's third play, QB John Parker Wilson dove over the pile from a yard out for the win.
No. 3: Nov. 3, 2007 — LSU 41, Alabama 34
A year earlier, Saban had his first encounter with his former team in a see-saw affair in Tuscaloosa.
One play into the second quarter, LSU led 17-3. Then Alabama scored 24 straight points to go up 27-17 late in the third. A 61-yard Demetrius Byrd TD catch and a Colt David FG tied the game at 27 all.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Javier Arenas electrified the Bryant-Denny Stadium crowd with a 61-yard punt return touchdown to give Bama a 34-27 lead.
But with Les Miles at the helm, LSU pulled off its third miracle win a month on their way to the BCS National Championship that season.
With under three minutes to play, LSU scored two touchdowns. First Tigers QB Matt Flynn hit Early Doucet on a 32-yard crossing pattern. Then the Tigers defense forced a sack and fumble recovery from Tide QB John Parker Wilson at the Alabama 4-yard line. Two plays later, Jacob Hester scored a 1-yard TD, and LSU won 41-34.
This is the highest-scoring game in the Alabama-LSU series.
No. 2: Nov. 12, 2005 — LSU 16, Alabama 13 OT
No. 3 Alabama (9-0) and No.5 LSU (7-1) battled to remain the the national title hunt in this defensive tussle.
The Tide led 10-0 at halftime on a 28-yard Jaime Christensen FG and 8-yard D.J. Hall TD catch. LSU evened the score midway through the third quarter with a 1-yard Justin Vincent TD run and 42-yard Chris Jackson field goal.
The Tigers blew chances to win the game in the fourth quarter when Jackson missed 47- and 49-yard FG attempts.
Alabama couldn't move the ball on its first overtime possession and settled for a 35-yard field goal to lead 13-10.
LSU advanced to the 11-yard line on its opening possession. Then on 3rd and 6, JaMarcus Russell rolled right and threw a bullet over the middle to Dwayne Bowe for the game-winning touchdown.
No. 1: Nov. 5, 1988 — LSU 19, Alabama 18
What looked like an easy victory early on for No. 18 Alabama turned into a nail-biter versus No. 13 LSU.
The Tide sprinted to a 15-0 lead in the second quarter on three Philip Doyle field goals and a 2-yard David Casteal TD run.
Despite committing four second half turnovers, the Tigers clawed their way back. Down 15-10 in the third, LSU QB Tommy Hodson found Tony Moss for a 48-yard TD to give LSU its first lead 16-15.
Alabama regained the lead 18-16 midway through the fourth on a 20-yard Doyle FG. With under three minutes left, LSU drove 68 yards, and David Browndyke booted a 34-yard FG to put the Tigers up 19-18 with 28 seconds left.
Alabama QB David Smith completed two passes that put the ball at the LSU 37. Doyle attempted a game-winning 54-yard field goal that fell a foot short as time expired.