The game of the century.
If you like top notch defense and teams bludgeoning one another, then the game lived up to the hype. If you wanted score after score in a back and forth shoot out, it wasn't for you.
In the end it comes down to missed opportunities. At face value the blame is placed on the Alabama kicking game. Four blown chances to put points on the board, but of course a loss is never that simple to explain.
Alabama had field position, and in a game like this, that type of real estate comes at a premium. Twice the Crimson Tide started drives just shy of the 50-yard line, one ended with a missed field goal, the other a thee-and-out.
On the opening drive of the game, Alabama moved the ball into LSU territory at the 30-yard line. On 1st-and-10, Trent Richardson was stuffed for a six-yard loss, which essentially killed the drive that ended with a missed field goal attempt.
On Alabama's next possession, they found themselves with a 1st-and-10 at the LSU 23, but were hit with a substitution infraction, causing them to start with a 1st-and-15. Behind the chains, once again, the Tide settle for a 50-yard field goal attempt, which was missed.
Early in the second quarter, Alabama had driven to the LSU 24, but Marquis Maze was brought down for a six-yard loss. Two plays later, Jeremy Shelley had his field goal attempt blocked.
Alabama continued to create chances, but always found a way to put themselves behind the eight-ball and come up empty-handed.
The biggest missed opportunity probably came when Marquis Maze was intercepted early in the fourth quarter. It was another promising drive, and the play call and execution seemed promising until LSU's Eric Reid closed the gap on a poorly thrown ball to Alabama's Michael Williams.
For all the special teams miscues and blown chances by the Tide offense, the defense juxtaposed that with probably its finest night of the year.
Countless times the Alabama D made play after play, created two turnovers and kept the Tigers out of the end zone. Their performance was mirrored by the LSU defense, which limited Alabama's Trent Richardson and made life difficult for Alabama through the air.
In games of this magnitude, you have to take advantage of any and all chances you get.
Alabama did not, and LSU was right there to scoop up the victory.
No one will dispute the effort displayed by these teams, and their separation from other potential foes in the top five, but as of right now, LSU controls its own destiny to play for the national title.
Alabama is on the outside looking in.
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