Tide Falls to LSU in Heartbreaker
By Scott Latta - UA Media Relations
November 3, 2007
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – In a game that featured five lead changes and
five turnovers between the two teams, a late Alabama fumble made
the difference as the No. 3 LSU Tigers defeated the No. 17 Crimson
Tide 41-34 Saturday in front of a sold-out Bryant-Denny Stadium.
DJ Hall and Matt Cadell after DJ scores a touchdown against LSU
With the game tied at 34-34 and Alabama facing third-and-12 at its
own 30, LSU safety Chad Jones broke through on a blitz and forced
an Alabama fumble, which the Tigers recovered at the Alabama
three-yard line. Two plays later, LSU tailback Jacob Hester
broke through the goal line for the game-winning touchdown.
"I was proud of the way our players competed," Alabama coach Nick
Saban said. "LSU has a good football team, especially defensively.
They had seven sacks in the game and a lot of pressures...They have
an outstanding team, but we didn't do as good of a job at executing
the way we needed to, to be able to have success at what we need to
do to get the job done."
LSU had tied the game before the turnover after a 61-yard punt return
for a touchdown from Alabama sophomore Javier Arenas gave Alabama a
34-27 lead. The return tied the Alabama career record for punt
returns for a touchdown at three, equalling the total achieved by
former Alabama player Harry Gilmer (1944-46). It was the sixth time
this season Arenas broke a punt or kick return for more than 45 yards.
"Javy works hard every game," said Saban on Arenas, who also played
significant time in the Alabama secondary. "It's important to him.
We're going to reinforce that with more playing time."
After Alabama took a 20-17 lead into the locker room at halftime,
the teams traded five punts before Wilson orchestrated a nine-play,
80-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass to
senior Keith Brown. The score gave Alabama a 27-17 lead with 1:19
left in the third quarter.
Two plays later, however, LSU quarterback Matt Flynn hit Demetrius
Byrd on the left sideline for a 61-yard touchdown pass to pull to
within three at 27-24, and after an Alabama punt, Flynn led LSU on
a five-play drive that kicker Colt David capped with a 49-yard
game-tying field goal to pull the Tigers even at 27-27 with just over
11 minutes left in the game.
Most of the damage on offense for Alabama came through the air,
with Wilson going 14-of-40 for 234 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior DJ Hall caught two passes for 76 yards and a touchdown,
Brown caught two passes for 43 yards and two touchdowns, and
senior Matt Caddell had three catches for 55 yards.
On the ground, senior Jonathan Lowe had 10 carries for 31 yards and
freshman Terry Grant had 13 carries for 23 yards.
"We play one play at a time," Brown said. "Every play has its own
history. We just play our game. We just have to execute. Those guys
made great plays. We have great receivers who can make great plays.
That was our thought the whole game.
"They would get up and it was like 'Let's go answer the phone and
go back out there and do what we do best.' It was just a great
game all around."
After Alabama took the opening drive of the game 44 yards and capped
it with a 36-yard Leigh Tiffin field goal, LSU scored 17 unanswered
points to take a 14-point lead in the second quarter.
Alabama then closed out the first half with 17 unanswered points of
its own, getting a 67-yard touchdown from Wilson to Hall to draw
within seven at 17-10 before the Alabama defense picked off Flynn
passes on three consecutive drives. An interception by junior
Ezekial Knight at the LSU five led to a 21-yard field goal from
Tiffin to pull the Tide to within four at 17-13, before an
interception from freshman Kareem Jackson set up a touchdown
from Wilson to Brown to give Alabama a three-point lead with 46
After LSU moved the ball deep into Alabama territory, Jackson then
blocked a 46-yard field goal attempt from David as time expired in
the second quarter. Johnson led the Alabama defense with nine
tackles, including one for loss. Senior Wallace Gilberry had eight
tackles and three sacks and forced one fumble.
"We just couldn't finish the little things," senior Darren Mustin
said. "It hurts pretty bad but you can't have a hangover from this
for the whole season. We have to get our stuff together and learn
from this over the next 24 hours and get ready for the next few
games we have."
Alabama travels to Starkville, Miss. next Saturday to face the
Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-4, 2-3 SEC) at Davis Wade Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and will be broadcast on
Lincoln Financial Sports.