The undisputed game of the year was full of exciting headlines before the opening kickoff. A transfer quarterback turned Heisman favorite and his team was set to faceoff a College Football dynasty on the road with playoff implications on the line. Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, who is also a Heisman candidate, was a game-time decision to start in this matchup after suffering a high ankle sprain on Saturday, October 19th in a game against Tennessee. LSU hadn’t beaten Alabama since 2011 and was looking to prove themselves as not only title contenders but as title favorites with a win over their SEC rival.
First Quarter: LSU 10, Alabama 7
Alabama looked to be off to a dominating start after marching all the way down the field to start the game, getting all the way down to the LSU 8-yard line. On 3rd & Goal, Tagovailoa fumbled the ball and it was recovered by LB Ray Thorton, giving LSU a chance to get on the board first. While LSU feels that they have been neglected in Championship conversation, Joe Burrow’s talent and overall skill is no secret. He showed this talent by slicing through the Alabama defense for a 33-yard touchdown pass to WR Ja’Marr Chase on their first possession, putting the Tigers up 7-0. This drive took 6 plays that covered 92 yards in just 2 minutes and 46 seconds, including three straight passes by Burrow that were over 30 yards. Looking for redemption after their first drive, Alabama would come up short yet again and punt the ball right back. LSU’s next possession was nowhere near as nice as their first. Two penalties by the Tide would help LSU gain some momentum, but an incompletion, a sack, and a 12-yard run on a 3rd and 17 would lead to the Tigers settling for a 40-yard field goal by kicker Cade York to give them a 10-0 lead. Alabama would finally get on the board with a 77-yard punt return touchdown by WR Jaylen Waddle, cutting their deficit to 10-7.
Second Quarter: LSU 33, Alabama 13
Burrow would connect with WR Terrace Marshall Jr. for a 29-yard touchdown pass to extend LSU’s lead to 16-7 early on in the 2nd quarter. Alabama would make it a 3-point game yet again in a 4-play drive. Tagovailoa would throw a 64-yard touchdown pass to WR Devonta Smith and a failed extra point by kicker Joseph Bulovas would make the score 16-13. A 45-yard field goal by York in the next possession would give the Tigers a one-score lead again at 19-13. An incomplete pass, a reception for a loss and a delay of game penalty by Alabama would quickly hand the ball back over. An 8-play drive by the Tigers led to a 1-yard touchdown run by RB Clyde Edwards- Helaire to cushion their lead to 26-13. Tagovailoa would try to minimize the damage on their next possession, but an interception by LB Patrick Queen on the first play of this drive would end those hopes for the time being. This would set up LSU at the Alabama 26-yard line and a 13-yard touchdown reception by Edwards-Helaire in the final 5 seconds of the first half would make the score 33-13.
Third Quarter: LSU 33, Alabama 20
LSU would get the ball to start the second half, and they were driving down the field and got all the way down to Alabama’s 36-yard line, but DB Xavier McKinney would sack Burrow and force a fumble that was recovered by LB Terrell Lewis. This fumble recovery wouldn’t result in anything for Alabama after the LSU defense forced a 3 & out. Running back Najee Harris would be the star of the next possession, with 4 rushing plays for 50 yards and 2 receptions for 38 yards including a 15-yard touchdown reception to make the score 20-33. A 5 play drive that resulted in a punt would give Alabama the ball in a possession that would extend through the end of the 3rd quarter into the start of the 4th quarter.
Fourth Quarter: LSU 46, Alabama 41
A 1-yard touchdown run by Harris in just under 30 seconds into the 4th quarter would make it a one-score game at 33-27. LSU would try to extend their lead on their next possession, and Burrow would use Chase and Edwards-Helaire on this drive to get it done. Edwards-Helaire continued to shine in this game with a 5-yard touchdown run for his second touchdown of the game and despite an unsuccessful 2-point conversion, the Tigers would have some breathing room at 39-27. Tagovailoa would not let LSU get too comfortable and he would answer with a 75-yard drive that ended in a 5-yard touchdown reception by Jerry Jeudy, making it a 5-point game at 39-34. Burrow would seemingly put the game to bed after leading a 75-yard drive that would set Edwards-Helaire up for his 3rd rushing touchdown of the game, giving LSU a 46-34 lead with 1 minute and 37 seconds to go. But an 85-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to WR Devonta Smith on the following possession would make it a 5-point game again at 46-41. But LSU would be able to secure the victory and make a statement in the college football world that will surely shake up the CFP rankings.