by Kyle Van Pelt
LSU and Alabama entered Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, November 9 as the second and third best-rated college football teams by the NCAA, while many coaches and players believed either team to be the best team in the NCAA. LSU was coming off of an eight-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide, but they finally had a team with comparable talent to Alabama. In an explosive offensive game, Heisman favorite Joe Burrow led LSU to a 46-41 victory with 393 passing yards and 64 rushing.
Hype for this game was likely the greatest of any college football game this year. The best teams this year in what is historically the best NCAA conference draw a massive, excited viewing audience when they play–as the Tigers and Crimson Tide did. Networks airing the game postulated that this game could contend for the unofficial title of “Game of the Century” prior to kickoff. As the game occurred the same week as the 150th anniversary of college football, it was readily compared to games of the past also frequently called games of the century, such as the 1988 “Catholics vs. Convicts” game between Notre Dame and Miami. While it is very early to call this Alabama vs. LSU the game of the century, it will certainly be a well remembered game.
The rhythm of the game was set early in the first quarter. When Alabama was in the red zone, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa fumbled and LSU recovered the football. A few minutes later in the quarter, LSU scored their first touchdown. In the final minutes of the first quarter it appeared that Alabama was completely outmatched as the score was 10-0 LSU; however, Alabama scored a touchdown with apparent ease in the final two minutes of the quarter.
In the second quarter LSU again made the game appear to be a runaway victory leaving the halftime score at 33-10 LSU. Despite the significant point gap, Alabama put on a dazzling show in the third quarter with several runs and passes exceeding 20 yards. LSU did not score once in the third quarter, and by the early fourth quarter Alabama had brought the score up to 33-27 LSU.
Both teams made countless fantastic offensive plays again including multiple runs and passes exceeding 20 yards. In the final 1:30 of the game, LSU again appeared to be out of reach, but with a single pass gaining approximately 80 yards and a touchdown Alabama again made a comeback victory plausible. Despite Alabama’s valiant efforts, LSU recovered an onside kick and managed to keep the ball for the remaining 1:20 of playing time, winning the high scoring game and almost guaranteeing a spot in the SEC championship and NCAA playoffs.