Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Alabama has been the better team in the first half. But this being Les Miles and LSU, they're lucky they're even on the scoreboard and not behind.
The Tigers made the first major adjustment of the game, switching to Jordan Jefferson at quarterback for their final drive of the half and going to an option look with Michael Ford that paid big dividends. Jefferson then made the one big pass play that the Alabama secondary had to worry about (a 29-yarder to Russell Shepard) that set the Tigers up inside the 10. Credit to the Tide defense for getting the stop and for stopping everything but that one throw and the Jefferson option -- the Tigers had just 90 total yards aside from the completion to Shepard -- but it's a nasty reminder that LSU has enough big-play ability to neutralize any amount of dominance elsewhere.
As for The Tide , theywon't be happy with having scored a grand total of three points on four first-half drives inside the LSU 30, and the three misses from Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley hurt. But no college kicker is going to be reliable from 44, 50, or 49 yards (the length of said misses), making the bigger issue the Tide's passing difficulties once they get into LSU territory. McCarron has been accurate and his receivers open on the Tide's side of the field, but haven't been able to solve the LSU secondary otherwise; in LSU territory, McCarron is just 3-of-7 for 9 yards.
(It's debatable whether the Tide should have attempted the FGs at all. Given LSU's reliance on field position, pinning them deep and playing that game on them might have been a better option than asking the wobbly likes of Foster and Shelley to make tries of that length in the first place.)
Alabama can't be too upset--with an admirable 181 total yards vs. the LSU D, Richardson a terror as both rusher and receiver, the Jarrett Lee-Rueben Randle entirely shut down (1 ctach, 6 yards), and the turnover margin in their favor, they're playing well in nearly every department but the "finish the drive department." Too bad for them LSU is dangerous enough that that one department has been enough to keep the game tied ... and almost swung it in LSU's favor.