College Football: LSU closer to BCS title game
Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 6, 2011
By Paul Newberry
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The defenses lived up to the billing in the latest Game of the Century. Neither No. 1 LSU nor No. 2 Alabama could reach the end zone Saturday night, not even with extra time.
The Tigers aren’t complaining.
They now have the inside track to the BCS title game.
Drew Alleman kicked a 25-yard field goal in overtime to lead LSU to a 9-6 victory over Alabama, which missed four field goals and squandered another scoring chance by throwing a goal-line interception — simply too many mistakes to overcome in a fierce defensive struggle that didn’t produce a lot of style points.
Or any points, for that matter.
“It didn’t go by the script,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “The key is to keep fighting, to find a way.”
Find a way, these Tigers did.
With a lot of help from the Crimson Tide.
“It’s a difficult pill to swallow,” said receiver Marquis Maze, who was hobbled by a leg injury and wound up at the center of two key miscues in the fourth quarter. “If everybody executes in the red area, that wasn’t even a close game. The defense played outstanding.”
Alabama missed four field goals, including Cade Foster’s 52-yard attempt after the Tide got the ball first in the extra period. LSU appeared to win the game on Michael Ford’s run around left end after taking a pitch, but he stepped out of bounds at the 7.
Two plays gained nothing, so LSU (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) sent on Alleman to attempt his third field goal of the game on third down. Alabama (8-1, 5-1) tried to freeze the junior kicker by calling timeout, but he calmly knocked it through to set off a wild celebration by the visiting team.
A small contingent in purple and gold chanted, “LSU! LSU! LSU!” The players ran to the far end of the field to celebrate with their band and the fans who made the trip from Louisiana.
“Before I went to bed last night, I was preparing for it,” Alleman said. “It’s every kicker’s dream, and I got to live it.”
The crowd of more than 100,000 at Bryant-Denny Stadium — most of them dressed in crimson — sat in stunned silence as LSU celebrated its victory in only the 23rd regular-season matchup between the top two teams in The Associated Press rankings.
LSU still must win its last three regular-season games — No. 8 Arkansas is the toughest test — and then would have to get through the SEC championship game. But the Tigers are the clear favorite after winning another huge game away from home, emerging with the victory in a matchup between two teams generally considered the best in the land.
And what if the BCS formula pits LSU against Alabama again in the national championship game?
“I’d be honored to face that team again,” Miles said.
The Crimson Tide isn’t giving up.
“They only beat us by three,” Maze said. “I hope we get that chance.”
If a rematch doesn’t work out, Alabama will long be moaning about how this one got away. Foster missed two first-quarter field goals, and Jeremy Shelley had one blocked before Shelley finally made one from 34 yards. Alleman kicked a 19-yarder on the final play of the first half, leaving the teams tied at 3 even though the Crimson Tide clearly had the upper hand.
Interceptions set up both field goals in the second half. Foster made one from 46 yards after Jarrett Lee threw his second pick of the game, then Alleman connected from 30 yards after AJ McCarron’s ill-timed throw was picked off by Morris Claiborne.
“Defense wins ball games,” Claiborne said. “That’s all I’ve got to say about that. You come out and you prepare hard and play like we did tonight, and you come out on top.”
LAS VEGAS — No. 5 Boise State (8-0, 3-0) beat UNLV as expected on Saturday night behind five touchdowns from Kellen Moore, but looked little like a national title contender during the first half.
It got better as the Broncos went on to win 48-21.
“We played all right, not spectacular,” Moore said after his 46th win, one more than former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy.
Broncos coach Chris Petersen said his team would have to do better against next week to beat TCU.
“That’s news to me that we threw five touchdowns. We were not clicking,” he said.
No. 6 Oregon 34, Washington 17
SEATTLE — For the second straight week it took Oregon a half to get rolling.
Once the sixth-ranked Ducks did, they overwhelmed Washington for the eighth straight time.
Now it’s safe for everyone to look ahead to next week’s showdown at No. 4 Stanford.
“It’s been 10 minutes. I guess we’re allowed to think about Stanford now,” Oregon offensive lineman Carson York said. “Maybe on the plane ride home.”
Oregon’s LaMichael James showed he is back from his elbow injury, running for 156 yards and a touchdown, and the Ducks forced three turnovers for a 34-17 win over Washington on Saturday night. Oregon extended the longest winning streak in the history of the rivalry between the border-state schools.
On a night filled with Washington nostalgia, as the school honored the 1991 co-national championship team and said goodbye to Husky Stadium in its current incarnation before a $250 million renovation, the Ducks (8-1, 6-0) quacked the party.
MIZZOU TO SEC
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — After weeks of waiting, Missouri’s move to the Southeastern Conference became official on Sunday.
The SEC released a statement saying the conference’s presidents and chancellors acted unanimously, and Missouri will join the league effective July 1, 2012.
Missouri will be leaving the Big 12, a conference it has been a part of since 1907, including its days as the Big Eight.
“The SEC is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri,” Missouri Chancellor Brady J. Deaton said.