Alabama romped to another college football title by beating top-ranked Louisiana State University (LSU) 21-0 in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title game on Monday, using a smothering defense, a numbing barrage of field goals and one belated touchdown.
The Crimson Tide posted the first shutout in the 14-year history of the BCS, relying on Jeremy Shelley’s right boot for most of the points — he made a bowl record-tying five field goals — and letting their defense do the rest.
While only crimson-clad fans will remember the game fondly, Alabama clinched their second title in three years and erased any doubts that they deserved to be in the decider above candidates such as Oklahoma State or Stanford.
Then again, one of those teams might have actually scored a touchdown before Alabama finally did, with 4 minutes, 36 seconds left in the game, long after the game had been decided.
These powerhouse teams played each other twice in a span of about two months and amazingly did not score a single touchdown until Trent Richardson broke off a 34-yard run.
“We certainly didn’t play a perfect game, we got a field goal blocked, we couldn’t find the end zone for a long time, but we just kept playing,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “Our offensive team did a great job. Defensively, we just played well, played the box. Our special teams did a great job.”
LSU had beaten eight ranked teams — including Alabama in early November — to establish themselves as the clear No. 1 going into the bowls, but the Tigers crossed midfield only once and that was with eight minutes left in a mini-drive that looked like it might finally breath some life into the game.
However the Tigers — who were outgained 384-92 in total yards and managed just five first downs — were immediately driven back. The last gasp was appropriately the sight of beleaguered quarterback Jordan Jefferson getting the ball knocked from his hand before he could even get off a pass on fourth-and-18.
Saban has won a pair of BCS titles at Alabama, plus another at LSU in 2003. He is the first coach to win three BCS titles, denying LSU’s Les Miles his second championship. The Tigers will have to settle for the Southeastern Conference title, but that is not likely to ease the sting of this ugly performance.
LSU simply could not do anything — running or passing. Kenny Hilliard led the Tigers with 16 yards rushing, while Jefferson was 11 of 17 passing for 53 yards, usually hurrying away passes before he was sent tumbling to the Superdome turf.
Jefferson was sacked four times and threw one mystifying interception when he attempted to flip away a desperation pass, only to have it picked off because his intended receiver had already turned upfield looking to block.
Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron was the offensive MVP, completing 23 of 34 for 234 yards. Richardson added 96 yards on 20 carries. However, an even bigger cheer went up when the defensive award was presented to linebacker Clayton Upshaw, who had seven tackles, including a sack.
“This defense is built on stopping them and that’s what we did,” Upshaw said. “We wanted to come out and show the world we beat ourselves the first game. We wanted to come out and dominate from start to finish and that’s what we did.”