Alabama Exorcized the LSU Demons From Bryant Denny Stadium
By Larry Burton
Even with Las Vegas deeming the Crimson Tide to be at least a 14 point favorite, the Demons that lived in Bryant Denny Stadium still had the fans worried. They came to life any time the LSU Tigers came to town and the term “Home field advantage” meant nothing when it came to this game in this schedule. Here the demons were firmly entrenched. Since 2000, LSU has won in Tuscaloosa five times, losing only once during Alabama’s 2009 undefeated season.
Those demons had an effect not only on the fans, but the team itself. Alabama missed field goals they normally would have made, had fumbles that gave the game away and all kinds of other gremlin caused maladies. Usually the losses at Bryant Denny came after a close game that was lost in the end due to such mistakes.
The first half of this most current game certainly did little to belay the fears of the fans. Alabama was holding on to a small lead and that was only because Alabama forced an LSU fumble on the goal line.
To Alabama fans, halftime was not a reason to have a great deal of faith that things would change. Fingernails began to shorten, old memories started to resurface and the recipe for another late game meltdown by the Crimson Tide seemed to be a real possibility once again.
The start of the second half didn’t seem much better, LSU took the opening kickoff and ran it out to the LSU 26 yard line where Mettenberger wasted no time getting it out to midfield, hitting Dillon Gordon for 22 yards. Alabama then gave the Tigers another gift when Ed Stinson committed a face mask infraction on Jeremy Hill following a five yard run. That put the ball on the Alabama 32 yard line. A few plays later LSU tied the game.
Alabama then took the kickoff and after one first down, lined up for a punt, but they only had 10 men on the field and were forced to call a time out to avoid a penalty. During the timeout, Saban called for a trick play if the LSU defense lined up in a regular defensive mode, meaning no blitz on the punter or a setup for a return.
That was the formation that LSU did in fact line up in and the fake punt worked, Alabama converted that fourth down gamble to go on and score and in doing so began the exorcism of the LSU demons from Bryant Denny Stadium. With that decision, momentum changed and the rout was on. To Alabama fans, St. Nick had become the exorcist and the exorcism had begun.
Alabama would not allow another score by LSU and used that fourth down conversion to go on to a score and make the game . 24-17 and Alabama would dominate LSU the rest of the game, offensively and defensively and also dominate the minds and spirits of the LSU team, fans and more importantly the start chasing the demons from the stands, hallways and field of Bryant Denny Stadium.
The beat down in T-Town not only exorcised the demons, but gave the fans and team their stadium back. So complete was the second half rout that LSU only gained 52 yards in the entire second half and over half of those were from the first drive in the second half that resulted in the only three points of that half.
It was one of the most lopsided halves of football that LSU has ever had to endure. The 38-17 victory by the Tide was the most points scored against LSU by Alabama since 1947 and only the third time in history. The Saban philosophy and goal of, “Just make their ass quit” was another accomplishment of the Crimson Tide players on that night.
In post game comments to the press, linebacker C.J. Mosley said, “It’s a good feeling when you can see it in their eyes that it’s over.”
Indeed, just as the LSU players resigned themselves to the fate that was surely awaiting them, just as the LSU coaching staff failed to find a solution to either stop Alabama’s offense or start their own again, so did the demons and ghosts of past LSU victories, who were finally exorcised once and for all.
Mettenberger crawled away just like the demons that were in Bryant Denny Stadium (click on link for video)
LSU’s team, their fans and all the demons had lost their hold on Alabama’s home turf. Not only did Alabama and their fans get back all the bragging rights that go with that, but they won back that comfortable feeling that there’s no place like home.
Larry is an award winning writer whose work has appeared in almost every college football venue. Now he primarily writes for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter