With 50 seconds left on the clock, members of the Alabama Crimson Tide could hear the cheers of the LSU faithful filling Tiger Stadium with their cheers. The Crimson Tide could also her the voice, of Dan Borne the Tiger Stadium public address announcer saying “Do not go onto the field after the game”. These are words that some of the Crimson Tide had heard just two years before on their last trip to Death Valley in Baton Rouge. It was then when quarterback AJ McCarron led the Crimson Tide on an incredible drive to win the game and keep the Crimson Tide undefeated at the time.
Fast forward to this past Saturday and the same situation came up again for the Crimson Tide, and this time the Crimson Tide had a new leader in Blake Sims, but with the same mentality, as they did two years ago. The mentality that they cannot and would not be defeated. The Crimson Tide never showed any fear as they took the field down 13-10 and starting a drive at their own 35-yard line. The Alabama offense had only two drives go for over 30 yards for the entire game, and now they found themselves in need of another legendary drive if they looked to keep not only their SEC West championship hope alive, but their College Football playoff hopes alive as well.
Moments before the drive started, quarterback Blake Sims went up to an emotional T.J. Yeldon, who had just fumbled deep in Crimson Tide territory that led to the Tigers go ahead field goal, and promised him that “We’re going to win this game”. As the drive began Blake Sims found O.J. Howard near the sidelines to stop the clock, twice on his first three passes. Similar to when A.J. McCarron found Kevin Norwood on the game winning drive two years ago.
As the drive progressed, Sims showed maturity and looked very calm in the pocket while leading the drive. After a dropped pass by star receiver Amari Cooper, Sims never wavered, and completed his next two passes to Christion Jones, and DeAndrew White, for 22 and 16 yards to put the Crimson Tide at the LSU 26-yard line with seven seconds left and the clock stopped. This brought out kicker Adam Griffith to attempt a 27-yard field goal, a distance that he had missed from earlier in the game, and Griffith rose to the occasion, and kicked it straight down the middle to tie the game at 13-13 with three seconds left on the clock.
After one of the best drives of the season, this Crimson Tide team showed that they indeed did have what past Alabama teams showed us in previous years, with their patience and confidence under pressure. The Crimson Tide special teams unit came out, and after a vicious hit on LSU running back/return man Leonard Fournette by Reuben Foster, the Crimson Tide took all the momentum with them heading into overtime. Blake Sims then led the Crimson Tide on a six play, 25-yard drive to give Alabama a 20-13 lead.
As the Tiger offense took the field you could feel all the momentum and energy in Tiger Stadium was being held with firm grip by the Crimson Tide. After a dropped pass by LSU Tiger Melvin Jones you could clearly see that the Tigers had their backs against the wall and all that was left for the Crimson Tide, was to place the final knockout blow to the Tigers. Fittingly it was, the Alabama defensive backfield, who had been criticized all year that clinched the game with fourth down stop, to seal the 20-13 victory for the Crimson Tide.
The victory this past Saturday, answered some questions that came up earlier this season. They showed that this team does have the leadership that was questioned. The way that Blake Sims led the offense down field and into overtime showed that he has taken over the role as a leader of this team, at least on the offensive side of the ball. The defense was led by Landon Collins who was returning to his home state for the first time as a starter, he used his passion of wanting to prove to his home state he did indeed “Choose the right team”. Collins used this passion to be a leader on the defensive side of the ball for the Crimson Tide.
This was one of the most dramatic wins in recent history for the Crimson Tide, and a win that without a doubt that showed that this Alabama team does indeed have some characteristics of previous years Crimson Tide teams. The fight and determination of this team was shown this past Saturday, and just in time for a title run for the Crimson Tide as two of their next three games are against top 10 opponents, including a match-up this Saturday with the number one team in the nation, the Mississippi State Bulldogs.