Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

SEC victory slips through Tide’s fingers

SEC victory slips through Tides fingers

For the football purists who still believe defense wins championships, Saturday’s ‘Game of the Century’ lived up to the hype when Alabama and Louisiana State clashed in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

It was a defensive battle for the ages, with neither offense able to produce any touchdowns. The defenses imposed their will, and even though the offenses were able to get inside the red zone, neither could get more than three points on their possessions.

“I told the players that I was proud of the way that they played in the game,” head coach Nick Saban said. “Certainly, we’re all disappointed, but nobody’s more disappointed than the players. The players wanted to win more than anybody else.”

“Two very physical football teams played tonight and it definitely didn’t go by script. The most interesting thing is that you just have to keep fighting and finding a way to win,” LSU head coach Les Miles said.

Alabama’s offense outgained LSU to the tune of 295 yards to 239, but LSU did a better job of executing on the rare chances they had to make plays.

“We had a lot of opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of,” Saban said. “The missed field goals, or the opportunities that created the missed field goals, an interception penalty that takes us out of field position, a possible touchdown that turns out to be an interception and not being able to take advantage of the field position after that to score points.”

One play with a lot of controversy surrounding it is a punt that was not fielded by wide receiver Marquis Maze in the fourth quarter. The punt took a bounce in LSU’s favor, traveling 73 yards.

“That camera that’s on the field, it kind of hit the string on it and it kind of messed me up on it,” Maze said. “It was better for us to get it back there than for me to try to field it and muff it.”

By rule, if the ball touches the camera or the wires, it is a dead ball. Maze said no one from Alabama’s side said anything about it.

“It has happened with every aerial camera out there,” said PJ Bennett, president and CEO of ActionCam. “But in three years with us it has only happened one time on a kick off, but it is in the NCAA rules that if the ball hits the camera or the cable it’s a dead ball and redo the down.”

The elephant in the room for Alabama now is whether or not they still have a shot to play in the national championship game. The Tide dropped to No. 4 in the AP and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, but dropped only one spot to No. 3 in the BCS standings, behind LSU and Oklahoma State.

“Whoever the folks are who make those decisions will make those decisions based on the full body of work of every team in the country and choose which teams are the best,” Saban said. “I really can’t speculate on a hypothetical situation and it’s really not our focus right now, anyway.”

Alabama no longer controls its own destiny in the national championship race and has a slim chance at making the Southeastern Conference Championship game. The Tide can only hope the other undefeated schools from automatic qualifying conferences lose a game or two.

LSU head coach Les Miles said he and the Tigers would welcome a rematch against the Tide.

“I’d be honored to face that team again,” Miles said.

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