One heck of a finish in Death ValleyPublished 9:56am Tuesday, November 6, 2012
As the LSU field goal attempt drifted wide of the mark Saturday night, that moment was the first time I realized: Alabama is only down by three points!
It wasn’t that CBS didn’t show the score enough or that I have trouble with addition but rather that the previous 28 minutes of the second half had been so dominated y the Bengal Tigers that the lead seemed so much larger.
Before that errant kick, a team which had barely beaten Auburn was criminally abusing Alabama. A coach who had been caught on camera going knuckle deep in his own ear earlier in the game was making Nick Saban look silly. A Tide quarterback who had been up for Heisman looked as if he should be benched. Then came the miss and a reversal of momentum that physics professors everywhere would have trouble understanding.
AJ McCarron led Alabama on a drive that will be coming to a Daniel Moore print near you very soon. The quarterback who couldn’t hit Kim Kardashian in the backside with a snow shovel absolutely could not miss when it counted. Receivers who were blanketed by LSU defensive backs were suddenly open as a Waffle House. It was the perfect execution of a two minute drill (that left 51 seconds to spare) capped by a touchdown courtesy of freshman T.J. Yeldon.
Hard to fathom that just a few minutes prior to Alabama’s inexplicable comeback that LSU had all but sealed the Tide’s fate.
When Tiger QB Zach Mettenberger threw a beautiful touchdown pass in the fourth quarter his first reaction should have given me reason to believe that karma would rear its ugly head later in the contest. Mettenberger, who had been less than spectacular in 2012 before his otherworldly performance Saturday, ran directly towards the Alabama section and taunted the Tide fans. In Mettenberger’s defense, his play this season gave him very little reason to celebrate so maybe I should chalk up his taunts to inexperience. However, premature celebrations always seem to be a harbinger for heartbreak shortly thereafter.
Speaking of inexperience, it was clear Mettenberger was ill equipped to lead LSU on a comeback of its own after McCarron’s brilliant display. With 46 seconds remaining and no time outs from their own 20 yard line, Mettenberger’s first down pass went to a running back in the middle of the field and short of the first down thus not stopping the clock. It then took the Tigers a good 12 seconds just to get reset and snap the ball again.
Now that we have a had a few days to digest this classic contest, it is safe to say we have learned a few things. Alabama’s defense is still great, but not NFL-esque as was suggested last week. McCarron may not win the Heisman, but it may get a little more crowded on his ring finger very soon. We also learned that maybe -just maybe- Les Miles is little more than Gene Chizik on steroids. Finally, we learned that, yes, Nick Saban CAN smile as he proved so in his post game interview.
On a night of unbelievable moments, that pearly grin from Saban may have been the most unbelievable of all.
Robinson is a columnist for Sportz Blitz.