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Wednesday Wayback : The Defensive Duel In T-Town

Remembering the first Alabama QB LaRon Landry devoured.

LaRon Landry surveys a recently made carcass.

After narrowly avoiding death with some manna from heaven in the form of John Vaughn, LSU dismantled North Texas and quietly had some struggles against FCS Appalachian State (two years before their historic win in Ann Arbor), putting them down 24-0. All of a sudden LSU was 7-1 and ranked fifth in the nation with a first year coach and looking to book a trip to Atlanta.

Standing in their way was the third ranked Crimson Tide, who in Mike Shula’s third year were sitting undefeated after beating down Florida and skating by Tennessee 6-3. With rivals Auburn waiting in the wings for Alabama with one conference loss (to LSU), both teams understood that this game was a defacto play in game for the SEC Championship.

The Game

-Brodie Croyle, First of the Bama Bangs, Pounder of the Natty Lights, is in his last year under center for the Tahd. Trivia: In 2001, Brodie Croyle was the #2 QB prospect in the nation. Who was the #1 QB prospect? The answer will come at the end.

-Shakers: Or How To Non-Verbally Express That You’re The Worst.

-The video skips over Alabama’s first drive, where Bangs The Elder hit Le’Ron McClain for 14 yards. LSU got popped with a personal foul, but Bama couldn’t do anything with it.

-Alabama very nearly gets a blocked punt that would have swung the game in their favor.

-Fratstar I places a perfect 26-yard pass to Keith Brown.

-Alabama’s #brand of serviceable to bad special teams rings true as Jamie Christensen sails a 46 yard attempt. Bama Kickers, amirite?

-Rest in peace, Pontiac. Good night, sweet prince.

-Well the video skips LSU getting gashed for 21 yards by Kenneth Darby and 14 by Glen Coffee before another 14 from Darby. LSU bogs them down and forced a 28 yard field goal, which is good. 3-0 Alabama.

-Verne has that #SECBasketballFever.

-Marching bands shouldn’t wear sunglasses.

-Russell hits Bowe twice, once for 12 and once for 25. But lo, “Louisiana State” has a big man downfield on a passing play! That’s a five yard penalty that negates the pass and run. Vincent breaks a tackle to pick up a first down, but Russell gets sacked for 15 to end the drive. To their credit, it was a beautifully designed blitz from the backside.

-Chris Jackson flips the field position, but Bama drives down the field with the help of a 15 yard draw play by Tim Castille, a 13 yard rush by Jimmy Johns (no relation), a pass to DJ Hall, and a 19 yard pass to Le’Ron McClain, all not shown for reasons. We pick it up after a pass interference call on LaRon Landry. Croyle completes the drive with a eight yard pass to DJ Hall. 10-0 Alabama.

-Russell hits Bowe for 23 yards, but a sack once again dooms a drive. Chris Jackson once again pins Bama deep, giving LSU their best field position on the day so far.

-Russell simultaneously throws it to Vincent and Buster Davis after avoiding a sack. Davis comes down with it for a 23 yard gain. On 3rd and seven he goes back to Davis on a slant for the first. LSU can’t convert a second 3rd and seven, which sets up for a field goal try that Chris Jackson misses.

-Alabama takes it to midfield but the clock runs out on them. Half.

-LSU opens the second half with a 17-yard strike to Davis followed by a 26-yard run by JV on a swing pass.

-Ok, so the rest of the drive is glossed over and this is really pissing me off. A PI gives LSU the ball at the Alabama 22, and LSU just powers their way into the endzone to get on the board on a Justin Vincent dive. Alabama 10, LSU 7.

-LaRon Landry murders Brodie Croyle for a loss of 10, pinning them inside their 10. A 36-yard punt gives LSU the ball on the Crimson Tide’s side of the field.

-On the first play of the drive, Russell drops a dime to Dwayne Bowe for 28 yards, taking them inside the red zone. Russell has Zinger open for six but overthrows him high. Chris Jackson sinks the 42 yard field goal to even it at 10.

-A holding on a punt gives Alabama life again on the ensuing drive, but once again Croyle is sacked (again) at midfield as time expires in the quarter.

-JaMarcus Russell, dual-threat QB with a 15-yard run!

-Russell hits Davis for 11, but the play was reversed and the pass was ruled incomplete. On 3rd and 11 Russell hits a w i d e o p e n Bennie Brazell for 27. But Alabama puts their foot in the sand and forces LSU to take a 47 yard field goal, which Chris Jackson misses again.

-Suddenly, the defenses tighten their grip. Both teams would swap three and outs five times in a row.

-Seriously, the lines between 2005 and 2011 start to get blurred here. There was a point where Alabama had -14 yards over 18 plays. And this is in the fourth quarter too.

-Bowe has the ball on a prayer from Russell, but can’t some down with it due to a pro deflection from Castille.

-I personally hold a distaste for Alabama and a love of all things Les Misérables, so it pains me to say that it’s perfect that they play Look Down after defensive stops.

-Up until 4:30 in the fourth quarter, LSU held Alabama to ZERO YARDS IN THE HALF. Absolute zero. Part of that is due to bad offense, but you need more than a bad offense to accomplish that.

-Skyler Green tries to make something happen but doesn’t have the cover for it. LSU starts at the 50 with 3:32 left.

-At this point, a very young Adam goes outside to nervously shoot a basketball at a hoop because his young, passionate heart can’t take this and believes him not watching will be good luck (for reasons). So this is the first time I’m seeing this drive in it’s entirety.

-Russell moves the chains with a nine yard strike to Buster Davis, which was reviewed and was upheld this time around. LSU goes into conservative mode with one timeout left at the Alabama 33, content to drain clock for a field goal if a touchdown on the ground isn’t in the cards (it isn’t).

-I come back just in time to see Russell try to hit a open Jacob Hester, who is known for his receiving prowless.

-After sailing three kicks to the left, Jackson pushes this one to the right. Looking back, this feels like karma for the John Vaughn game that we discussed last week. 2005 Adam immediately reinstates his self-imposed banishment.

-With :54 seconds left and the ball at their 33, Alabama lucks into a five yard completion and then completes a three yard pass to DJ Hall, who fails to go out of bounds. They have 24 seconds to get from their 41 and into field goal range. Darby gets 7 for the first and Croyle passes to him for three where he goes out of bounds. With no timeouts, Croyle goes deep twice. The first time Ronnie Prude defends DJ Hall perfectly and the second time Croyle hits Coffee on a swing pass that goes all the way to the 9 yard line.

-That play gave me PTSD from 2012, however.

-In overtime, an illegal shift pushed Bama back to their own 30 but they climb to within two yards of the first down due to a nine yard pass to DJ Hall and a Darby four yard rush. On third down Croyle is forced to scramble but finds Darby on the sideline, but he can’t pull it in. Christensen knocks a 34 yard field goal to put Bama ahead 13-10.

-A swing pass to Vincent nets a clean ten yards on first down. Russell scrambles for nothing and on second down LSU goes back to the Xavier Carter reverse, which nets four yards this time. On 3rd and six at the Alabama 11, JaMarcus Russell rolls right and fires a strike to Dwayne Bowe, who is coming back to the ball in the endzone. LSU 16, Alabama 13 FINAL.

-Russell was only one pass above .500, but he went for 229 so there is still a bit of a mixed bag with him. In a weird twist, LSU ONLY netted 90 total rushing yards, 59 from Vincent. This game truly was won with LSU’s defense, who held Brodie Croyle to a dismal 19-20 with five sacks. Perhaps if Alabama had Joe Mauer, top 2001 QB prospect things would have gone differently for them.

-After this heartbreaking loss, Alabama went to the plains and took a 28-18 loss in the AHRN BOWL, dropping them to 0-2 on the year. That’s official of course, because all the wins from 2005 to halfway through 2007 were vacated because of Bama cheatin’.