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Wednesday Wayback: The Strip Sack

The first game between Nick Saban’s Alabama and Les Miles’ LSU was one for the ages.

After winning the game at the death against Auburn, LSU had to turn around and take a trip to Alabama for their biggest mental test of the year: playing former LSU head coach Nick Saban. Les Miles was far enough into his tenure as head coach at LSU that the team had his identity and the players were ready to go to war with Miles. But for the nucleus of the team, Nick Saban was the one that got them to Baton Rouge. And now he’s the head coach at Alabama, a team at the time far removed from the heady days of Bear Bryant and even Gene Stallings. But given how Saban left in the middle of the night for the NFL and returned to the SEC to coach at a SEC West school twisted the knife for LSU fans and made this game of marked importance. To up the stakes, Alabama came in at 6-2 record (later mostly vacated) with a #17 ranking while the third-ranked one loss Tigers could not avoid another loss to keep their championship hopes alive, or so we all thought at the time.

The Game

[0:00] The greatest theme song, do not @ me.

[2:04] Man, Alabama players are terrible at reading scripts. And of course Jacob Hester’s was flawless and felt authentic.

[11:00] Something I’ve picked up from watching all these 2007 games: LSU’s defensive ends were abnormally good at breaking up passes. Here Tyson Jackson easily breaks up a screen pass with one arm.

[11:40] Danny McCray gets beat on the fade by overrunning his coverage, but you can’t really fault a linebacker for being bad at that.

[14:20] Alabama settles for a Leigh Tiffin field goal to take an early lead. 3-0 Bama.

[17:00] You may commence swooning over Jacob Hester.

[18:20] Beautiful throwback off of the roll-out and once again, Richard Dickson runs a perfect route.

[20:30] Some bad communications between Bama’s corners and safeties on this drive. Corner thinks he has immediate help when he doesn’t and Doucet is open inside the red zone.

[23:30] And some bad communication between Matt Flynn and the LSU receiver. He rolls out and holds up for receivers to roll with him and nobody does except for LaFell, who is open in the endzone.

[25:00] Three straight losses in the red zone means LSU has to settle for a field goal to tie the game.

[27:20] Glenn Dorsey is back on the field after the chop block and well, gets inadvertently chopped block once again. He’s able to jog off, though.

[28:45] Chevis Jackson is able to jump the route and deflect a high pass and comes down with a bobble. That’s what they mean when they say “high point the ball”.

[31:10] Alabama sends five, and that’s all LSU needs for the screen pass to Doucet to get into the paint off of the screen pass. LSU 10-7.

[35:30] Darry Beckwith leaves with an knee injury, but Chad Jones avenges him by becoming an ICBM with his sights locked on John Parker Wilson. Poor dude probably still has nightmares where LSU defenders are sprinting toward him.

[37:55] This is a Les Miles all-timer. Reverse pass from Early Doucet to Matt Flynn pantses Alabama, but Flynn is down after the play with...a broken chinstrap. We almost see Andrew Hatch, but that will have to wait because Matt Flynn is a fifth year senior and knows how to handle this kind of stuff: by taking a dive. Yellow card for simulation.

[40:35] And what follows is an interesting play design. It’s an off-tackle quarterback keeper and it’s blocked well enough for Flynn to mosey on down to the 10 yard line.

[45:45] Hester takes some contact in the backfield, but when does that ever stop Jacob Hester? 17-7 Tigers.

[56:45] hey did u kno dat hemram johnston the bigest babby born in luesiana? it true

[1:00:00] Roughing the passer bails Alabama out after three really bad plays. On the next play Parker Wilson connects with DJ Hall after a bust in coverage. LSU should have been off of the field, but instead Bama takes the penalty and turns it into seven points. 17-10 LSU.

[1:03:40] Big Baby himself gets a nice seal block on a power to set up a Keiland Williams 15-yard run.

[1:04:20] Bad pass into double coverage results in an easy interception and an unnecessary roughness penalty gives Alabama even more yardage.

[1:07:20] Facemask pushed the ball even further downfield for Alabama. At this point LSU can’t stop hurting themselves.

[1:09:00] LSU stops the rush short of the first down, but another defensive player is down, and this time it’s Marlon Favorite. As of now, 2 players in LSU’s front seven are healthy. It’s a “legal” chop block, for whatever good that is.

[1:14:10] This is just a bad decision from Flynn. Jeebus it was a bad call.

[1:15:05] LSU just simply cannot stop shooting themselves in the foot this quarter. Pass interference at the five yard line makes the job even easier for Alabama.

[1:19:25] But somehow Alabama can’t do anything with it and the Tide have to settle for a trey. Nick Saban is none too pleased. 17-13 Tigers.

[1:23:50] LSU finally breaks out of the slump with a slant to Byrd for a first down on 3rd and 13. Next play is the same thing with Dickson for another first down.

[1:26:10] haha notre dame lost to navy

[1:26:35] If you or a loved one has Crowton’s disease, help is available. You don’t have to run speed options to the short side of the field alone.

[1:27:23] Matt Flynn, dual threat quarterback.

[1:28:50] #MakeTheBandPlayNeckAgain

[1:32:45] There is a Crimson Tide player holding on to Flynn’s ankle and pulling it back, and that’s enough for the pass into triple coverage to be picked off. Jacob Hester saves a pick six. That’s three interceptions in this quarter alone. To pour salt in the wound, an unsportsmanlike puts Alabama half the distance.

[1:34:40] The older I get, the more I realize that John Parker Wilson was a good quarterback but he just lacked awareness and had stupid luck. He drops back right into the arms of Pittman here for a sack and never realizes it.

[1:35:35] But on the next play he drops a dime to Kieth Brown in double coverage and Brown makes a hell of a play by going up and getting the ball. Alabama takes a 20-17 lead just before the half.

[1:38:45] LSU gets the ball moving with back to back to back passes to Hester in the flat, the second one of which is good for 15 yards.

[1:40:20] Flynn finds Byrd in the middle of the field just short of CBS’ pretty little red line.

[1:42:10] But David’s field goal attempt is blocked by the edge rusher and Alabama takes a three point lead to half.

[1:53:00] Bama comes out of the half playing very effective football, while LSU is struggling to find their footing.

[1:56:00] But after a penalty, Parker Wilson goes down on 3rd and 13 to stall out the drive. I think this was actually a huge moment in the game because I think Bama was just starting to find their groove and a consistent drive could have ended up being the difference in the game.

[1:58:50] Dennis Dixon :(

[2:06:15] Another tip from Tyson Jackson. Dude is really good at that.

[2:09:00] The second close call in as many drives keeps LSU off of the rope.

[2:15:30] After two first down throws, Parker Wilson, John makes a horrid throw that was almost and should have been intercepted by Jonathon Zenon. Wilson makes up for his near miss by getting another first down to his tight end.

[2:17:10] Another facemask for LSU gives Alabama yardage like it’s a doorbuster sale.

[2:19:00] LSU sends eight men on the blitz, and Kieth Brown shows why that’s a bad idea. Beats Danny McCray for an undisputed touchdown. 27-17 Alabama.

[2:23:00] And then, LSU wakes up. Byrd beats his man on the go route, and Flynn connects with him. 61 yards to make it 27-24 Alabama.

[2:31:30] Play action gives Byrd man coverage, and he makes the most of it by cutting his route off early to come back for the ball.

[2:34:15] Drive stalls out, but Colt David nails a 49 yard field goal to tie the game at 27 all.

[2:38:00] Defensive holding. The penalties will continue until morale improves.

[2:39:00] But an easy sack for Tyson Jackson negates it and gives Bama a 2nd & 19. Bama nearly gets out of it with a beautiful throw from Wilson after he extends the play and what looked like a beautiful catch but according to the refs wasn’t.

[2:42:00] Gotta say, I’m not sure that wasn’t a catch. Gotta say though, without replay LSU would be boned in this game.

[2:50:25] Well, that worked out poorly...

[2:51:50] And partly as a result, Javier Arenas gets a good punt to return, so he does. LSU’s gunners kind of overrun him, and after that’s it’s blocked perfectly making it game over. 34-27 Alabama

[2:56:15] Terrible drop. Absolutely need to make that catch.

[2:57:45] Gotta say, if this game was played today, here is where LSU would absolutely give up and let Alabama choke the life out of them.

[3:04:25] LaFell breaks free from his man and is able to get a much-needed big gain in two consecutive plays to get the chains moving.

[3:10:30] On 4th and 4, Alabama sends the house. Flynn gets rid of it into double coverage, but somehow Doucet is one still standing with the hall in his hands. Then he jukes both safeties for one of the biggest individual plays in LSU history. 34 all.

[3:14:00] Coverage sack sets up a 3rd and 12...

[3:14:45] ...and Bo Pelini sends the house. Once again Chad Jones comes through untouched with a full head of steam. Instead of sending John Parker Wilson to the upside down, he wraps around his legs and twists him around. The ball comes out and Taylor recovers it at the two yard line.

[3:19:20] Jacob Hester over the top. 41-34 LSU.

[3:21:40] John Parker Wilson, dual threat quarterback.

[3:25:35] Wilson had Keith Brown wide open, to bail Alabama out on 4th and 10, but Craig Steltz lays the wood to knock the ball loose just in the nick of time.