As a part of SEC Championship Game week, we're taking a look at Alabama's and Florida's common opponents in alphabetical order. Now up: LSU.
|3rd Down Def.||5-14||1-9|
Alabama went into its home tilt with LSU coming off of its near death experience with Tennessee. The Tigers were the first to score out of the gate, and though Bama would take a second quarter lead, LSU pulled ahead by five before the half. A Leigh Tiffin field goal pulled the Tide closer, but it wasn't until Julio Jones took a bubble screen 73 yards to the house with 10 minutes to go that Alabama would take the lead for good. A late field goal sealed the win. Alabama got some help thanks to injuries to LSU's Jordan Jefferson and Charles Scott during the game.
Florida went into its game with LSU off of a bye week, normally the best time to take on your toughest road task of the season. It was, however, Tim Tebow's first game back after sustaining a concussion against Kentucky. Tebow was sharp in what little passing he did, connecting on 11 of 16 throws. Of all the conservative game plans that Florida dialed up this year, this one was the most risk averse of all. Thanks to LSU having just one sustained drive and not looking good on offense whatsoever, Urban Meyer was content to let his defense win the game. The Gators' offense played its part by rushing for nearly 200 yards and gaining a 13 minute advantage in time of possession.
The game shouldn't have been as close for Alabama, as the Tide had a sizeable lead in yardage. You can see where some issues arose: third downs. Bama was just 4 or 14 on those, though the defense turned around and did about the same to LSU. Also, Greg McElroy didn't have one of his better days. He completed only about 55% of his throws, and absent the 73 yard touchdown from Jones that had nothing to do with the guy tossing the ball, he barely broke 200 yards on the day. Despite everything Bama had going for it, this one wasn't over until Jones' score. You somehow knew Jarrett Lee wasn't leading a comeback on that defense.
Florida's offense wasn't exactly at peak performance either. The Gators only punted once, but they also missed a field goal, turned it over on downs, and Tebow threw an interception. They went about as vanilla as possible, as this was the game where "dive play" became a dirty word to Gator fans. Meyer was just running clock all game, something that was frustrating to no end for those watching the game. LSU was never truly out of it until Florida's field goal with a little over seven minutes to go, but with consistently bad field position and no coherence on offense, LSU wasn't really in it for much of the game either.
It's tough to say who had the better performance. Alabama couldn't really take over until late. Florida led for most of its game, but the Gators were never more than a single defensive breakdown from getting tied up for most of it. UF probably could have tried to make the score a little prettier, but with a still recovering quarterback and a dominating defense, they never seemed to feel the need to. Alabama wasn't just running out the clock from the second quarter on because it was in control though, and that's the difference between the games. Plus, Bama was at home, Florida was on the road, and two key cogs for LSU went out injured during Alabama's game.
Better performance: Florida, but not by much.