- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 10, 2012

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Courtney Upshaw was standing on the field of the Superdome, basking in the glow of a national championship, when someone handed him the defensive MVP award.

The senior linebacker didn’t hesitate before passing it off to his teammates.

Sure, Upshaw deserved the honor, but it was everybody working together that allowed Alabama’s defense to turn in one of the most impressive performances in Bowl Championship Series history. The 21-0 romp over LSU on Monday night was the first shutout in the history of the BCS title game.

“This defense wanted to pitch a shutout,” Upshaw said. “That’s what we did, baby, a shutout.”

The Tigers hadn’t been blanked since 2002, when Alabama beat them 31-0 in Baton Rouge.

It was also the first time the Crimson Tide pitched a shutout in a bowl game since the 1963 Orange Bowl, a 17-0 victory over Oklahoma, back when Bear Bryant was running the show in Tuscaloosa.

“I’ll tell you what, our defense controlled the tempo of this game,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “It was just a great team win. Every guy here, every fan that we have.”

Ironically, it was Saban who was roaming the sideline for LSU during that game in 2002.

The defensive-minded coach was on the other side this time, drawing up a game plan for Alabama that flummoxed LSU coach Les Miles, quarterback Jordan Jefferson and just about everyone else inside the Superdome wearing purple and yellow.

The Crimson Tide didn’t allow the Tigers to convert a third down until the fourth quarter, and didn’t allow a snap in its own territory until there was 7:30 left in the game.

Of course, Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower promptly sacked Jefferson to force a fumble that was recovered by his good buddy Nick Gentry. The way things were going for the Tigers, it was a fitting way for their best offensive series of the night to end.

Trent Richardson added a touchdown run moments later to seal the victory, the only touchdown scored by either team in two meetings this season.

“We knew they were going to come out and try to run the ball against us,” Upshaw said. “It’s great to get the win. We really didn’t call many blitzes. We were just hoping to contain them.”

Contain them? How about downright dominate them, from start to finish.

Upshaw made a pair of stellar tackles at the line of scrimmage to force 3-and-out on LSU’s second possession, and Mosley and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick did so again on the Tigers’ next possession.

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