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Miles, sticking with Jefferson at quarterback, tried all night to get to the edge against the Crimson Tide’s brutish defense. But each time, an Alabama cornerback or safety would fly to the ball, throwing his body at the running back or receiver with total abandon.

“We just wanted to come out and make a statement to the world, to everybody and to each other and LSU, that we are the best defense,” linebacker Nico Johnson said. “It was no fluke.”

Even after halftime, when the Tigers generally get things going _ they outscored opponents 264-61 after the break coming into the game _ the Alabama defense was there to keep the momentum.

After LSU got its second first down of the night, Upshaw managed to wrestle Jefferson down for a sack, and two plays later LSU had to send punter Brad Wing out onto the field again.

“The game plan was to spread them out,” Jefferson said. “I didn’t imagine it this way. I definitely didn’t see it this way, but situations like this happen. … Some defenses will have your number and Alabama had our number.”

Just about the only bleak moment for the Crimson Tide came later in the third quarter, when Mosley intercepted an errant shovel pass deep in LSU territory. He was returning the ball when he was tugged to the ground by Jefferson, his leg twisting at a gruesome angle.

The sophomore linebacker was eventually carted from the field.

Jefferson wound up 11 of 17 for 53 yards, while the LSU offense managed just 92 yards of total offense. It was the second-fewest yards allowed in any BCS bowl game.

It was also the first shutout of LSU in a bowl game since the 1960 Sugar Bowl.

“Toward the end, I could definitely tell they didn’t want to play against us any longer,” Tide defensive end Jesse Williams said. “It was sort of like the light at the end of the tunnel.”