Alabama overwhelms LSU for BCS title

Crimson Tide defense allows 92 yards in 21-0 victory

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Led by dominating linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Dont’a Hightower, LSU simply couldn’t do anything — running or passing. Kenny Hilliard led the Tigers with 16 yards rushing, while Jefferson was 11 of 17 passing for 53 yards, usually hurrying away passes before he was sent tumbling to the Superdome turf. He was sacked four times and threw a mystifying interception when he attempted to flip away a desperation pass, only to have it picked off because his intended receiver had already turned upfield looking to block.

A.J. McCarron was the offensive MVP, completing 23 of 34 passes for 234 yards. Richardson added 96 yards on 20 carries. But an even bigger cheer went up when the defensive award was presented to Upshaw, who had seven tackles, including a sack, and spent a good part of his night in the LSU backfield.

“This defense is built on stopping them, and that’s what we did,” Upshaw said. “We wanted to come out and show the world we beat ourselves the first game. We wanted to come out and dominate from start to finish, and that’s what we did.”

With the way his defense was playing, McCarron simply had to avoid mistakes and guide the offense into field-goal range. He did that to perfection.

“When you have a great offensive line like I have, and great players around you, it makes your job easy as quarterback,” McCarron said. “I’ve got to give all the credit to them. I wish I could have the whole team up here.”

Miles said the rematch would be another display of “big-boy” football, and that was apparent on the opening kickoff and first play from scrimmage. Morris Claiborne was clotheslined by Alabama’s Trey Depriest on the return, then Michael Ford was sent flying by Damion Square and Jesse Williams on a 2-yard run that immediately set the tone.

But this time, the special teams went Alabama’s way. Marquis Maze dealt the first big blow for the Crimson Tide with a 49-yard punt return midway through the opening quarter, and he might’ve gone all the way to the end zone if not for a leg injury that forced him to pull up. Punter Brad Wing was the only defender left to beat, but Maze had to hobble out of bounds.

McCarron completed a 16-yard pass to Darius Hanks at the LSU 10, setting up Shelley’s 23-yard chip shot field goal. If nothing else, Alabama had accomplished one of its goals coming into the game: to at least get close enough to the end zone for its embattled kickers to have a better chance of converting.

In the first meeting, Shelley and Cade Foster combined to miss four field goals — all of them from at least 44 yards.

In the do-over, Foster stayed on the sideline while Shelley also connected from 34, 41, 35 and 44 yards. Not that it was a flawless kicking performance. Shelley had another kick blocked and pushed another wide right, attempting a bowl-record seven field goals overall.

In addition, he missed the extra point after Richardson’s touchdown.

It didn’t matter.

The Alabama defense made sure of that.

“The whole defense is the MVP,” Upshaw said. “The whole defense. Roll Tide baby. Roll Tide!”

LSU’s best weapon was Wing, who averaged nearly 46 yards on nine punts. That was about the only highlight for the purple and gold, which failed to match its BCS title game victories in 2003 and 2007, the last two times the game was played in New Orleans, about 80 miles from its Baton Rouge campus.

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