MOST DEFLATING TURNOVER: On its first possession, LSU had first-and-goal at the Bama 3-yard line and FB J.C. Copeland was apparently heading for a score when he was stripped by Alabama’s Tana Patrick, fumbled and the Tide recovered at the 10-yard line. Thus an impressive drive that covered 84 yards got nothing.
WORST NO-LOOK SNAP: LSU also turned it over on its next possession when, from the shotgun, center Elliott Porter snapped when QB Zach Mettenberger wasn’t looking. Alabama recovered at the LSU 27, but the Tigers held the Tide without a first down and forced them to settle for a field goal. Still, LSU’s turnovers on its first possession ended up being a 10-point swing with the TD the Tigers lost and the FG Bama got without a first down.
BEST GAMBLE: LSU had apparently stopped Bama on its first drive of the second half, but the Tide faked a punt and picked up seven on fourth-and-1. Bama called timeout after sending its punt team on the field and LSU appeared to be ready for the fake, but a missed tackle in the backfield allowed the Tide to pick it up.
WORST GAMBLE: Give LSU credit for never giving up, but the Tigers, after back-to-back sacks, went for it on fourth-and-27 with 2 minutes to play in the game. It didn’t work. Mettenberger got sacked again.
BEST TIP DRILL: LSU’s first play of the second half had disaster written all over when a Bama defensive back stepped in front of a Mettenberger pass near midfield. But he only tipped it up and LSU TE Dillon Gordon got it on the rebound. It led to a FG that tied the score at 17.
BEST BREAKTHROUGH: Freshman Travin Dural’s 8-yard TD catch late in the first half, which pulled LSU to within 17-14, was his first college touchdown.
WORST RESPONSE: LSU needed a lift after falling behind 31-17 fairly early in the fourth quarter and got it when Odell Beckham returned a kickoff 82 yards to the Bama 18. But Jeremy Hill lost 3 yards on first down and LSU threw three consecutive incompletions, the last on a fourth-and-13 gamble.
WORST STAT: LSU outgained 129-42 and had seven first downs to two for Bama in the first quarter — and the Tigers trailed 3-0. The key stat was two LSU turnovers to none for the Tide. LSU still led in total yardage at the half 232-193, but still trailed 17-14.
WORST PUNT: LSU punter Jamie Keehn, who’s been good for about a shank per game, had an excellent opportunity to back the Tide up deep late in the third quarter. But he skied it almost straight up, it came down at the 24 — and it was complicated when a 5-yard penalty was tacked on because the Tigers used an illegal formation.