APTOPIX LSU Alabama Football

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron embraces quarterback Joe Burrow (9) after defeating Alabama 46-41 in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Yeah, corny as it sounds, yes indeed, LSU carried Joe Burrow off the field Saturday.

Just like in the old movies, probably black-and-white.

Most of the 101,181 in Bryant-Denny Stadium, including the president of the United States, were a little in shock.

But a few of the huskier Tigers lifted Burrow up, and away they went to join the other delirious Tigers prancing and flopping around the turf of what has been the Alabama home base of LSU's Little Shop of Horrors.

The chains had been lifted. The bonds had been broken. The streak was over, dead and buried, snuffed out at eight straight losses to dreaded, hated, invincible Alabama, dating to that 2011 slugfest, all against the dastardly Nick Saban.

LSU can move on. The 10,000-pound red elephant that has been torturing the program has been conquered.

Ding, dong, the Crimson Witch of the SEC West is dead, engulfed by the newlook Tigers and their Cajun head coach and mostly their Ohio-bred quarterback.

It happened in your lifetime. The Tigers' long national nightmare is over. It's safe for LSU to venture into upper stratosphere of big-time college football.

LSU 46, Alabama 41.

Maybe all you have to do is call it the Game of the Century and make sure all of America is watching like the one here in 2011.

But what?

You thought it was going to be easy?

Perish the thought.

You thought there was no need for all hand-wringing in the fourth quarter when the Tide predictably struck back?

You thought LSU was running away with it with a don't-pinch-me 33-13 halftime lead?

Silly you.

Sure, LSU found Alabama in a cooperative mood in a mistake-prone first half where the Tigers ­— thank you very much — scored 14 points in the final 26 seconds before halftime.

You thought surely that was it?

Burrow didn't.

"We knew they were going to come back," Burrow said. "That's Alabama on that other sideline, not … that's Alabama."

No, it wasn't easy.

But it also dang sure wasn't a fluke.

On this day, never mind that it was Alabama and Nick Saban. LSU had the better team, the better offense, the better plan, the better quarterback and, for this game at least, the best head coach.

"I might not have to go to the 7-Eleven now and (when I) get me a Monster or a Red Bull, they won't have to tell me, ‘Coach O, you gotta beat those guys.' I'll tell ‘em, ‘I beat em. Did you watch the game?'"

You think that wasn't a weight off his shoulders?

The coach nobody but LSU wanted three years ago is now America's favorite coach and the odds-on choice for coach of the year.

Orgeron suggested that LSU won this game back when Burrow was looking to transfer from Ohio State, when he took him to Mike Anderson's restaurant in Baton Rouge and stuffed him full of crawfish. Instant love affair with a new state, instant answer for LSU's long search for a quarterback.

It sure didn't hurt. Makes a good story, too.

But while it may have set the wheels in motion, Orgeron got the winning blueprint when he junked LSU's archaic offense and brought in Joe Brady to juice it up to 21st century standards.

Amazing how it changes things, even against Alabama.

See, LSU hardly played a perfect game.

That always seemed to be the prerequisite during the eight years of frustration, of butting heads trying to beat the Tide at the line of scrimmage.

Followed by the "What if?" game.

What if this? What if that? How come the officials love Alabama and the SEC Office is in Birmingham?

Psst.

Put a wild offense like this one out there, even against Alabama, and it makes up for a boatload of miscues and unexpected game turns. You know, football stuff.

The Tigers even had a somewhat controversial call go their way — right there in Bryant-Denny Stadium — to set up the hectic final moments of the first half.

The SEC explained it just the way it used to explain all those unfortunate things that always seemed to happen to the Tigers here.

So that was the secret all along, huh? Score 46 points, keep moving the ball the entire game, and you don't have to play a perfect game.

Just play your game.

You can let an excellent defensive performance get distorted by 77-yard Bama punt return here, a blown-coverage 77-yard pass out of nowhere there.

You can know Alabama's offense is going to get going, get things closer at some point.

But with a real offense — one that even works against Alabama — LSU had an answer.

The Tigers' quit scoring for a bit in the third quarter, but never quit moving the ball never let Alabama think its resurgence was getting to them.

And when the Tide did close to 33-27 and got Tide fans thinking their birth-right comeback was coming, Burrow stepped up again.

Boom-boom-boom. There's your answer — a 75-yard, 12-play scoring drive right into the Bama student section.

Another Bama touchdown, 39-34, same thing.

Burrow licked his fingers and squeezed off a seven-play, 75-yard drive — 46-34.

Never once did LSU try to sit on its good fortune, the Tigers were never trying to nurse home a lead.

Not with this offense. Not with this quarterback.

They kept attacking until the very end, no matter how many setbacks they had in trying to or thinking they had put the game away.

No, it didn't come easy.

But maybe it's more fun that way.


Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com

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