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Sunday, November 4, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: Alabama 21, LSU 17

By Alex Scarborough

A look at the good and bad from Saturday night's 21-17 come-from-behind win over No. 5 LSU in Baton Rouge, La.

THREE UP
1. Surviving Death Valley: Call the heart attack win anything you'd like, just call it a win. It wasn't pretty, but a victory in Death Valley is all that matters, and when you're a team competing for a national championship, surviving close calls is part of the process. Alabama played with poise in Baton Rouge, snapping the Tigers' 22-game winning streak at home.

2. McCarron delivers: AJ McCarron did not have his best performance of the season, but he did have arguably the best single drive of his career. The game-winning march down the field with less than 2 minutes will come to color his career at Alabama. He hit Kevin Norwood on back-to-back plays to move Alabama within field goal range in the blink of an eye. Following it up with a screen pass to T.J. Yeldon was enough to get the junior quarterback to weep on the sidelines. And in that environment, against that defense, who can blame him? He came up big in the biggest moment of his life.

3. Luck: Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. That's not to say Alabama wasn't good against LSU. The Tide were, but luck played its role. Les Miles rolled the dice and took points off the board on a fake field goal attempt and a poorly designed fourth-and short dive play. If those two plays don't happen, the outcome could be different. Things had to fall in place for Alabama in Baton Rouge. But give the Tide credit, because when they did, McCarron and the Alabama offense were there to take full advantage.

THREE DOWN
1. Tackling dummies: Arm tackles and complete whiffs on defense colored the Alabama effort against LSU. For so many weeks it looked like Alabama was incapable of such mental errors. LSU proved that theory wrong. With the high-powered Aggies coming to town on Saturday, missing tackles isn't an option. Alabama fans can call their cohorts in Starkville, Miss., to ask what broken tackles mean to Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M offense.

2. Three-and-outs: McCarron thrived on the final drive, but the second half was a disaster. Alabama went three-and-out on offense four times before it got the ball back for the game-winning drive. It's part of the reason you have to forgive the missed tackles and errors on defense -- they were tired and Alabama's offense did nothing to help them. Receivers weren't getting open, and the running lanes that were present in the first half were slammed shut.

3. Secondary concerns: The Alabama secondary got picked on by Zach Mettenberger, of all people. LSU’s formerly goatish quarterback looked like an NFL prospect while picking apart the Tide secondary. Dee Milliner missed a key tackle and Deion Belue was singled out time and time again. Robert Lester, Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, Nick Perry and Vinnie Sunseri did little to make their jobs easier. If Mettenberger and the often anemic LSU offense can do that, what will the Aggies do in less than a week's time?