LSU Tigers: 2012 BCS Championship

Haney: If there were a 2012 playoff ...

November, 15, 2012
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The seeds would be Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, Florida and LSU. But how would it play out? ESPN Insider Travis Haney lines it up, gets some help from the oddsmakers, and picks his champion.

Read the story here. Insider

Big 3: Miles praises resurgent offense

November, 14, 2012
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Improvement in the offense and bowl games were both big topics when LSU coach Les Miles spoke with the media Wednesday in the SEC's weekly teleconference. The Tigers (8-2), ranked No. 7 in the BCS, play their last home game Saturday against Ole Miss (5-5).

1. Offense has arrived: Asked about his teams improved offense in the last two games, Miles praised his offense.

"This is us," he said. "We're going to line up and make teams defend the run and the pass on the same down and distance."

The Tigers have improved drastically since the bye week, especially quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the passing game. The Tigers have thrown for 571 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in their last two games, against Alabama and Mississippi State. LSU has averaged 413.5 yards in those two games, despite playing against an Alabama defense that was ranked No. 1 in the country.

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Video: Barrett Jones on 'sweetest' TD

January, 10, 2012
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Chris Low interviews Barrett Jones following Alabama's victory in the Allstate BCS National Championship.
Jordan JeffersonChris Graythen/Getty ImagesLSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson was held to 53 yards passing and 15 yards rushing against Alabama.

NEW ORLEANS -- The ride is over.

The emotional roller coaster that was LSU’s season ended tragically inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The team that had shaken off a plethora of distractions and back-to-back games with double-digit first-half deficits never made its way out of the French Quarter as No. 1 LSU (13-1, 8-0) fell to second-ranked Alabama (12-1, 7-1) 21-0 in Monday’s Allstate BCS National Championship Game.

For once, there was no spark for the Bayou Bengals. The team that had rolled over each and every opponent it faced this season -- and was on its way to a historic finish -- fell flat when it mattered the most.

“You have to play through adversity,” defensive tackle Michael Brockers said. “That’s what our coaches teach us.

“(Alabama) made all the big plays and made all the tough plays tonight and tip my hat off to them for making all the big plays and winning tonight.”

The defense had more bend then it has been accustomed to Monday, allowing nearly 400 yards, five field goals and a late-game touchdown. Still, for staying on the field for 35 minutes that’s pretty good.

For everything the defense did for the offense, it got nothing in return. It got no adjustments, no originality. What it did get was five first downs, 92 total yards, 2.1 yards per play and zero points.

It got an offense that crossed into Alabama territory just once … and that came in the fourth quarter.

Followed by criticism throughout the season, Jefferson couldn’t get his offense moving. He couldn’t run and his arm didn’t help. The vertical passing game LSU promised wasn’t there because Jefferson admitted to holding onto the ball too long on designed deep passes because he wasn’t confident in where Alabama’s defenders were.

Some passes ranged from erratic to short. He was sacked four times and heard boos late in the first half and throughout the second when he took snaps instead of demoted quarterback Jarrett Lee.

Jefferson threw for 53 yards and an interception, and was beautifully contained by Alabama’s defense, rushing for 15 yards on 14 carries.

“I was seeing things clearly,” Jefferson said. “Making decisions with the ball wasn’t an issue.”

Jefferson turned the ball over twice, but it was his ill-advised flip-pass to an unsuspecting Spencer Ware that was extremely devastating. Jefferson thought Ware was ready for the pass, but Ware had turned up field to block before Jefferson released the ball, which was intercepted.

“Other than that, I made great decisions with the ball,” Jefferson said. “Offensively, we just fell short.”

Very short.

Though there was no sign of Lee. He just stood on the sidelines, tossing the ball occasionally to keep his arm warm.

“It’s disappointing,” Lee said. “I would have liked to have gotten some snaps, but it is what it is. Didn’t get any snaps, so you gotta move on past that.”

LSU coach Les Miles' only explanation for not playing Lee was that with Lee’s lack of mobility he didn’t feel as if he could sustain Alabama’s pass rush.

Even with as poorly as Jefferson played, the pounding, wear-‘em-down running game that moved this offense never arrived. The Tigers’ got 12 carries from their running backs. (Leading rusher Michael Ford got four for 1 yard.)

Offensive lineman Will Blackwell said the plan was to run the ball up the middle, but that never materialized so the staff directed runs to outside. Even after those didn't work, adjustments weren't made.

“I feel like we got away from our game plan a little bit,” Blackwell said. “We planned on running it inside and pounding them to maybe get the edge.

“We fell away from that and I don’t know what the reason for that is. Our game plan just fell apart.

“We got away from the things we’ve been doing all season and whenever you do that in a championship game it usually doesn’t work out for you very well.”

LSU finally succumbed to all the adversity. For a team that fed off the negativity, the Tigers weren’t ready Alabama. There was no game-changing play from the Honey Badger, the defense didn’t force any turnovers, there was no emotion in the second half and the offense never showed up.

For the defense, Monday must have hurt the most. They hunkered down near their own end zone and played well enough to win.

In the end, LSU’s defense just couldn’t play both ways for the Tigers.

“It was very disappointing,” linebacker Ryan Baker said. “We were clawing and fighting out there and we were just sitting back watching them go three-and-out.”

Video: LSU's Will Blackwell

January, 10, 2012
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ESPN.com's Edward Aschoff talks with LSU's Will Blackwell following the Tigers' loss to Alabama in the BCS title game.

Video: LSU's Jarrett Lee

January, 10, 2012
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ESPN.com's Edward Aschoff talks with LSU QB Jarrett Lee following the Tigers' loss to Alabama in the BCS title game.

Video: LSU's Sam Montgomery

January, 10, 2012
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ESPN.com's Edward Aschoff talks with LSU's Sam Montgomery following the Tigers' loss to Alabama in the BCS title game.

Video: LSU's Ryan Baker

January, 10, 2012
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Edward Aschoff talks with LSU's Ryan Baker following the Tigers' loss to Alabama in the title game.

Video: Les Miles, LSU tamed

January, 10, 2012
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Les Miles after falling to Alabama in the BCS National Championship game.

Video: Nick Saban talks title

January, 10, 2012
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Nick Saban talks with Tom Rinaldi following Alabama's 21-10 shutout victory over LSU for the national title.

NEW ORLEANS -- College football has a new national champion and its name is Alabama. The second-ranked Crimson Tide (12-1, 7-1) totally dominated the night as Alabama came away with the 21-0 win over No. 1 LSU (13-1, 8-0) in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game.

We even had a touchdown in the rematch, as Alabama running back Trent Richardson put the game away with his 34-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. After kicking killed the Tide in the first go-round between these two teams, Jeremy Shelley hit five of his seven field-goal attempts.

How it was won: Alabama's defense entered the game as the nation's best and it showed exactly why Monday night. LSU's offense did absolutely nothing for four quarters. The Crimson Tide contained LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson all night and forced him to have his worst game of the year. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron was outstanding as well. He was cool and collected in the huddle and never looked like the youngster that he is. He finished the game with 234 yards passing. LSU's defense wasn't bad either, allowing only the five field goals before Richardson's touchdown run with 4:36 left.

Turning point: Jefferson's interception in the third quarter stopped any chance of LSU making any sort of run in the second half. Honestly, the turning point might have been when LSU coach Les Miles sent Jefferson out to take the snaps at quarterback in the second half.

Stat of the game: LSU ran the ball so well against Alabama earlier this year, but the Crimson Tide's defense absolutely manhandled LSU's offensive line and held the Tigers to a season-low 39 yards rushing.

Player of the game: Shelley tied a bowl record with five field goals and scored the only points of the game until late in the fourth. After Alabama's kicking game was a disaster last time these teams played, he was the Tide's best offensive player.

Unsung hero: Courtney Upshaw was a monster on Monday. He recorded seven tackles, six solo and a sack. He couldn't be contained by LSU's offensive line.

Second guessing: Miles always has been very loyal to Jefferson, but it cost him Monday. He should have turned to Jarrett Lee at some point in the second half after a simply awful performance by Jefferson. Lee struggled against Alabama earlier this year, but he couldn't have been worse than Jefferson, right? Jefferson passed for 53 yards and an interception and ran for 15 yards.

What it means: Alabama now enters the offseason with Nick Saban's second national championship as the Tide's head coach. That's No. 13 in the Alabama record books. The Tide will lose some key pieces to this team, especially on defense, but the offense might be better with four of five linemen coming back and McCarron being much improved. Alabama should also have some better play at wide receiver. For LSU, this was a great season until Monday night. But the Tigers return the core of this team and will most certainly get better quarterback play from junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger. Both of these teams will be ranked right at the top of the polls to begin next season.

Record performance: Shelley's five field goals tied the record for most in a bowl game. His seven attempts set a bowl record.

Third quarter: Alabama 15, LSU 0

January, 9, 2012
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NEW ORLEANS -- It might be time for Les Miles to hand the ball off to Jarrett Lee.

Fans booed Jordan Jefferson after he returned to the field following a terribly thrown ball that was intercepted by Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and those boos got even louder after he was sacked to end that drive.

Jefferson now has 48 passing yards, an interception and 3 yards rushing. Alabama's defense hasn't given him much to work with at all, but Jefferson has been awful tonight.

Jefferson returned to the huddle just before the fourth quarter and received more boos from the LSU fans

So, will Miles think of going with Lee, who began the year as the starter? He struggled mightily last time he played against Alabama, but he couldn't do any worse than Jefferson, right?

As the fourth quarter started, LSU's players trudged over to its side of the field with absolutely no emotion.

Alabama continues to take the ball out of Trent Richardson's hands inside the 30-yard line, but kicker Jeremy Shelley has been bailing the offense out on LSU's side of the field. He has now hit five field goals in this one.

We came close to our first touchdown, but Brandon Gibson dropped AJ McCarron's pass at the goal line.

Honestly, with the way LSU's offense is playing, 15 points might be enough for Alabama. The Crimson Tide has all of the momentum and all of the emotion. LSU also has just 66 yards of offense.

C.J. Mosley carted off the field

January, 9, 2012
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NEW ORLEANS -- It looks as if C.J. Mosley's interception will come at a cost.

After he picked off an awful flipped pass by LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, Alabama's linebacker was pulled down awkwardly by Jefferson on the return. His knee got caught up under him and twisted into the turf.

Mosley was down on the ground for a while before being carted off of the field.

Courtney Upshaw looks unstoppable

January, 9, 2012
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NEW ORLEANS -- Courtney Upshaw has been all over the place tonight.

LSU's offensive line just can't stop him. After coming completely unblocked off the edge on LSU's last drive, Alabama's linebacker got a crucial sack against LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson. He now has six tackles and a sack.

Alabama's defense is owning LSU right now, but Upshaw is clearly the favorite for defensive MVP at the moment. Stopping him has been nearly impossible for LSU's offensive line tonight.

Halftime: Alabama 9, LSU 0

January, 9, 2012
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NEW ORLEANS -- We still haven't seen a touchdown between these two teams, but Alabama leads 9-0 over LSU at the half in the Allstate BCS National Championship.

Stat of the half: LSU, which is notorious for pounding the ball on the ground against its opponents, has just 17 yards on 10 carries in the first half. Alabama defenders said they wanted to make sure they won the line-of-scrimmage battle, and so far the Crimson Tide is. Alabama has also totally taken Jordan Jefferson' rushing ability out of this one, especially on the outside.

Best players in the half: AJ McCarron sure hasn't looked like a first-year starter at quarterback. He has been calm in the pocket and extremely efficient, passing for 156 yards. He hasn't made the mistakes that a young quarterback should make in such a big game, and he's beating LSU's secondary right now. For LSU, the only star has been punter Brad Wing. Without his leg, LSU might be down even more. He has averaged 50.6 yards on five punts, including a long of 59 yards.

What Alabama needs to do: The Crimson Tide should be thrilled about their nine-point lead, but they should have more points. Alabama failed to get Trent Richardson involved in the red zone. That can't continue. Making plays in the red zone was a major issue for the Tide last time they played LSU. We've seen LSU get on runs, and while Alabama's defense has been outstanding, you can't count out a team that has rebounded from double-digit deficits in back-to-back games.

What LSU needs to do: The Tigers couldn't move the ball whatsoever in the first half. LSU might want to get Jefferson going with some short passes and slants. They were effective at times during the first half and that should open up the running game. Rueben Randle also has to be more of a factor. He's LSU's best receiver for a reason. LSU can't win this game with Jefferson's arm, but it has the running backs to get the Tigers in position to score.

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