Alabama Football: Tide defense struggles, comes out on top
Nov 04, 2012 (Menafn - Montgomery Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --BATON ROUGE, La. -- LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger was having a career night. The top-rated Crimson Tide defense had been knocked to the Tiger Stadium turf.
In the end, Alabama defenders just pointed at the scoreboard as the top-ranked Tide put together a pair of two-minute drives at the end of each half to pull out a 21-17 win over the Tigers.
"Their skill guys were just making great plays," said Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. "They did some formations we haven't seen and Mettenberger made some great throws. We could have stopped them sometimes but that's going to happen in games. The opposing team is going to make plays and you've just got to overcome it."
Alabama came into the game allowing just 8.1 points per game and 145.9 yards per game. Mettenberger, on this warm and humid night, turned out to be the quarterback LSU fans had hoped for, shredding the Tide defense for 298 yards and a touchdown as he completed 24 of 35 passes.
"No surprise," Milliner said. "We knew they were going to make plays because they were playing at home, in their stadium, in front of their crowd. He did a great job making plays with his legs, keeping plays alive."
He constantly attacked the Tide zone by throwing underneath routes or quick-hitting passes in the flat, exposing every Tide weakness when the defense was most vulnerable and scoring on back-to-back drives to give the Tigers a 17-14 lead late in the game.
"We just had to regroup and coach had to get on the board and draw up some things we were having mistakes on," Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "We just had to come together and refocus and give our offense a chance."
Of course, the offense was having struggles of its own. As bad as the Alabama defense looked at times -- LSU had 435 total yards and averaged 5.1 yards per play -- part of the problem was an anemic Tide offense that did little for most of the second half.
"It was a frustrating second half," Alabama center Barrett Jones admitted. "I don't feel like we could have played worse in the second half. We didn't execute anything until the last 50 seconds in the game."
Of course, that last drive kept alive the Tide's national championship hopes as a 28-yard touchdown reception by T.J. Yeldon had everyone in the Tide locker room forgetting about the defense's struggles for the moment.
"LSU played a great game and had a great game plan," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "And they did a really good job of executing it. I think the quarterback threw it very well. There was a stretch there in the third quarter where they converted seven straight third-down-and-five or mores. We couldn't get off the field. But our players competed in the game.
"Both teams really played hard and competed. I don't think we played our best game and I think they played an outstanding game."
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