In the aftermath of a wild 46-41 loss to the second-ranked LSU Tigers, the Alabama Crimson Tide defense found itself searching for answers on how a team it held scoreless in the past two meetings roared back for 46 points in 2019.
As disappointed fans trickled out of Bryant-Denny Stadium pondering the miraculous one-year offensive revival by LSU, the even more perplexing result swirled around how the Tigers scored the most points ever against a Nick Saban defense.
Barely more than 12 months ago, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow looked like Average Joe in a 29-0 beat-down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. However, in the rematch Saturday afternoon Burrow resembled Joe Heisman with a relentless assault that had the Alabama defense rattled most of the game.
“Joe has a really good handle on what they’re trying to do,” Saban said. “And it’s challenging to defend. He utilizes the people they have. They have no weaknesses on offense.”
Even with a second-half rally by the Crimson Tide, Burrow remained calm and answered every challenge and completed 31 of 39 passes for 393 yards and three touchdowns.
Along with his precision passing, Burrow also kept drives alive with his legs as he rushed for 64 yards.
“We knew coming in they were a good team and it was going to be a battle and that’s what it was,” Alabama linebacker Anfernee Jennings said. “Hat’s off to them, but we know we left a lot on the field.
“They just executed better than we did and made less mental mistakes and discipline mistakes. We didn’t capitalize on anything.”
Twice in the second half, Alabama cut the deficit to just one possession but each time Burrow answered with a scoring drive to extend the lead to two possessions.
The first time the Tide pulled with 33-27, but Burrow carved up the Alabama defense with a 9-play, 78-yard drive to go ahead 39-27. The Tigers converted three third-down situations on the drive.
“We weren’t executing the call and not getting off the field,” Jennings said. “Getting off the field on third down, we put an emphasis on it. Us not doing it is disappointing.
“We knew before the game he was somebody that could do that. We got out of our lanes a little bit and we didn’t finish. We didn’t finish the way we wanted.”
LSU pounded the Alabama defense for 29 first downs, 559 yards of total offense and left Tuscaloosa in complete control of its national championship aspirations.
In a brutal second quarter, the Alabama defense allowed 23 points but more devastating was a 14-point outburst in the final 30 seconds of the half.