BATON ROUGE – The date was the same, and the halftime score was close.
The first half of the LSU-Alabama game Saturday night at Tiger Stadium looked a lot like Nov. 5, 2011, in Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, when the No. 1 Tigers defeated No. 2 Alabama, 9-6, in overtime. That game was tied 3-3 at the half.
Five years later, No. 14 LSU and No. 1 Alabama fought to a 0-0 tie at halftime. It marked the first time the Crimson Tide was shut out in a first half since Sept. 29, 2007, when it lost to Florida State, 21-14, in Jacksonville, Florida, in Coach Nick Saban’s first season at Alabama. It marked the second time LSU had been shut out in a first half this season as it trailed Wisconsin, 6-0, in the season opener before losing, 16-14.
Alabama led LSU in total yards with 120 on 30 plays to 100 on 33 carries. Each team punted four times. Each team had five first downs. LSU tailback Leonard Fournette was held to 30 yards on 12 carries, while Alabama tailback Damien Harris gained 33 on seven carries. Neither quarterback did very well as Alabama’s Jalen Hurts hit 5 of 13 passes for 27 yards with an interception, and Danny Etling was 7 of 13 for 64 yards with two misfired passes.
LSU had a chance to go up 3-0 early in the game after safety Jamal Adams intercepted Hurts’ second pass of the game at the Tide’s 33-yard line. Etling was sacked on third and seven for a 2-yard loss, though, and Colby Delahoussaye’s 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Ronnie Harrison.
TYRANN MATHIEU LEAVES HONEY: Former LSU cornerback Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu was announced on the field before Saturday’s game after donating $1 million to the Tiger Athletic Foundation toward upgrades at the LSU football operations building. Mathieu, a star defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, was part of the last LSU team to beat Alabama on Nov. 5, 2011.
His contribution may be an NCAA record for a player dismissed from a member school. Mathieu was dismissed in August of 2012 before his junior season by LSU athletic director Joe Alleva and LSU’s athletic department compliance office because of multiple positive tests for marijuana. In 2011, Mathieu finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting and won the Chuck Bednarik Award that goes to the nation’s top defensive player.