Alabama vs. LSU

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron reacts after LSU defeated Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday November 9, 2019.

TUSCALOOSA — Get you a Red Bull, Ed Orgeron. You beat Alabama, and you deserve it.

It didn't seem like this day ever would come.

"I might get to go to a 7/11 and get me a Monster or Red Bull without people saying, ‘Got to beat those guys.’ Well, I beat them,” a happy Orgeron told reporters after Saturday's 46-41 win over the Crimson Tide, his biggest victory as LSU's head coach

It's a frightening thought to think of the hyper Orgeron downing a Red Bull, but who's going to tell him no? Especially after this one.

After all those classic games between Alabama and LSU, it seemed like sooner or later the Tigers had to win one. Alabama had won eight in a row and Nick Saban is Nick Saban, but it's the law of averages, right?

Even so, when Alabama has a really good team, even if LSU has a really good team as well, it just seems like this series will belong to the Crimson Tide. And always will.

Not Saturday.

No. 2 LSU entered Bryant-Denny Stadium and outworked, outplayed and even outcoached No. 3 Alabama.

This marked the fourth time Saban has lost to LSU since he arrived at Alabama, and the other three seemed more like the exception rather than the rule. They were decided by a combined 13 points and every one had a weird ending. All three seemed like they easily — and probably should have — gone the other way.

Not Saturday.

LSU had a better game plan, had a better quarterback and played better up front. Orgeron said he thought all week he had the better team, and LSU proved him right Saturday.

After those other three times Saban lost to LSU, it always felt that if they played again Alabama would win. And, they did in 2011.

This time, maybe not.

Alabama's defense never could slow LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who should be the Heisman frontrunner now if he wasn't already. He was game manager and prolific passer, rolled into one.

He threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns, and only eight of his passes fell incomplete. He ran for 64 yards, too.

His biggest moment came when Alabama scored to cut it to 39-34. With LSU preparing for a possible onsides kick, the Tide kicked deep, counting on its defense to hold and get the ball back for a potential winning drive.

Burrow drove LSU 75 yards, making three huge third-down plays to extend the series. Burrow, offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and passing game coordinator Joe Brady outgunned and outsmarted Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding and his players.

Who's to say a rematch would go that much better?

If you want to blame the officials for Saturday's result, go ahead. A couple of those replay reviews looked incorrect from my seat in the press box.

But, the officials didn't throw that interception just before the end of the first half and didn't allow LSU to respond with a quick touchdown. Nick Saban made a mistake to push for more points before halftime, and he acknowledged that after the game.

The officials didn't fail to run the ball consistently, didn't fumble while trying to get off a punt in the first half, didn't lose a fumble while going for a touchdown on the first drive.

LSU got it done on Alabama's field, in front of Alabama's ravenous crowd.

The thing is, LSU really didn't reveal any cracks in Alabama's wall that weren't visible before. Alabama's defense hasn't been dominant this year. Sure, it's been decent, but in the past, Alabama had a defense that would grind your bones into dust.

The Tide has too much inexperience up front and in the secondary, and it shows.

The running game has struggled all year, which is puzzling because Najee Harris is some kind of running back, and this offensive line should be mowing people down.

If Alabama could've run the ball consistently all night, it would've been game, set, match. The Tide could've won by making Joe Burrow stand over on the sideline, waiting for his turn.

Instead, Alabama has a pretty good team, but not great like we've seen so often from Tuscaloosa the past decade.

As for LSU? With a Joe Burrow-led offense and Ed Orgeron loaded up on Red Bull? That's a tough team to beat.

Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.

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