Alabama vs. LSU score takeaway: No. 10 Tigers, Jayden Daniels kicks No. 6 tide in overtime, rocks SEC

No. 10 LSU knocked out No. 6 Alabama, 32-31, in an overtime thriller at Tiger Stadium that saw Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels complete a star performance in the extra period. Trailing a touchdown, Daniels ran to the end zone on his first OT play, leaving LSU coach Brian Kelly to decide on a 2-point do-or-die conversion that Daniels completed for tight end Mason Taylor on a flared road, ending the game and handing the Crimson Tide their second loss of the season.

It was an uneven and sloppy game for most of the night, but it all turned around in the fourth quarter with the two teams trading leads before a 45-yard field goal from Alabama kicker Will Reichard barely cleared the uprights for level the game and effectively force extra time with 21 seconds remaining.

Alabama struck first after a third pass interference brought the Tide back to life. Running back Roydell Williams scored from 1 yard to make it 31-24. It gave Bama 17 of 24 points in the streak as they battled a 17-15 deficit with 7 minutes left in regulation. That was before Daniels and LSU had some magic in their pockets, with Kelly deciding to let it all roll on the 2-point conversion.

Daniels was great for the Tigers finishing with three total touchdowns, 182 passing yards and a team-high 95 rushing yards on 18 carries.

Although Alabama QB Bryce Young had a few positives, including a stellar 41-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Corey Brooks late in the fourth quarter that gave the Tide a late lead, he was inconsistent. all along. A teeming LSU defense held him to 25 of 51 passes for 328 yards with that touchdown throw and an interception he threw in the end zone early in the game.

In other words, Young made his fair share of plays, but Daniels and LSU just made more.

The victory puts LSU in control of the SEC West, as it now holds a tiebreaker over Alabama and Ole Miss, all three teams having suffered a league loss. While the loss won’t knock Bama out of the SEC race entirely, it does make a College Football Playoff unlikely for a program that has appeared in seven of eight events to date.

Let’s take a look at a few more takeaways from LSU’s incredible upset in Alabama in Death Valley.

The tide entirely depends too much on Young

The defending Heisman winner can’t do much. As Alabama entered the meat of their SEC schedule, it clearly proved insufficient for the Tide to put their entire offensive game plan on their shoulders. After losing a slew of talented point guards to the NFL Draft over the past two seasons, Bama has struggled to replace them with players who are equally dominant in the passing game.

The Tide just doesn’t have enough players who can stretch the field and pick up pieces. Of Alabama’s top four pass catchers on Saturday, only Brooks (97 yards) is a wide receiver. Next receiver Jermaine Burton was fifth with two grabs for 19 yards. Bama asks his running backs and tight ends to do way too much, and while RB Jahmyr Gibbs took a combined 23 touches for 163 yards, it’s not enough to compete offensively at the level the Tide are used to.

Bama is not the same team on the road

This loss should probably not come as a surprise. Sure, Alabama was a 13-point favorite, but anyone who paid attention to the Tide’s performance on the road all season knew it might not be so easy. There was the 20-19 win over Texas in which Young had to lead a late comeback despite the Longhorns losing starting QB Quinn Ewers in the first half of the game. Then there was the game in which Bama couldn’t complete his comeback. He trailed Tennessee 28-7, and although he made a run and took the lead, he couldn’t hold up in a 52-49 loss.

There was the 23-point win over Arkansas, but the Razorbacks just lost at home to Liberty on Saturday, so I’m not sure we should call this a tough game on the road this season. It is certainly no more difficult to win in Fayetteville, Arkansas, than in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at night. It’s enough to make you wonder what might happen next week when Alabama hits the road again against Ole Miss.

Daniels makes the difference

Daniels came to Arizona State in 2019 under pressure the size of the Grand Canyon. He was touted as the finest quarterback in his class and earned the starting job as a true freshman. After a strong campaign, he regressed to the point where he was expendable and had to fight and claw to earn his job at LSU. He wasn’t ready – at least not yet.

Over the past month, however, he’s proven exactly why he’s got that kind of hype. He’s thrown for 14 touchdowns and thrown just one interception this year with seven touchdown points over the last three games. He turned the heads of Alabama defenders in part because of the deceptive speed he displayed when LSU needed it most: the first game of the bottom half of overtime to set up the game-winning conversion in 2 points.

He was Death Valley’s best quarterback on Saturday. At the pace of Daniels’ season, the best may be yet to come.

Brian Kelly has proven himself to be the man for the job

LSU’s extra point attempt against Florida State in Week 1 was blocked and all eyes immediately turned to Kelly. He was unprepared. His team was undisciplined. He wasn’t cut out for the SEC.

He hastily changed that narrative.

Kelly developed that offense into a strength and held this team together through tough times. Daniels was a mess in that opener and received no help from his offensive line or receiving team – including supposed superstar Kayshon Boutte. Instead, he developed a large, more versatile receiving corps with Malik Nabers, Jaray Jenkins and Mason Taylor to help Boutte as the offense continued to grow. This coincided with Daniels’ development as a legitimate double threat that’s incredibly difficult to prepare for. This LSU team has confidence on the ground and in the air, but Kelly has also fixed the special teams. It made a ton of difference on Saturday.

Damian Ramos had his only field goal attempt on Saturday, Noah Cain averaged 21 yards on kickoff returns and Jay Bramblett pinned Alabama inside the 20-yard line on three of his six attempts. It was a positional game and LSU took the lead. This is something that seemed impossible a month ago.

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