4. Tide Rally In Death Valley
Alabama led LSU, 14-3, at halftime of a nationally-televised CBS game Nov. 4, 2012.
The Crimson Tide scored two second-quarter touchdowns. After Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron scored on a nine-yard touchdown run with just 11 seconds remaining in the first half, the Tide seemed in control. Even though Alabama played poorly in the second half, it appeared the Tide was driving for another touchdown late in the third quarter when LSU recovered an errant handoff between McCarron and running back TJ Yeldon at the LSU 10-yard line. LSU then took over the game.
LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger had a career night, completing 24 of 35 for 298 yards. During the second half, he completed 14 passes for 202 yards. Tigers running back Jeremy Hill scored on a one-yard plunge late in the third quarter. Mettenberger followed up Hill’s run with a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jarvis Landry to put the Tigers ahead 17-14 with just under 13 minutes remaining. LSU appeared to put the game away by driving to the Alabama 28-yard line late in the game, but kicker Drew Alleman missed a 38-yard field goal.
The Tide arrived in Baton Rouge having trailed for a grand total of 15 seconds the entire season. Ole Miss jumped ahead 6-0 early in the second quarter in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 29. Then on the ensuing kickoff, Christion Jones returned the kick 99 yards to put the Tide in front, 7-6. Alabama would not trail again until November.
Coming into the winning drive, McCarron had experienced arguably the worst half of his career. He completed one of seven pass attempts for zero yards. But McCarron regrouped and completed three consecutive passes to wide receiver Kevin Norwood, driving the Tide to the LSU 28-yard line. LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis tormented McCarron and the Alabama offensive line with a bevy of blitzes and stunts in the second half. Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier called the perfect play, a screen pass to Yeldon to combat the pressure, apparently on the recommendation of center Barrett Jones. Yeldon faked a block and then caught a short pass and ran 28 yards for the winning touchdown with 54 seconds left.
"(Doug) Nussmeier made a great play call,” McCarron told the Huntsville Times. “He felt like they were going to bring pressure, and they did. I felt like it was going to be a good play. I just had to kind of jump off my back foot and get it high and give (Yeldon) a chance."