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January 9, 2012

Tide dominates LSU in championship rematch

NEW ORLEANS | The University of Alabama got its second chance on Monday night. And LSU had no chance at all. The Crimson Tide completely engulfed LSU at the Superdome, smashing the Tigers 21-0 in a dominant performance that gave Alabama its second BCS title should settle any legitimate debate about any version of the national championship.

Jeremy Shelley made five of his seven field-goal attempts and Trent Richardson capped the scoring with a 34-yard touchdown run - the only touchdown in two Alabama-LSU games this year - to provide more than enough offense for a defense that left LSU looking battered and bewildered.

"This demonstrates the character of the young men in the locker room" Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. "It's easy to do the right thing some of the time, but this team has done the right thing almost all the time."

"We wanted to show that we beat ourselves in the first game," Courtney Upshaw, the game's defensive MVP, said. "We don't want to down LSU. They're a pretty good team. But we wanted to come out and dominate, and that's what we did."

The Crimson Tide allowed LSU to cross midfield only once in the game, and - after a pair of sacks - even that possession ended up back at the 50-yard line. Tiger quarterback Jordan Jefferson played the entire game, but his 11 completions went for just 53 yards. LSU's vaunted running game was even worse, with the Tigers gaining just 39 yards on 27 carries.

Alabama (12-1) had difficulty, as it did in the first game, with scoring touchdown in the red zone. Shelley, however, converted a Bowl Championship Series record five of his seven attempts, including three in the first half as Alabama took a 9-0 lead.

"I told my team we didn't get it going offensively at all, and our defense was on the field a long time," LSU coach Les Miles said. "Give credit to our opponent, they had a great game plan.

"I told our team that I did not see it coming, and that's my fault. I don't know that the adjustments we made since Nov. 5 were the right ones."

Alabama's, however, proved more effective, especially on special teams.

In addition to Shelley's improved accuracy (he made of 1 of 2 on Nov. 5 and UA was 2 for 6 overall), UA was improved in all phases of special teams. Marquis Maze had a 49-yard punt return, the longest against LSU all year, despite tearing a hamstring on the play.

"We did some different things on special teams and the big punt return was one of those things," Saban said.

Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron won offensive MVP honors, completing 23 of 34 passes for 234 yards.

As the second half wore on, the LSU defense grew fatigued and Alabama continued to wear the Tigers down, finally breaking a long touchdown drought when Richardson scored on his touchdown. The junior running back finished with 96 yards on 20 carries.


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