BATON ROUGE, La. -- Before Alabama center Barrett Jones trotted onto the field for the No. 1 Crimson Tide's season-defining drive at No. 5 LSU on Saturday night, he offered offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland one final suggestion.
"Hey, don't forget about the screen," Jones told Stoutland.
With about 1? minutes to play, LSU had a 17-14 lead and was threatening to knock off defending BCS national champion Alabama, which probably would have ended the SEC's hopes of winning a seventh consecutive national title.
Along with most of a record crowd of 93,374 fans at Tiger Stadium, college football fans from Eugene, Ore., to Manhattan, Kan., to South Bend, Ind., (and everywhere else outside the Southeast) were probably roaring for the Tigers to make one more defensive stop.
After LSU's Drew Alleman missed a 45-yard field goal with 1:34 to play, the Crimson Tide took possession at their 28-yard line. They probably needed to drive more than 40 yards for a tying field goal attempt or, even better, 72 yards for a winning touchdown.
And they didn't have much time -- or any timeouts -- to do it.
"I just looked at everybody on the sideline," Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron said. "We got down for a minute, but we pulled it together. I told them, 'We do it every Thursday in practice. It doesn't matter how many people are in the stands. The field is still 100 yards long, and we have to go put it in the end zone.'"
To read Mark Schlabach's full column, click here.