Alabama notes: LSU breaks through in first half

Anniston StarNovember 9, 2013 

LSU Alabama Football

DAVE MARTIN/Associated PressAlabama running back Jalston Fowler, right, runs against LSU safety Craig Loston and gets into the end zone during the second half Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Alabama had a penalty and the touchdown didn't count. Fowler later scored on a 3-yard pass from AJ McCarron.

BUTCH DILL — AP

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Since facing Texas A&M on Sept. 14, Alabama's defense hadn't allowed a first-half point until Saturday night.

The LSU Tigers scored 14 points in the opening half and trailed Alabama 17-14 at the intermission.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was not happy with his team's play in the first half.

"We're really not playing very well," Saban said at halftime. "We're not finishing blocks up front. We're not sustaining things offensively. We made a couple big plays.

"We're not playing well at all on defense. They're a good offensive team, and when you play good teams, you've got to do things right. We busted a third down on third-and-6.

"You've got to get off the field on third downs against a team like this, and we're not doing a very good job of that right now."

Turnovers

Alabama forced two turnovers to kill promising LSU drives in the first half. LSU had the ball on the three-yard line and was about to score when Alabama linebacker Tana Patrick stripped LSU fullback J.C. Copeland and Tide safety Landon Collins recovered the ball.

On the second turnover, LSU snapped the ball before quarterback Zach Mettenberger was ready and Tide linebacker Trey DePriest fell on it.

DePriest also had a sack on that drive.

Sack streak

Alabama went four complete games without allowing a sack, but that streak came to an end when a free blitzer got a hold of quarterback AJ McCarron in the first half.

McCarron ducked and went to the ground before the linebacker was able to lay a big hit on him.

Secondary

Cyrus Jones started at cornerback opposite Deion Belue with Bradley Sylve sidelined with an ankle injury.

Both Jones and Belue played well in coverage for the most part, but also gave up big plays to LSU's wide receivers.

A lot of the long passes came when LSU's offense used shifts and motions to match the Tide's linebackers up with the Tiger's wide receivers. Alabama adjusted during halftime.

Scoring streak continues

With Cade Foster's 41-yard field goal in the first quarter, Alabama has scored in 165 consecutive games -- the longest streak in program history.

O.J. Howard

Freshman tight end O.J. Howard recorded the second touchdown of his Alabama career in the second quarter of Saturday's game, going 52 yards for the score.

The catch was the longest of the season, surpassing his previous high of 27 set at Texas A&M.

McCarron sets record

On the Crimson Tide's second drive of the second quarter, senior signal-caller AJ McCarron set the UA career passing yard record, moving ahead of John Parker Wilson (7,924 yards from 2005-08) for the No. 1 spot. At the half, McCarron had 7,947 career yards.

Tide 70-3 under Saban when leading at half: Alabama enters halftime with a 17-14 lead over LSU. The Crimson Tide is 70-3 when leading at the half under head coach Nick Saban.

They were here

While Saturday's Alabama-LSU game didn't command "Game of the Century" hype, it did command a big-game press box.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive was there, along with scouts from the Gator, Florida Citrus, Chick-fil-A and All-State Sugar Bowls. National media figures included Pat Forde, Dennis Dodd, Phil Steele and representatives from the New York Times, USA Today, SI.com and The Sporting News.

On the photo deck were representatives from 11 NFL teams -- the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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