Baton Rouge, La. —This game was going to define the LSU Tigers season and now all the pundits have to take that team that hails from Baton Rouge seriously.
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels was sacked six times but kept his composure throughout the game.
But the story of the night was Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels, who not only completed 22 of 32 passes for 182 yards and two scores with 95 yards on the ground.
Daniels ran it in from 25-yards for a score in overtime and then hit Mason Taylor for the go ahead 2-point conversion, and 15th-ranked LSU (7-2, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) took control of the SEC West race with 32-31 victory over No. 6 Alabama on Saturday night in Death Valley in front of 102,321 .
“I had never beaten Alabama,” Brian Kelly said. “I was emotional, not for myself, but I was emotional for our team. Because I know what we looked like in January and to see where we are today, that’s pretty emotional.”
The Crimson Tide (7-2, 4-2) began overtime with the ball and took a 31-24 lead on Roydell Williams blast up the middle for his second touchdown of the game.
Alabama, who was favored by nearly two-TDs, lost in Tiger Stadium for the first time since 2010.
“If you asked me before the game started, ‘Hey I’m going to give you one play and if you are successful on that one play you are going to beat Alabama,’ I would have taken it 100 times out of a hundred,” Kelly said. “At that moment, it kind of hit me that way. I knew we had a really good play that we hadn’t used and (Alabama) hadn’t seen. When you get (Daniels) out on the perimeter you truly have a threat. So I felt really good about the play.”
Kelly, who as Notre Dame’s coach lost to Nick Saban and Alabama twice in college football’s postseason, became the coach to end LSU’s decade-long run of home futility against the Tide at the beginning of a 10-year contract worth nearly $100 million.
There were three lead changes in the final 4:44, starting when Bryce Young escaping a sack, scrambled right and found Ja’Corey Brooks for a 41-yard touchdown.
LSU went back in front 24-21 with 1:47 left in regulation when Daniels hit Taylor, a true freshman, in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard score.
Young passed for 328 yards and one touchdown, and also was intercepted.
“Obviously, this isn’t the outcome we wanted, but I am super proud of our team,” Young said. “These are my brothers and this is tough.
It went back and forth, then Young drove Alabama to the LSU 28 yard line and Will Reichard’s 46-yard field goal tied it with 21 seconds left.
The Crimson Tide took its first of two fourth-quarter leads with the help of face mask and defensive holding penalties by the Tigers that negated what would have been a third-down sack.
The winning play began with Daniels rolling right before throwing to Taylor along the goal line. Taylor was tackled at the pylon but with the ball narrowly crossing the goal line.
“I felt comfortable with the play,” Daniels said, adding that he, like Kelly, didn’t want a second overtime. “If it wasn’t there, hopefully I could make something of it with my legs. But I was able to give Mason a ball he could catch and the rest is history.”
Alabama: At No. 11 Mississippi, which had this weekend off.
LSU: At Arkansas, which will be trying to regroup from loss to No. 23 Liberty.