LSU players go down, but not out
By Glenn Guilbeau
Louisiana Gannett News
BATON ROUGE — LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey was flat on his stomach in pain. Quarterback Matt Flynn could not get up after catching the first pass of his career. Middle linebacker Darry Beckwith hurt a knee. Offensive guard Herman Johnson went to his knees. Defensive tackle Marlon Favorite was also shaken up.
But all of them returned to the field and lived the Tigers' emotional and critical, 41-34 victory over No. 17 Alabama Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala. They all are expected to be ready to play when the Tigers host Louisiana Tech at 7 p.m. Saturday.
"Everybody that went down returned, which was a good sign," LSU coach Les Miles said Sunday night. "It was not unlike any game that we play. We came off with some bumps. It isn't anything that is tremendously serious."
But they caused some hearts to skip beats. Dorsey played with a brace on his sprained right knee and looked in pain at times. He got rolled from behind accidentally by Alabama players and left the game in the first quarter. But he returned after missing only one series.
Flynn took a hit after catching a pass from Early Doucet in the first quarter and had to be replaced briefly by backup quarterback Andrew Hatch, a walk-on from Harvard. But Hatch never took a snap because after a timeout, Flynn returned with a new chin strap and not quite as dizzy.
"His chin strap was busted in half," tailback Jacob Hester said. "He got hit pretty hard."
BEAT AT OWN GAME: Former LSU coach Nick Saban brought the blitz to LSU like no other coach before him. And on Saturday, a blitz beat his new Alabama team. After much criticism from media, fans and Miles, LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini put more pressure on the passer in this game and the result was a season-high seven sacks.
Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson still made big plays and threw three touchdown passes, but he finished with just 14 completions in 40 attempts for 35 percent and an interception.
"We had to pressure the quarterback," Miles said. "We didn't want him to sit back there. We felt we had to get after him."
And after the seventh sack, they rested. True freshman safety Chad Jones made the last sack of Wilson on a blitz as Alabama faced a third and 12 from its 30-yard line with under two minutes to play and the scored tied 34-34. The sack caused Wilson to fumble. Safety Curtis Taylor recovered for LSU at the 3-yard line, and two plays later Jacob Hester scored on a 1-yard run for the 41-34 lead with 1:26 to play.
Jones was one of the jewels of Miles' 2007 signing class as he was considered the No. 1 safety in the nation by Rivals.com out of Southern Lab High in Baton Rouge.
"Chad Jones, anytime you spend on him, it's worth it," Miles said Sunday. "He's going to be pretty good."
CROWTON CROSSES UP SABAN, TOO: LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton inserted wide receiver Brandon LaFell into the game on LSU's touchdown drive to tie the game at 34-34 in the fourth quarter, not unlike a relief pitcher.
LaFell, who did not play as much earlier in the game because of some recent drops, had just one catch for four yards before this drive. Flynn threw to him four times in the 10-play drive, completing three for 39 yards. He was wide open on each one.
"I thought we had a good match-up with Brandon," Crowton said.
The drive ended with Flynn hitting Doucet on a short pass that turned into a 32-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-four play.
HIGHEST SCORING MEETING: Move over Indianapolis and New England. The LSU-Alabama game produced the most points in the history of the series with 75.
LSU-OLE MISS TV: The game time of the Nov. 17 LSU-Ole Miss game in Oxford, Miss., will be decided today. LSU's game against Louisiana Tech on Saturday will be carried by TigerVision.
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