TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Former LSU pitcher Brian Wilson attended Saturday’s LSU-Alabama after making a hilarious appearance as a guest picker on ESPN’s “College GameDay” program earlier that morning.
Wilson wore a No. 38 football jersey (he wears No. 38 with the San Francisco Giants) and an oversized football helmet. LSU senior associate athletic director Herb Vincent said Wilson originally requested a male cheerleader costume but changed his mind.
When it came time to pick a winner for the LSU-Bama game, Wilson donned a Tiger head complete with his signature mohawk hairstyle and bushy black beard. He played a trumpet, blasting out “Hold that Tiger.” Wilson also wore yellow football-like gloves bearing a purple mohawk and bushy beard logo.
ESPN’s Lee Corso donned a Tiger head as he picked LSU to win (Corso has picked LSU all three times College GameDay has been at an LSU game this season).
Play of the game
After battering LSU’s defense for 3-1/2 quarters, Trent Richardson finally broke out on a patented run, breaking at least three tackles and he dragged Tiger defenders to the LSU 28 for a 24-yard gain.
But in a play that will likely be second-guessed, Alabama immediately turned it over when it was already in field-goal range with the game tied 6-6 early in the fourth quarter.
On first down, Bama sent in Marquis Maze at quarterback in the Wildcat formation.
Maze rolled right and lofted a ball near the LSU goal line for tight end Michael Williams.
LSU free safety Eric Reid went up for the ball with Williams and pulled it away as they fell to the turf.
The play was ruled an interception, a call that was upheld by SEC replay official Ben Oldham.
The Tigers eventually had to punt, but Maze failed to field Brad Wing’s line-drive kick, allowing the ball to roll dead at the Bama 19 - a 73-yard boot that kept Alabama out of LSU’s end the rest of regulation play.
When he tried the left side of the LSU line late in the first quarter, Alabama running back Eddie Lacy found a familiar face zooming from the secondary to take him down.
Reid, a teammate of Lacy’s at Dutchtown High, stopped his fellow ex-Griffin for a 6-yard loss.
Lacy, limited in recent weeks by turf toe, had broken off a 20-yard run - the longest rushing play for either team in the first half - two plays earlier. Reid finished the first half with five tackles, matching Ryan Baker for the team lead.
The play was one of several key plays for Reid, who played arguably the best game of his career in the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 regular-season matchup in LSU history.
Reid had the interception, forced a Richardson fumble in the first quarter that went out of bounds, had a tackle for loss, and ran back the field-goal attempt blocked by Bennie Logan in the second quarter. Reid was credited with six tackles.
Rough start for Miles
As the LSU team charged the field during introductions, LSU coach Les Miles took a tumble to the Bryant-Denny Stadium turf. Miles got up, none the worse for wear, and got to coaching.
Brad Wing’s 73-yard punt in the fourth quarter was a career-long by 13 yards, and the third-longest in LSU history behind Donnie Jones (86 against Kentucky, 2002) and Derek Helton (82 against Arkansas, 2010).
Emmert in attendance
NCAA President and former LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert was one of the many famous faces in attendance at Saturday’s game.
“The atmosphere here is electric,” Emmert said. “It feels like a BCS championship game.”
Emmert traveled here after attending the first half of the Texas-Texas Tech game in Austin earlier in the day.
“I like going to games, and I try to get out and see how we’re doing on the ground,” Emmert said.
Among the other notables at Saturday’s game: Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice (a native of Birmingham); CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus; SEC Commissioner Mike Slive; Sugar Bowl CEO Paul Hoolahan; former Alabama and New Orleans Saints quarterback Kenny Stabler; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft; and former LSU Tigers Stephen Peterman, Kevin Mawae, Nacho Albergamo and Jamie Bice.
LSU defensive end Ken Adams limped off the field on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Adams, who reportedly had a sprained knee, missed the Tigers’ last game against Auburn.
Adams returned on the next possession.
Alabama cornerback DeQuan Menzie went down with 9:14 left in the second quarter but jogged off.
Maze injured his right ankle in the second half but did return.
Alabama starting left tackle Barrett Jones went to the locker room with an unspecified injury at the end of the third quarter but later returned.
LSU defensive tackle Josh Downs was injured with 11:26 left to play and was helped off.
Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick suffered a concussion with 4:33 remaining on a holding call by LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu as he tried to block for Odell Beckham Jr. on a punt return. The penalty backed LSU up to its 5 after Beckham returned the ball near the 40. Kirkpatrick did not return.
To the nines
LSU improved to 9-0 (6-0 Southeastern Conference) for the first time since 1973.
That year, the Tigers had their winning streak ended by Alabama 21-7 in a Thanksgiving night defeat.
If LSU improves to 10-0 next week with a win over Western Kentucky, it would be the Tigers’ first 10-0 start since the 1958 national championship season.
LSU wins in Alabama again
The Tigers are 11-4 in road games against Alabama since 1982, contests played at Legion Field in Birmingham and Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The Crimson Tide still leads the series 45-25-5, but LSU has won eight of 11 meetings since 2000.
Crunching the numbers
LSU may not have cracked the end zone, but the Tigers were 3-of-3 in the red zone. LSU is 41-of-42 in red zone opportunities this season.
Miles featured in grass ad
Perhaps we should have seen this coming.
Miles, noted sideline grass chewer, is being featured in a new ad campaign promoting Louisiana’s turfgrass industry.
The campaign, created as part of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture’s and Forestry’s Specialty Crop Program, will feature Miles in billboard, print and Internet ads.
No word on what Miles thought of how Alabama’s grass tasted.
The last word
“LSU is a very good team. They’re No. 1 in the country for a reason.”
Alabama coach Nick Saban
LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson went over 5,000 yards in career total offense in the first half, while Alabama’s Trent Richardson went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season. ... Representatives from eight bowls were in attendance Saturday: Sugar, Capital One, Cotton, Gator, Chick-fil-A, Outback, Pinstripe and Senior. ... LSU returns home Saturday for its homecoming game against Western Kentucky. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. in Tiger Stadium on ESPNU. ... As part of its negotiations to get this year’s LSU-Alabama game moved to prime time, CBS agreed to a request by LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva to put next year’s LSU-Bama game on in prime time in Tiger Stadium as well.
Advocate sportswriters Scott Rabalais, Les East
and Scott Hotard contributed to this report.