TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Second-ranked Alabama had No. 1 LSU on the ropes after Trent Richardson ripped off a tackle-breaking, 24-yard gain to the Tigers’ 28-yard line, positioning the Crimson Tide first-and-10 with about 11 minutes left and the score tied.
Instead of playing it safe in hopes of setting up a field goal attempt, Alabama went to its bag of tricks.
Senior receiver Marquis Maze lined up as a Wildcat quarterback, faked a handoff and pulled up to pass. Tight end Michael Williams broke free down the middle of the field.
The ball floated toward the goal line.
Williams leaped to make the grab, but was met in mid-flight by LSU safety Eric Reid, who muscled the ball away from Williams as the two hit the turf. An official review withheld the on-field call of an interception and gave the Tigers the ball at their own 1.
“I had my man, but then I saw the tight end running free,” Reid said later. “I saw the ball in the air, so I knew I had to get it.”
Reid’s interception shut the door on either team’s best opportunity at a late score, helping LSU force the overtime that ended with Drew Alleman’s 25-yard field goal for a 9-6 win.
“How about that interception down there at the goal line?” LSU coach Les Miles said. “That was pretty strong.”
Reid’s interception was the second of two turnovers the Tigers forced in the second half, combining with Morris Claiborne’s third-quarter pick to set up LSU’s second field goal.
It was arguably the biggest play of Reid’s breakout game.
A sophomore from Dutchtown High School known for making bone-jarring hits in the secondary, Reid had six tackles Saturday, including a 6-yard stop of former high school teammate Eddie Lacy in the first quarter.
“That’s just who he is in the secondary,” Miles said. “The presence he has given us is tremendous.”
If he hadn’t wrestled the ball from Williams on Alabama’s wise-guy pass play, the Crimson Tide would have been in position to go ahead by a touchdown in the fourth - a potentially fatal blow.
Even then, though, LSU needed help from its special teams.
Standout punter Brad Wing delivered with a 73-yard bomb after the LSU offense ran three times from the shadows of its own goal line.
Maze, set up for a return, watched the ball sail over his head and all the way to the Alabama 18.
Neither team moved the ball into the other’s territory the during final nine minutes of regulation.
“Alabama is one of the best teams in the country,” Reid said, “so for us to get a win like this means a lot. Thank God for it.”