BATON ROUGE, La. – Stevan Ridley scored the go-ahead touchdown and Josh Jasper booted three field goals to lead 12th-ranked LSU to a 24-21 triumph over fifth-ranked Alabama at Tiger Stadium. Jordan Jefferson went 10-of-13 for 141 yards and a touchdown, while Ridley ran for 88 yards and the score on 24 carries for the Tigers (8-1, 5-1 SEC), who moved into second place in the SEC West, one game behind Auburn.
Jarrett Lee connected on 4-of-7 passes for 67 yards, including a key throw in the fourth quarter to Rueben Randle, who made three catches for 125 yards and a touchdown for the Tigers, who have won nine straight on home soil.
Greg McElroy threw for 223 yards on 21-of-34 accuracy with two touchdowns and an interception for the Crimson Tide (7-2, 4-2), who had their hopes of a repeat SEC and national championship dashed. Mark Ingram amassed 97 yards on 21 rushes, while Julio Jones made 10 receptions for 89 yards and a score for Alabama, which lost its sixth of the last eight meetings with LSU.
After the teams traded punts to start the game, LSU’s Kelvin Sheppard picked off McElroy on the next Alabama drive, leading to a 45-yard Jasper field goal. Alabama bridged the end of the first quarter and start of the second with an 11-play, 81-yard drive to take a 7-3 lead.
Trent Richardson reached the one on a 22-yard jaunt and then was stopped twice for no gain bringing up third down. McElroy rolled right and found Richardson in the flat. The sophomore reached for the goal line as he was being brought down by Patrick Peterson and, just as his arm and ball crossed the plane and hit the ground, the ball popped out forcing an instant replay review, which upheld the touchdown ruling on the field. Richardson was injured on the play and returned for only one carry early in the fourth quarter. He finished with 28 yards on six carries.
LSU was staring at a 4th-and-1 at its own 40 during its first second half possession and called for a fake punt that was successful, as Jasper ran for 29 yards to the Alabama 31. The drive stalled after an incompletion and Jasper missed wide left from 45 yards out. After an Alabama punt pinned the Tigers at their own six-yard line, the hosts needed just two plays to regain the lead. Jefferson connected with Terrence Toliver for 19 yards to the 25 and then hit Randle in stride on a crossing pattern at the LSU 45, as the fleet wideout streaked down the right side line to paydirt with 8:17 remaining in the third quarter. It was Jefferson’s first scoring pass since LSU’s opening game of the season.
The Tide responded with a 10-play, 73-yard march to move in front 14-10 with 2:30 to play in the period. McElroy completed three passes and Ingram carried seven times for 29 yards, including the last five on a pitchout around the left end for the go-ahead TD.
Jasper’s 35-yard field goal 44 seconds into the final quarter brought LSU to within one and capped a seven-play, 53-yard series. Trailing 14-13, LSU forced a three-and-out and took over at its own 23 with 12:10 to go in the game. The Tigers moved 77 yards, all on the ground, on 11 plays to regain the lead. Facing 4th-and-1 at the Tide 26, Les Miles called timeout and opted against a field goal try. Instead, the Tigers ran a reverse that DeAngelo Peterson took to the three to set up first-and-goal. Two runs got the ball to the one before Ridley banged in on third down to put the Tigers back on top. Alabama called timeout before LSU went for two and got it when Jefferson rolled right and drilled a pass to Randle to make it a 21-14 game with 8:13 to go.
On the second play on the ensuing possession, Drake Nevis jarred the ball loose from McElroy and it was recovered by Sheppard at the Tide 28 with 7 1/2 minutes remaining. Ridley carried three times for six yards before Jasper came on to knock in a 39-yard field goal to extend the LSU lead to ten with 5:34 left in the game.
Alabama responded with a nine-play, 74-yard march in just over two minutes that was finished off by McElroy’s nine-yard scoring strike to Jones that trimmed the lead to 24-21 with 3:23 to go. LSU got the ball back but was forced to punt. Alabama had to go 86 yards in 18 seconds with no timeouts. After two incompletions, Alabama ran a hook-and-lateral but did not reach their own 40 as time expired.