The top-ranked Crimson Tide weathered the early storm and imposed its will in the second half while pushing the Tigers to their breaking point in a 38-17 thumping Saturday.
“Closer to the end of the game, I looked into the quarterback’s eyes, and I could just tell,” Mosley said. “Not trying to talk trash or call him out or anything. It’s just something that you just notice. After that, we kind of smelled the blood and kept going.”
For the first time in recent memory, a contest in this rivalry got out of hand. The Tide scored 21 unanswered in the second half while holding the Tigers to just a field goal after the intermission.
During the week, defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan said he wanted to “step on their throats.” A chuckling Pagan wouldn’t go that far postgame.
“I wouldn’t say all that, but I will say we changed the way they thought,” Pagan said. “They came in here thinking they were going to be more physical than us and I feel like we changed that.”
The game swung when Tide coach Nick Saban out-Les Miles-ed Les Miles. Saban called the games biggest trick play with a fake punt on fourth-and-two during the Tide’s first offensive drive of the second half.
Mosley took the snap and handed the ball to safety Jarrick Williams, who picked up the first down with a 6-yard run. The offense capped the position with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took 4:34 off the clock.
“I just didn’t want to fumble the ball,” Mosley said. “It was all about giving the ball to (Jarrick) and him doing the rest.”
Both the Tide’s players and its fans caught a second win following the fake. The capacity crowd turned Bryant-Denny Stadium into a party in the second half once the Tide secured a two-touchdown lead.
The “We want Bama” chant has become popular throughout college football, but the only team that truly seems to “want” Alabama, is Alabama.
A chunk of the Crimson Tide’s student section began shouting “We want Bama” chant late in the fourth quarter and continued once the time ran out.
Even Nick Saban made it a point to go wave to the fans after his on-field interview.
“I’ve done lots, man. I love our fans,” Saban said. “That was a great atmosphere for a college football game. … I think our fans affected the game tonight.”
Defensively, the Tide forced two turnovers and were able to stifle LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger throughout the second half. They sent blitz after blitz and never let Mettenberger get into a rhythm.
“Coach preached that to us that if we get pressure on him, he can’t step in the pocket and throw the ball,” Tide safety Landon Collins said. “He lofts the ball or it goes straight to the ground. That’s what we tried to do.”
Quarterback AJ McCarron completed 14 of 20 passes for 179 yards and three scores. McCarron didn’t need to throw much in the second half as Alabama pounded away with sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon to run down the clock. He racked up 133 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
“That guy makes us look good,” right tackle Austin Shepherd said. “You miss a block, that guy is going to make the play for you. He’s an outstanding back, and I love blocking for him.”
During his postgame news conference, Saban was quick to mention his team lost last season following a big win over LSU. But McCarron said his coach won’t have to worry about the maturity of this team.
“We’re hungry,” McCarron said. “We’ll be ready.”
While there still is nearly a month left in the season, the Tide players feel like they’re building toward something special.
“As long as we keep our vision going, as long as we stay focused on our task and don’t let the little stuff get in our way and play Alabama football, we’ll be all right,” Mosley said.