BATON ROUGE, La. — Nick Saban, the Alabama coach, warned his team that things could detour down an unpleasant path here Saturday night. There would be a roaring crowd in the place called Death Valley, and LSU, the only team in the SEC that can match No. 1 Alabama in size and speed and NFL prospects, would be vengeful after what happened in the national championship game last January. Saban preached about things going “sideways” and that is exactly what happened.
In front of a record crowd of 93,374, the Crimson Tide (9-0, 6-0) hardly looked the part of the top team in the country. They lost two fumbles, one at the LSU 10-yard line in the second half, and they missed tackle after tackle. Saban clapped his hands after each mistake and implored his team to keep playing.