NEW ORLEANS, LA (WBRC) - Alabama regained the crown of national champion Monday night when the Crimson Tide shutout the LSU Tigers, 21-0, to win the BCS Championship, its 14th national title and the second under head coach Nick Saban.
Alabama scored 15 of the 21 points with the foot of place kicker Jeremy Shelley. Shelley successfully kicked five of seven field goal attempts, redeeming himself for the missed field goals during the first game with LSU nine weeks ago which cost the Crimson Tide a victory.
"Jeremy did a great job in the game," Saban said after the game. "We have a lot of confidence in Jeremy. He doesn't have great range, but when we get it down there by the 25-yard line he does a pretty good job for the most part."
The Crimson Tide dominated the Tigers on both sides of the ball Monday night. Alabama had 384 yards of total offense, compared to only 92 yards for LSU. Alabama had no fumbles, while LSU had three. Alabama punted the ball only three times, while LSU punted it nine. Alabama had one penalty. LSU had five.
Saban said the team played with a spirit of determination.
"That was kind of the message before the game, is that we wanted to finish," Saban said. "In fact, it was a question: How bad do you want to finish? What's your effort going to be, your enthusiasm, your excitement to play in the game, the toughness that you're willing to play with, all the intangibles, and you do it one play at a time? I think that that spirit was sort of reflected out there in the way our players competed."
Much of Alabama's success on offense Monday night was due to quarterback A.J. McCarron, who completed 23 of 34 passes for 234 yards earning him the game's offensive MVP. McCarron said he was thankful for the opportunity to step up.
"We knew coming into the game somebody else had to step up, and coach just gave me an opportunity," McCarron said. "When you have a group of receivers like I have, makes your job easy as a quarterback."
Others also stepped up, including running back Trent Richardson, who rushed 20 times for 100 yards, and Courtney Upshaw, who had seven tackles earning him the honor of defensive MVP for the game.
The Crimson Tide made their first strike in the game on their second possession. Alabama's Marquis Maze returned a LSU punt for 49 yards, before limping off the field with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. The Tide pushed on, but found themselves stopped by the Tiger defense at the 6 yard line. Jeremy Shelley was called on to the field and kicked the field goal with five minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Alabama returned to the red zone on their next possession, but was again held out of the endzone by the LSU defense. The 12-play drive came to an end at the LSU 25 with Jeremy Shelley attempting a 42-yard field goal. Unfortunately for the Tide, the attempt was blocked by Tiger Michael Brocker.
Shelley would find himself called on again before the half. With 4:18 remaining in the 2nd quarter, Shelley wrapped up an 11-play drive for Alabama's second field goal of the game. As the Alabama defense continued to dominate the LSU offense, the Crimson Tide took control of the ball again with just 1:59 left in the half. Squeezing 9 plays into a hurried drive, Jeremy Shelley took the field again and kicked a field goal with no time remaining on the clock. The 41-yard kick set Alabama up with a score of 9 over the scoreless Tigers as they headed into the locker room.
Alabama's momentum continued coming into the third. After receiving the ball, 6 plays put the Tide at LSU's 18 yard line. For the fifth time in the game, kicker Jeremy Shelley returned to the field. A successful 35-yard kick at the 12:49 mark bumped the score up to 12 for the Tide.
LSU's offense began to show bigger cracks in the 3rd quarter. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson lost the favor of the LSU fans when a short pass was intercepted by C.J. Mosley at the LSU 27. Alabama failed to capitalize on the turnover, pushing only four yards, and Shelley's attempt at a 41-yard field goal went just right of the posts. LSU fans voiced their disapproval as Jefferson took the field again. Three plays saw the Tigers lose 6 yards before the punt.
Alabama put running back Eddie Lacy to work with back-to-back first down rushes. Stopped at the LSU 27, the Crimson Tide kicker Jeremy Shelley added a 44-yard field goal with 22 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the LSU offense began showing some pep. After two first down conversions, Jefferson rushed for 18 yards to cross into Alabama territory for the first time in the game. The momentum was lost, though, after a 5 yard False Start was incurred on the Tigers and two Jefferson passes were incomplete. This was topped off by a Dont'a Hightower sack that forced a fumble. The ball was recovered by Alabama's Nick Gentry at the 50 yard line.
The turnover created a window for Alabama to score without a Jeremy Shelley field goal. Four plays in, Trent Richardson managed to break free for a 34-yard touchdown with 4:36 remaining in the game. Jeremy Shelley's extra point bounced off the uprights and was not good for the extra point. This gave the Crimson Tide a score of 21 and would end the scoring in the game.
This ends a season for Alabama and LSU where the only losses for both teams were to each other.
The win marks the first time in BCS history a coach had won three BCS championships. It also marks the sixth consecutive BCS Championship victory for a team from the SEC.
The poignant win also came less than a year after a devastating EF-4 tornado tore through UA's hometown of Tuscaloosa. Saban acknowledged the moment before fans in the stadium Monday night, saying he hoped the victory would bring some comfort to those who suffered loss.
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