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There's no such thing as an ugly BCS trophy

Updated: 2012-01-11 07:53
( China Daily)

It's not pretty, but Alabama shuts out LSU for eighth national title

NEW ORLEANS - The Alabama defense took no chances in the rematch.

When Jordan Jefferson dropped back to pass, he was swept under by a tide of crimson. When the LSU quarterback took off running, he must've felt like Alabama had a few extra players on the field.

Courtney Upshaw, Dont'a Hightower and Co. sure made it seem that way.

There's no such thing as an ugly BCS trophy
Alabama running back Trent Richardson celebrates with the trophy after the Crimson Tide defeated LSU, 21-0, in the BCS championship game on Monday in New Orleans. Richardson scored the only touchdown in a game dominated by defense, a 34-yard run with 4:36 remaining and his team already up 15-0. He finished with 96 yards on 20 carries. [Photo/Agencies]

With a smothering display of old-school football, the No 2 Crimson Tide blew out the top-ranked Tigers 21-0 in the BCS championship game on Monday night.

Coach Nick Saban's Tide also moved into the top spot in the final Associated Press poll for the eighth time, tying Notre Dame for the most of any team in college football.

In this postseason of high-scoring shootouts, one of the greatest defenses in college football history carried another title back to Tuscaloosa.

"They are unbelievable," said Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones. "That defense is as good as any defense I've ever seen. They rush the passer, they have awesome linebackers and they're great in coverage. They really don't have any weaknesses. They have to be as good as any defense ever."

He'll get no argument from Jefferson and the Tigers (13-1), who had beaten Alabama 9-6 in overtime on Nov 5 - a game the Tide was still smarting about when it got to the Big Easy.

LSU didn't cross midfield until there were eight minutes left in the game. The Tigers finished with just 92 yards and five first downs.

"This defense is built on stopping them, and that's what we did," said Upshaw, the game's defensive MVP. "We wanted to come out and show the world we beat ourselves the first game. We wanted to come out and dominate from start to finish, and that's what we did."

The Crimson Tide (12-1) kept kicking field goals and finally made a long-overdue trip to the end zone late in the game - the only touchdown scored by either team in their two meetings.

Jeremy Shelley tied a bowl record with five field goals and the defense did the rest, posting the first shutout in the 14-year history of the BCS. It was the Tide's second BCS title in three years.

"That was the message before the game: to finish," Saban said. "In fact, it was how bad do you want to finish? We certainly didn't play a perfect game, we got a field goal blocked, we couldn't find the end zone for a long time, but we just kept playing."

There's no such thing as an ugly BCS trophy

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick holds the BCS trophy after Alabama defeated the LSU Tigers during the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in New Orleans Jan 9, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

While only crimson-clad fans will remember this as a thing of beauty, Alabama erased any doubts that it deserved to be in the title game over another one-loss team like Oklahoma State or Stanford.

Then again, one of those teams might have actually scored a touchdown before Alabama finally did, with 4:36 left in the game, long after fans may have flipped to something more entertaining than a one-sided kicking contest. Amazingly, these Southeastern Conference powerhouses played twice in a span of about two months, and never got one of those things that's worth six points - you know, touchdowns - until Trent Richardson broke off a 34-yard run with 4:36 remaining.

It only took 115 minutes, 34 seconds, plus the overtime period in their first meeting.

LSU had beaten eight ranked teams - including Alabama in early November - to establish itself as the clear No 1 going into the bowls, but the Tigers didn't come close to matching their performance from the Game of the Century in Tuscaloosa. Instead of putting up a Godfather II, this one was more akin to Speed 2.

The Tigers were outgained 384-92 in total yards. On that one and only trip into Alabama territory, they quickly went back, back, back - the last gasp ending appropriately with the beleaguered Jefferson getting the ball knocked from his hand before he could even get off a fourth-and-forever pass.

"We didn't do a lot different," Saban said. "We did some things on offense formationally. Our offensive team did a great job. Defensively, we just played well, played the box. Our special teams did a great job."

He has won two BCS titles at Alabama, plus another at LSU in 2003.

There's no such thing as an ugly BCS trophy

LSU Tigers quarterback Jordan Jefferson (bottom) is sacked by by Alabama Crimson Tide's Tre DiPriest in the fourth quarter during the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan 9, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

He's the first coach to win three BCS titles, denying LSU's Les Miles his second championship. The Tigers will have to settle for the SEC title, but that's not likely to ease the sting of this ugly performance.

A couple of months ago at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Alabama held the top spot in the first matchup between the top two teams.

The Tigers won with three field goals, while the Crimson Tide missed four of their six attempts.

OK, so maybe that wasn't a classic. But it was downright thrilling compared to the rematch, the first time in the BCS that teams played for the title after meeting during the regular season.

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