Louisiana State's defense held Alabama without a first down in the first half and Alan Risher led the Tigers' offense by throwing for 182 yards and one touchdown in today's 20-10 upset of the eighth-ranked Crimson Tide.
The loss leaves Alabama 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the Southeastern Conference. It is only the second time since 1970 that the Crimson Tide has lost more than one conference game in a season and the third time in that stretch that they have lost more than one regular-season contest.
After the game, Alabama Coach Bear Bryant, 68, suggested it could be time for him to retire. "I think it's very obvious now for three or four weeks that our team has been very poorly prepared . . . I'm going to alert the president (Alabama President Dr. Joab L. Thomas), and anybody that wants to know, in a heck of a hurry that we need to make some changes, need to start at the top," Bryant said, adding, "and I'm at the top in my organization."
Bryant, who is famous for his denigration of himself and his team, has an overall record of 231-44-8 in 25 years at Alabama.
LSU's victory, which came before a Legion Field crowd of 77,230, was its first in 11 years against Alabama.
Eleventh-ranked LSU (7-0-1 and 4-0-1) scored on Risher's four-yard pass to Malcolm Scott, a 16-yard run by freshman Dalton Hilliard and field goals of 23 and 20 yards by Juan Betanzos. Risher completed 21 of 26 passes.
Alabama (7-2 and 3-2) got a 28-yard scoring pass from Walter Lewis to Joey Jones and a 31-yard field goal by Peter Kim.
"You can't understand what it's like to get hit in the mouth 11 years in a row," said LSU Coach Jerry Stovall. "This is without a doubt my biggest win. It hasn't really soaked in yet, but I think it will pretty good when it does."
Going into today's game, LSU's defense had allowed an average of 193.1 yards per game, best in the country, and was third in rushing defense with a yield of 59.6 per game.
The Tigers showed why in the first two periods, embarrassing the Crimson Tide's supposedly strong wishbone offense. Alabama, which ranked fourth nationally in total offense and rushing with averages of 446.2 and 300.5 yards respectively, managed only 10 yards on the ground in 15 carries and 22 passing.
"I think that's the best beating we've had since the '60s," Bryant said. "We started out playing defense well enough to win, if the offense gave us any help. But the offense never did, except a little while in the third quarter."
Alabama had the ball eight times in the first half and got into LSU territory only after a fumble recovery at the Tigers' 39. But three plays netted only four yards.
LSU ended the defensive stalemate midway in the second period by driving 90 yards in 11 plays. The drive ended with Hilliard's 16-yard touchdown run with 8:14 left in the half. That touchdown was Hilliard's 12th of the season; he entered the game as the nation's fourth-leading scorer.
The Tigers' second touchdown came after safety Liffort Hobley recovered an Alabama fumble at the Tide 27. Risher's scoring pass to Scott came with 58 seconds left in the half.
Craig Turner failed to field LSU's short popup kickoff and the Tigers converted the error into Betanzos' first field goal and a 17-0 lead at halftime.
Alabama drove to its first score on its first possession of the second half, with Kim's field goal coming with 8:08 remaining in the third period.
Alabama's Al Blue recovered a fumble on LSU's first play of the half, and Lewis threw a 28-yard scoring pass to Jones on the Tide's first snap. Alabama's 10th point in seven seconds made the score 17-10.
LSU used up time with a 13-play drive that culminated in Betanzos' second field goal with 10:41 left in the game. That finished the scoring.
With Risher directing the Tigers' offense, LSU controlled the ball for all but 6:04 of the final 22:43.