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Revisiting the past nine meetings between Alabama, LSU

Nico Johnson likened the recent games to a back-and-forth boxing match.

LSU beat Alabama in 2007, Nick Saban’s first year as the Tide’s coach. Alabama won in 2008 and 2009. The Tigers were victorious in 2010 and during the 2011 regular season. The Tide has since won four straight meetings since, including the 2012 BCS National Championship Game.

“They threw the first blow, we threw the second, and it’s been going back and forth,” Johnson, a former Alabama and current NFL linebacker, said, “and it just seems like lately we’ve been throwing more haymakers than them.”

Here is a look back at the nine meetings between Alabama and LSU since Saban took over as the Tide’s coach, a run of close games with both teams always ranked among the top-20 nationally and often much higher:

Nov. 3, 2007: No. 3 LSU 41, No. 17 Alabama 34

Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium

This in itself was like a back-and-forth boxing match.

LSU jumped out to an early 14-point lead, going ahead 17-3 four seconds into the second quarter on a 1-yard scoring run from fullback Jacob Hester that was set up by a 35-yard gain on a wide receiver reverse pass thrown by Early Doucet and caught by quarterback Matt Flynn deep down the right sideline.

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The Tide then answered back.

The combination of three John Parker Wilson touchdown passes and a Leigh Tiffin field goal gave Alabama a 27-17 lead with 1:19 left in the third quarter before a back-and-forth last quarter-plus that ended with the Tigers striking four final decisive blows.

A 61-yard Javier Arenas punt return for a touchdown had given the Tide a 34-27 lead with 7:33 left in the fourth quarter.

Down seven, LSU faced a fourth-and-4 at Alabama’s 32-yard line with 2:58 remaining.

A stop would have put the Tide in a good position for a win. Instead, Flynn completed a pass of around 10 yards to Doucet over the middle. Doucet broke a tackle and later eluded an Alabama defensive back on his way to a game-tying touchdown.

With the Tide facing a third-and-12 on its ensuing possession, Wilson was sacked by Tigers safety Chad Jones. Wilson fumbled. LSU recovered the ball at Alabama’s 3-yard line.

Hester scored on a 1-yard touchdown run two plays later to put LSU in front, 41-34, with 1:26 left in the fourth quarter.

Wilson scrambled for 23 yards on the first play of the Tide’s next possession to give Alabama the ball at the Tigers’ 49-yard line with 1:05 still remaining in the fourth quarter.

However, three straight incompletions set up a fourth-and-10. On fourth down, Wilson found an open Keith Brown along the sideline. Brown initially had the catch, but LSU safety Craig Steltz delivered a hard shot to Brown’s back that knocked the ball free and sealed the Tigers’ win.

Nov. 8, 2008: No. 1 Alabama 27, No. 15 LSU 21, OT

Location: Tiger Stadium

Alabama won and secured a spot in the SEC Championship Game behind a school-record-tying three interceptions from safety Rashad Johnson and a game-winning 1-yard touchdown run on a quarterback sneak from Wilson in overtime.

LSU led 14-7 late in the second quarter before Johnson got his second interception and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown.

The Tide went ahead, 21-14, midway through the third quarter with a 3-yard Glen Coffee touchdown run that was set up by a 23-yard Coffee run on the previous play.

LSU tied the score with 6:12 left in the fourth quarter, capping a 14-play, 74-yard drive that lasted more than six minutes with a 1-yard touchdown run from running back Charles Scott.

Alabama had a chance to win the game on the final play of regulation, but a 29-yard Leigh Tiffin field goal attempt was blocked.

The Tigers got the ball first in overtime. The possession ended with Johnson getting his third interception on an overthrown Jarrett Lee pass in the back corner of the end zone.

The first play of Alabama’s ensuing drive was a 23-yard pass from Wilson to star freshman wide receiver Julio Jones along the sideline that got the ball to LSU’s 2-yard line.

Wilson scored the game-winning touchdown two plays later.

Nov. 7, 2009: No. 3 Alabama 24, No. 9 LSU 15

Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium

LSU led, 7-3, at halftime and 15-13 early in the fourth quarter.

The game turned on one of the biggest plays of Julio Jones’ Alabama career.

On the first play of a Tide drive with 10:37 left in the fourth quarter, Jones caught a screen pass from quarterback Greg McElroy, eluded a Tigers defender near the line of scrimmage and outran the rest of LSU’s defense down the left sideline for a 73-yard touchdown.

A successful two-point conversion gave Alabama a 21-15 lead.

Following a Tigers three-and-out, the Tide put together an 11-play drive that took 6:14 off the clock and ended with a 40-yard Tiffin field goal with 3:04 left in the fourth quarter.

Alabama defensive back Robby Green sealed the Tide’s win shortly later with an interception of Lee, who entered after starting LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson suffered an injury.

Nov. 6, 2010: No. 12 LSU 24, No. 5 Alabama 21

Location: Tiger Stadium

This one swung on a trick play.

Down 14-13 with 9:51 left in the fourth quarter and the ball at Alabama’s 26-yard line, LSU decided to go for it on a fourth-and-1.

The play: A reserve to tight end DeAngelo Peterson.

Jefferson pitched the ball to running back Stevan Ridley, who promptly pitched again to a sweeping Peterson.

Peterson ran 23 yards down the left sideline before being pushed out of bounds at the Tide’s 3-yard line.

Ridley scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal. A successful two-point conversion gave the Tigers a 21-14 lead.

McElroy fumbled on the second play of the Tide’s next possession while being sacked by LSU defensive lineman Drake Nevis.

Tigers linebacker Kelvin Sheppard recovered the ball at the Alabama 28.

LSU took advantage with a 39-yard field goal from kicker Josh Jasper to go up, 24-14.

A 9-yard touchdown pass from McElroy to Jones trimmed the Tigers’ lead to 24-21 with 3:23 left in the fourth quarter. But LSU converted a third-and-13 on its ensuing possession with a 47-yard pass from Lee to Randle.

Alabama got the ball back with 18 seconds remaining.

LSU held on for the win after stopping a Tide desperation lateral play on the last play of the game.

Nov. 5, 2011: No. 1 LSU 9, No. 2 Alabama 6, OT

Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium

“The Game of the Century” was dominated by the two defenses.

In just the 23rd-ever regular season matchup between the top two teams in the AP rankings, LSU won a game during which both teams were unable to score a touchdown and combined for just 534 yards.

The score was tied at 3 at halftime after Tigers kicker Drew Alleman converted a 19-yard field goal on the final play of the half.

Alabama kicker Cade Foster put Alabama in front, 6-3, with a 46-yard field goal during the third quarter.

Alleman tied the score at 6 with a 30-yard kick less than a minute into the fourth quarter.

The Tide drove to LSU’s 28-yard line on the ensuing drive before a controversial interception gave the ball back to the Tigers.

LSU safety Eric Reid intercepted a deep pass from Alabama wide receiver Marquis Maze, stealing the ball away from Tide tight end Michael Williams as the two players went to the ground at the Tigers’ 1-yard line.

Foster missed a 52-yard field goal after Alabama got the ball first in overtime, one of four missed field goals by Tide kickers.

LSU then won the game on a 30-yard field goal from Alleman that was set up by a 15-yard run from running back Michael Ford on the second play of the drive.

Jan. 9, 2012: No. 2 Alabama 21, No. 1 LSU 0 (BCS National Championship Game)

Location: New Orleans

Alabama’s defense further established itself as one of the best defenses in college football history, dominating LSU’s offense as the Tide got redemption and a second national championship in three years after falling to the Tigers in “The Game of the Century” two months earlier.

LSU’s offense didn’t advance into Alabama territory until there were less than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.

By that point, the Tide led, 15-0.

Alabama added a final score — a 34-yard touchdown run from running back Trent Richardson — after linebacker Dont’a Hightower sacked and stripped Jefferson on a fourth-and-18 to end LSU’s one drive that got past midfield.

The Tide recovered the fumble at the 50-yard line.

Alabama outgained the Tigers, 384-92.

The Tide had 21 first downs. LSU had five.

After Tide kickers missed four of six field goal attempts during the game in November, Shelley made five field goals.

He was responsible for all of Alabama’s first 15 points.

Richardson finished with 96 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Quarterback AJ McCarron was 23 of 34 for 234 yards.

Wide receiver Kevin Norwood caught four passes for 78 yards.

Nov. 3, 2012: No. 1 Alabama 21, No. 5 LSU 17

Location: Tiger Stadium

Freshman running back T.J. Yeldon had the game-winning play.

LSU had scored 14 unanswered points, erasing a 14-3 Alabama halftime advantage and taking a 17-14 lead on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Mettenberger to wide receiver Jarvis Landry with 12:58 left in the fourth quarter.

Following an Alleman missed 45-yard field goal with 1:39 remaining, Alabama took over at its 28-yard line.

Three straight completions from McCarron to Norwood — gains of 18, 15 and 11 yards — got the ball to the Tigers’ 28-yard line.

After a deep shot that fell incomplete, McCarron threw a screen pass to Yeldon.

Yeldon ran past an oncoming defender and juked past an LSU safety downfield on his way to a 28-yard touchdown that gave the Tide a 21-17 lead with 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

With LSU facing a third down at its own 25-yard line and needing a miracle, Alabama defensive lineman Damion Square sacked Mettenberger to end the game.

The Tigers gained 435 yards. Mettenberger was 24 of 35 for 298 yards while freshman running back Jeremy Hill ran for 107 yards. But LSU scored just the 17 points.

Alleman missed two field goals. The Tide also stopped a fake field goal attempt and an attempt to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Tide 24-yard line midway through the fourth quarter.

LSU running back Spencer Ware was tackled for no gain.

Nov. 9, 2013: No. 1 Alabama 38, No. 13 LSU 17

Location: Bryant-Denny Stadium

Alabama separated in the second half, turning what was a 17-17 game with less than five minutes left in the third quarter into a 21-point win.

Yeldon had a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Tide a 24-17 lead with 4:11 left in the third quarter, eight plays after the Tide converted a fourth-and-2 at its 41-yard line with a fake punt.

Alabama scored again on each of its next two possessions.

Yeldon finished with 25 carries for 133 yards and two scores. He had 18 carries for 104 yards and the two touchdowns during the second half.

McCarron threw touchdown passes to freshman tight end O.J. Howard, Norwood and fullback Jalston Fowler.

Nov. 8, 2014: No. 5 Alabama 20, No. 16 LSU 13, OT

Location: Tiger Stadium

Alabama was down 13-10 with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter.

LSU had recovered a Yeldon fumble at the Tide’s 6-yard line. It took advantage with a go-ahead field goal from kicker Colby Delahoussaye with 50 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

With the Tide in danger of suffering a loss that would have eliminated it from national championship contention, quarterback Blake Sims led a 55-yard drive to set up a game-tying 27-yard field goal from kicker Adam Griffith on the last play of regulation.

Sims had a five-yard scramble to convert a third-and-4 before later completing passes of 22 and 16 yards to wide receivers Christion Jones and DeAndrew White, respectively, to put Alabama in position for the short field goal.

The Tide got the ball first in overtime, scoring on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Sims to White.

Alabama’s defense then held LSU’s offense without a score to secure the win.

Defensive backs Cyrus Jones and Jabriel Washington combined to knock away a fourth down pass from quarterback Anthony Jennings to wide receiver Malachi Dupre near the sideline in the end zone.

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