It had all the hype, all the talk, all the excitement, and at the end of the day —it delivered. Saturday’s matchup between SEC powers LSU and Alabama was not only to see which team put itself in prime position to compete for a conference title, but a national title as well.

The Tigers entered the game ranked No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings, while the Crimson Tide was No. 3.

And with the 46-41 win, all LSU needs to do is get past Ole Miss, Arkansas and Texas A&M in the regular season and top whomever wins the SEC East in the conference title game to set themselves up for the playoffs as one of the Top 4 teams.

Easier said than done, but with the way this 2019 Tiger team played in the first half of Saturday’s game against the very-talented Crimson Tide, it is definitely doable.

I won’t go as far as calling it a shocker, but it did catch me off guard a bit. The game started off as a battle for momentum.

Alabama moved the ball down the field only to cough it up as they were on the doorstep of the end zone. And how did LSU respond? By going 92 yards in six plays, ending with quarterback Joe Burrow found Ja’Marr Chase from 33 yards out for the early lead.

The teams traded blows as the Tigers pulled away again only to have the Tide hang around making things interesting by cutting the LSU lead to three a little more than halfway through the second quarter.

But the key segment of the game — in my opinion — was the remaining 6:43 in the half. During that time, both teams had three possessions apiece. However, what was key was that all three for the Tigers ended in scores (field goal, touchdown, touchdown) while Bama’s three all ended with zero points (punt, interception, end of the half).

That sequence was very important because of how Alabama responded in the second half.

Holding a 33-20 lead late in the third quarter, LSU was forced to punt the ball back to Alabama. And all the Crimson Tide did was orchestrate a long drive that ended in points. It not only brought the Tide closer by putting them within a score of the Tigers, but it also swung the momentum back.

However, down the stretch, the Tigers relied on their star in Burrow and bruising running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to deliver the win.

If the Tigers can complete the journey and make it to the championship game, it will be reminiscent of the 2011-12 season. That was the last time LSU defeated Alabama in the regular season, the last time LSU played for a national title and the last time that the national championship game was played in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the same site as this year’s game this January.

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