Mettenberger nearly bailed out his coach. He finished 24 of 35 for a career-best 298 yards, with 14 of those completions for 202 yards coming over the final two quarters. Landry had eight catches for 76 yards, and freshman Jeremy Hill rushed for 107 yards and a third-quarter touchdown that got LSU back in the game.
Alabama has not been behind in the fourth quarter since 2010, and sure didn't have much experience at playing with a deficit in 2012. The Tide arrived in Baton Rouge having trailed for a grand total of 15 seconds this season - one play against Mississippi - and when McCarron took off on a 9-yard touchdown run with just 11 second left in the first half it looked like a repeat of last January's national championship game.
But LSU was determined not to turn in another embarrassing performance like the one in the Superdome, when a perfect season ended with a dismal 21-0 loss to the Crimson Tide. The Tigers managed only 92 yards and five first downs in that game; this time, they put up 435 yards and 17 first downs against the nation's top-ranked defense.
It still wasn't enough.
"I told the players they would have to overcome a lot of adversity to win a game here," Saban said. "Things went bad. The momentum changed. But they kept their poise, kept playing, kept competing. I've never been prouder of as bunch of guys."
Alleman's 38-yard field goal gave LSU an early lead, but Alabama began to impose its will in the second period. McCarron completed four straight passes, Yeldon rushed five times for 40 yards and Eddie Lacy capped an 11-play, 92-yard drive by running it in from the 7.
McCarron finished 14 of 27 for 165 yards and has still yet to throw an interception this season. Lacy finished with 83 yards rushing, while Yeldon had 76.
LSU actually moved the ball rather effectively through much of the first half, but some silly blunders and questionable calls cost the Tigers dearly.
After Alabama's Cyrus Jones bobbled away a bouncing punt, Jerqwinick Sandolph recovered for LSU at the Tide 32. With the record Tiger Stadium crowd of 93,374 in a frenzy, Hill quickly ripped off a 19-yard run, but fullback J.C. Copeland picked up a needless personal foul when he plowed into an Alabama player after the play was over.
The officials stepped off 15 yards the other way, and LSU's drive imploded. LSU lined up for a 47-yard field goal attempt on fourth-and-12, but Miles decided to try one of his trademark gambles.
Brad Wing, the holder, took the snap and tossed a short pass to Alleman. Miles was counting on his 5-foot-11, 183-pound kicker to outrun the defense, which he's done it before, but the Crimson Tide wasn't fooled at all. Alleman was dragged down for a 2-yard loss, preserving a 7-3 lead.
Getting the ball back with just over a minute remaining in the half, Alabama moved quickly down the field for a touchdown that many thought had broken LSU's back.
Norwood hauled in an 8-yard pass and stepped out of bounds with 16 seconds left. McCarron dropped back into the pocket and spotted a huge hole right up the middle. The junior never even hesitated, taking off on 9-yard touchdown run without being touched.
After that big play, McCarron was largely overshadowed in the second half.
Until the end.
Call if The Drive, Alabama style.
"I didn't doubt it one bit at all," McCarron said. "I just love moments like that. I like having the ball in pressure situations. When you've got teammates like I have, it makes your job easy."