TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Slogging through penalties and turnovers and yet another heart-thumping game, No. 2 LSU got the two things Tigers fans desperately craved.
A win over Nick Saban and, while the celebration was still kicking into high gear Saturday, a significant boost to their national championship hopes courtesy of Florida State's upset of then-No. 2 Boston College.
The final tallies: LSU 41, No. 21 Alabama 34. Les Miles 1, Nick Saban 0. A two-for-one festival of joy for LSU fans.
True to form, the Tigers (8-1, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) had to go into survival mode to earn the win and that one-spot leap in the rankings.
As defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey put it: "When our backs are against the wall, we play our best. When we need to make plays we make them."
Alabama linebacker Darren Mustin says the Tide should have won, and he's really angry.
Says Mustin: "We kind of beat ourselves in the end. I knew they were the No. 3 team in the country, but this is a crazy year in NCAA football. Everybody's beating everybody."
The Tide had two turnovers, allowed seven sacks and gained 20 yards on 33 carries - and that was only after John Parker Wilson scrambled for a 23-yarder on the final drive.
Saban says his hands are bruised from smacking them together after the team made mistakes and did the wrong thing, adding: "Sometimes there's no consequences until you do it against somebody as good or better than you."
He says the team competed well in the game, saying: "We scratched and clawed but when it came right down to it, we didn't play well enough to beat a good team."