BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Ticker) -- No. 15 Louisiana State's defense gave Joseph Addai enough time to take over the game.
Addai had 145 total yards and scored two long fourth quarter touchdowns and LSU won the field position battle in the second half en route to a 26-10 victory over Southeastern Conference rival Alabama.
It was just the Tigers' second win over the Crimson Tide at Tiger Stadium since 1969.
LSU (7-2, 4-2 SEC West) struggled to move the ball through three quarters against the Alabama defense, which entered the contest leading the nation in total defense, but got some help from its own defensive unit to take the lead for good.
Defensive end Marcus Spears forced quarterback Spencer Pennington to fumble and linebacker Cameron Vaughn scooped up the loose ball along the sideline and returned it eight yards for a touchdown to make it 13-10 with 5:01 left in the third.
"I thought (Pennington) was going to throw it before I got to him," Spears said. "He still had it hanging, so I just swiped for it and was fortunate to get it on the ground. Then I thought it was going out of bounds, and there goes (Vaughn)."
That set the stage for Addai, who put away the game in the fourth quarter with a 35-yard scoring catch from JaMarcus Russell with 9:38 to play and a 47-yard rush four minutes later. He had 99 yards on 12 carries and three receptions for 46 yards.
"It was a game we knew would be tough and we would have to come with our 'A' game," Addai said. "Coach talked to us the whole week about playing poised and relaxed and just going out there and having fun."
Leading 10-6 at the half, Alabama (6-4, 3-4 West) was in position to increase its lead when defensive end Mark Anderson recovered a fumble by LSU running back Alley Broussard at the Tigers 12. But Pennington was intercepted in the end zone by cornerback Corey Webster, who returned it to the LSU 44-yard line.
"The worst thing that could possibly happen happened to us there," Alabama coach Mike Shula said. "We lost the momentum, we lost the lead and there was a struggle from that point on."
LSU's average starting position on its next seven possessions was its own 48, while Alabama started outside its 20 just once for the rest of the game.
Poor kickoff returns put the Crimson Tide in a hole after each of LSU's three second half touchdowns. Alabama returners Brandon Brooks and Caddell muffed each of the ensuing kickoffs, forcing the Crimson Tide to start those drives from their own 8, 6 and 10 yard lines.
"Those kickoff plays were critical in the game because they never had field position, ever, in the fourth quarter at all," LSU coach Nick Saban said. "Their field position was just terrible all the time. They never did open things up they way they could have had they had better field position to try to score."
Alabama struck first when Pennington connected with wide receiver Matt Cadell for a 48-yard pass to the 5-yard line. Running back Kenneth Darby punched it in from the 1 three plays later to make it 7-0 with just over six minutes to play in the first.
Darby had 35 carries for 109 yards - just the second rusher to reach the century mark against the Tigers this season - But LSU held Alabama to 196 total yards and just 41 in the second half.