Sam Montgomery was feeling expansive in the afterglow of LSU's upset that wasn't really an upset, in the Game of the Century that wasn't even the best game in its time slot last Saturday night. Third-ranked Oklahoma State's cardiac-arresting 52--45 win over Kansas State featured a dozen touchdowns—12 more than were scored in the No. 1 Tigers' 9--6 overtime victory at No. 2 Alabama.
As any of Donald Trump's wives can tell you, however, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What some regarded as an ugly game, Montgomery praised as "a great, classical battle between two SEC heavyweights. This game should've been on pay-per-view!" Montgomery, a valuable, voluble defensive end whose six tackles against 'Bama included two sacks, was effusive in his praise of the Tide's terrific tailback, Trent Richardson, and all-SEC left tackle Barrett Jones. "He handled my bum rush very well," Montgomery reported. "He stopped me in my tracks at times."
Beg your pardon, Monty: bum rush?
"It's actually a bull rush. I call it a bum rush."
The bum's rush, on the other hand, is what LSU coach Les Miles gave quarterback Jarrett Lee after the senior threw his second interception, early in the second half. Jordan Jefferson took over and—along with a defense that proved itself to be on a par with 'Bama's, heretofore the best unit in the country—basically saved the Tigers' bacon.
"I think the world wants a rematch," declared Montgomery, "and it would be lovely to play such a great, complete team like that" again.
Montgomery is off on a couple of points. First, there are plenty of people in places like Stillwater, Palo Alto and Boise who—should the undefeated Cowboys, Cardinal and Broncos win out—will be most put out if a one-loss Alabama edges them out for a spot in the BCS national title game. Their anger might even approach that of Tide coach Nick Saban, who became apoplectic early in the second quarter as his offense moved backward on the series of downs preceding his team's third unsuccessful field goal on three straight possessions.
Which leads us to Monty's second mistake. Alabama is extremely talented, deep and well-coached (although, for the second straight season, Saban was outfoxed by his peculiar counterpart, the fescue-nibbling, against-the-grain Miles). For a team to truly be complete, it needs to avoid the special-teams meltdown suffered by the Tide. Alabama failed to convert four of six field goal attempts (two wide right, one hooked left and one blocked). Cade Foster's final—a wobbling, ungainly effort in overtime—all but ensured the team's first loss since last Nov. 26.
"It's nobody's fault," said Saban, graciously providing cover for his snakebitten kickers. "It all starts right here."
For LSU junior kicker Drew Alleman, it all started in the preseason, in those moments after a long, grueling practice when Miles would summon his field goal team. "He'd line us up and tell the rest of the team, 'If he makes it, we're going inside. If he misses it, we're running sprints.'"