The No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide football team lost in overtime at No. 10 LSU, 32-31, Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Tiger Stadium.
The Crimson Tide scored on its first drive of the extra period to take the lead; however, the Tigers scored on their ensuing possession and won the game when it converted the two-point attempt.
Here’s everything Alabama coach Nick Saban said during his postgame press conference:
“It’s a bit of an understatement to say how disappointed our team is. How disappointed we all are. Our guys really competed hard in the game today. It’s a tough environment, tough place to play. Gotta give LSU a lot of credit for making the plays that they made when they needed to make them. We hurt ourselves quite a bit in the game, especially early on. Had a great drive, throw a pick when we’re inside the 10-yard line. Had to settle for lots of field goals. Had way too many penalties, especially penalties contributing to their ability to drive the ball toward the end of the game. But I think everybody needs to check their whole card and what we need to do to individually improve your stock to finish the season the right way as well as have a goal of trying to win 10 games, which I think just about every team we’ve had since 2006 or 7, or whatever, has been able to do that.
“I like this team. I think this team is very capable. I think we can play with a little more consistency, and sometimes we beat ourselves and it’s kind of hard to overcome. A tough loss, but there’s nobody that feels worse about it than the players. They work their tail off, they compete their tail off and they just came up a little bit short.”
On if there was a disconnect between preparation and what the team did on the field:
“I don’t think there was a disconnect. I mean, we went right down the field on the first drive and just turned the ball over. We played defense really well in the first half, much better in the first half than we did in the second. So I don’t know that there was a disconnect. One of our goals was to run the ball a little bit better, I still think we need to develop a little more consistency in being able to do that.
“But I thought Bryce [Young] played a really good game, made a lot of plays, made an unbelievable play to get ahead 24-17, and we had, what, 25 yards of penalties on the next drive when the defense was out there.
“All these things come down to execution, and I don’t think we had bad execution because we had a bye week. I just think we … didn’t peel the guy on their first touchdown. So it’s a mental error. I don’t know if that’s because we had a bye week or not, but it’s a mental error. Players gotta be able to do their job and gotta be able to execute. If you don’t, you usually pay for it when you play against good teams, and that happened a couple times today.”
On if the offense ran the ball to his liking in the first half:
“Well, we had bad field position. We struggled to run it when we tried to run it, and we passed it quite a bit when we were backed up. I’m not gonna second-guess what we did in the game. I don’t think that really had … we had a chance to win in the end. Whatever we did, we put ourselves in a position to do that and just came up short.”
On if LSU did anything differently in the second half:
“No, the quarterback ran the ball. We did a pretty good job of kind of keeping him contained in the first half. He made a couple significant runs in the second half when we didn’t fit it exactly right.
“Look, I can’t blame the players. I’m responsible for all this stuff, so if we didn’t do it right, that’s on me, and we’ve gotta do a better job of coaching the players so that we give them a better chance to have success and when we get opportunities, we take advantage of them.”
On if he expected LSU to go for the two-point conversion in overtime:
“No, I wasn’t. But they did, and we played what we would have played in that situation because the next series, you have to go for two. So we played what we would play against that formation and we had a chance to stop the guy. It wasn’t like we didn’t have him covered. But if we would have kept him out, we would have won the game.”
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On his message to the team:
“I told them that we all have a chance, we all have a legacy that we wanna uphold in terms of the pride that we have in our performance, as well as what our expectations are. And I told each player that they can develop value in their stock by continuing to try to play well and improve and we can create value as a team if we continue to do the things that we need to do to get better as a team.
“There’s nobody that benefits from not getting better, there’s nobody that benefits from not playing well, whether it’s their future that they’re concerned about or this team. And these guys care about this team. When you play in a game like this, all you’ve got is the guys you’ve got, but that’s really you need if you do things together and you do it the right way. And I was proud of the way our guys competed in the game. We just didn’t make quite enough plays when we needed to and didn’t make the play at the end of the game.”
On always getting a team’s best shot on the road:
“Well, you know, we’ve had other situations when we’ve played this same group of people on the road. I mean, I think you’ve gotta play well on the road if you wanna have a chance to be successful and have a chance to win the West, to get in the SEC Championship Game, you’ve gotta play four games on the road. And our side of it has a lot of good teams. And we’re gonna play another good team next week.”
On the decision to go for two in the fourth quarter:
“We have a chart that says when you should go for two and when you shouldn’t. And when you’re ahead by one point, if you go for two, you’re ahead by three. So a field goal ties the game, so it makes sense, does it not? And when you’re ahead by four, it really doesn’t matter other than the fact that if you go up by six, they’ve gotta kick two field goals, even though a touchdown still puts you down one. But four, five does nothing more than four. Is that correct? I’ve got the chart right here, you wanna see it?”
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