Week 10 - Alabama at LSU
Trip Start Sep 01, 2012
23Trip End Nov 26, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We arrived on campus at 8:30am for a 7pm game. Normally, it would be no problem finding a place to park nearly 11 hours before game time, but not at LSU. Tailgating was already in full swing. After about 30 minutes,
Since we had an early morning, it was a night game, tickets were expensive, and the crowd was expected to be raucous, Janell and the boys tailgated until about 2pm and left Jason to attend the game by himself.
Now, let's get to the ratings:
We set a stadium attendance record for this game with 93,374 people! I think all of the extra people were in my row. It was amazingly cramped. We couldn't even go shoulder to shoulder, and it was actually more comfortable to stand than sit because we could stagger a little bit. At one point, everybody sat down during a timeout while I remained standing to take a picture, and there was literally about 8 inches for me to sit between the guys on either side of me. It's a nice stadium and it's big, but it really annoys me when universities increase stadium capacity by cramming more people into the same amount of bleachers. There's no way I can be as uncomfortable as I was for 3 1/2 hours and give this stadium a high rating. Rating - 6 of 10.
Our hosts were Lou and Fred's Tequila Tigers, but honestly the fact that we had a home base was largely irrelevant. We felt like everybody was hosting us. People kept giving us gumbo and beer. The t-shirt Trent gave me with all of the games on the back and the GameDay sign I was carrying certainly helped facilitate conversations, but as one of our surrogate hosts, Woody, said as he handed us a plate of boudin and venison and a bowl full of gumbo, "That's southern hospitality. It's what we do." That was actually the second time we had a random tailgater had given us some boudin, and we had never even heard of it before that morning. Combine that with Lou's pastalaya (jambalaya with pasta instead of rice) and the other food we had already eaten, it was the most amazing tailgating food we had ever had!
There is kind of an understanding among the faithful that they go to the same location every game, and you don't take somebody else's spot. Even so, this was a big game. It was estimated that there would be somewhere between 150,000 and 180,000 tailgaters for the Alabama game. Remember, the stadium holds a little over 93,000. Due the expected large influx of people, spots were claimed with quick-shades on Friday afternoon, and some people even slept at their tailgating spots. Lou had stayed in a hotel the night before and got up at 4am to ensure his spot was secure. We had recieved a map to the Tequila Tigers tailgate about four weeks ago, and they were right were the map said they would be.
I had said before that the basis for a 10 of 10 was tailgating at Penn State in the mid-1990's. We would get over 120,000 people tailgating at every home game, and it was fantastic! This was a whole new level. We had to choose between going back and knocking everybody else down a point or two or simply putting LSU off the scale. Rating - 12 of 10.
Tailgate Bonus #1: Picture of an R2D2 keg from an earlier LSU game
Tailgate Bonus #2: Video of an 83-year-old grandma doing a keg stand at another earlier LSU game
Going into halftime, it seemed like Alabama had the game well in hand with a 14-3 lead. LSU hadn't been playing poorly, but they were struggling to put points on the board. A failed fake field goal on 4th and 12 didn't help. Neither did the failed onside kick. Or the failed 4th down attempt deep in Alabama territory.
LSU came roaring back in the second half, scoring 17 unanswered points to go ahead 17-14. The defense completely shut down the Alabama offense, and as the clock was winding down, it looked like LSU was going to avenge the loss in last year's title game that ruined their perfect season. LSU was driving the ball down the field, and forced Alabama to use all their timeouts. With less than two minutes on the clock, all LSU had to do was get a first down and the game would be over. The drive stalled at the 21-yard-line, and the one time it would have been good to see LSU take a risk and go for it on 4th down, they missed a 38-yard field goal instead. Still, the defense had been dominating the Alabama offense the entire second half, and the clock was winding down. Then, Alabama showed what the #1 team is supposed to do. They suddenly moved the ball with ease by completing three passes for first downs in a row. Then A.J. McCarron tossed a screen pass to T.J. Yeldon who then ran it the rest of the way for a 28-yard touchdown with 51 seconds left to go ahead 21-17. LSU was also out of timeouts, and the clock ran out on them to end the game.
This was the best game I've seen all year, and probably the best game I've ever seen in person. Rating - 10 of 10.
The Band: Once again, we get a bonus band since the Alabama band was there, too.
The band came out for pregame very slow and deliberate, and then stepped it up. It was clear that they were very well rehearsed. For halftime, they had some of the same alignment issues as Alabama did, but not nearly to the same degree. They had a nice, powerful sound, and they did a good job throughout the whole game of involving the crowd. Rating - 7 of 10
After tailgating all day and being amazing hosts, I was anxious to see what the LSU fans would be like at the game. What they were was LOUD! I mean that in a good way. They were very loud when Alabama had the ball, like good fans should be. At the end of the game when LSU was holding on to a three point lead, they got even louder. Cheering for your team positively and loudly is great, but how do they treat the opposing fans? There were a few Alabama fans sprinkled around my section, and they were allowed to cheer for their team without issues. The only thing directed at them was the aforementioned "Tiger Bait" over and over again once LSU pulled ahead. The true test of fans is how the act after the game, win or lose. LSU lost in heartbreaking fashion, but their fans were very gracious to the Alabama fans. They even wished them luck going forward.
On the flip side, there was quite a bit of unnecessary booing. Of course, all of the calls that went against LSU were terrible calls and thus boo-worthy. The fans were getting frustrated by the lack of scoring in the first half and actually booed a badly executed play at the end of the second quarter that was preceded by a personal foul call that negated a first down run. This is the first time in 10 weeks of going to games I had heard the home team booed by their crowd. They understandably booed the fake field goal attempt a few plays later, but they also booed the Alabama band before they started and after each song. I understand booing the team as they run onto the field, but the band? Really? Rating - 8 of 10
Best Player - This was a tough one, as there were athletes all over the field. Alabama running back Eddie Lacey was having a great day with 83 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries before limping off the field in the second half. Alabama had a two-pronged rushing attack as T.J. Yeldon managed 76 yards on 11 carries as well as the game-winning 28-yard touchdown reception. Alabama also has a very good offensive line with both running backs averaging around 7 yards a carry. LSU freshman running back Jeremy Hill had 107 yards and a touchdown. A.J. McCarron engineered an amazing game-winning drive. However, this is the first week I feel the best player was actually on the losing team. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw for 298 yards and a touchdown as he picked apart the vaunted Alabama defense all game. If it weren't for several dropped passes in the first half, he would have easily broken 300 yards, and LSU may have won the game.
Overall - This was certainly a fantastic experience. I'd definitely recommend an LSU game, and don't shy away from the big opponents. There is nothing else like the tailgating there, and the people were great. People came from all over to be at this game. I sat between an Alabama fan from San Francisco and an LSU fan from St. Louis. It was a regular melting pot full of gumbo. Rating - 10 of 10
Don't forget to scroll down for more pictures and links to previous entries.