News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Win over Saban puts LSU at No. 2
FSU beats B.C. to boost Tigers into national title contention

By John Zenor
Associated Press Writer

TUSCALOOSA — 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 former LSU coach Nick Saban and, while the celebration was still kicking into high gear, 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.

“When our backs are against the wall, we play our best,” defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey said. “When we need to make plays we make them.”

This time the plays came on a 32-yard Matt Flynn-to-Early Doucet touchdown connection to erase Alabama’s 34-27 lead with 2:49 left.

Then came freshman Chad Jones’ sack of John Parker Wilson, who fumbled at the Tide 3-yard line.

Two plays later, Jacob Hester plunged into the end zone for the lead, setting the defense up for one final stop.

It was the fourth time Miles’ Tigers needed to come up big late, and the third time they have come through.

The résumé of resilience is marred only by a triple-overtime loss to Kentucky and enhanced by nip-and-tuck wins over Florida, Auburn and now Bama (6-3, 4-2) in a 4-hour, 13-minute slugfest.

Pretty, it wasn’t. LSU was flagged 14 times for 130 yards. Flynn threw interceptions on three consecutive second-quarter drives.

“We need to correct some mistakes and improve and if we do, this team can be something special,” Miles said.

It already has a good shot at winning out, and doesn’t even need to in order to make the SEC Championship Game with head-to-head wins over division rivals Auburn and Alabama good for tiebreaker edges. Standing in the Tigers’ way: Louisiana Tech, Ole Miss and Arkansas, teams with a combined 13-15 record. Plus the SEC Championship Game if LSU wins those games, probably against either Georgia or Tennessee.

That enviable position aside, the Tigers were also focused on what to expect from Miles in their next practice.

“Coach let us know we made a lot of mistakes,” Dorsey said. “We probably won’t enjoy Monday’s practice.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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