By RAYMOND PARTSCH III, Journal Sports
BATON ROUGE — LSU’s Jarrick Bernard-Converse got the best of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Saturday night.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young had quickly guided the Crimson Tide down the field on their first possession of Saturday’s tilt inside Tiger Stadium, as Young completed his first three passes for 46 yards.
Young’s fourth pass attempt was where Bernard-Converse made his mark.
Alabama was facing second-and-goal at the four-yard line when Young was flushed from the pocket and tried to throw around another Evangel product, Micah Baskerville, and thread the football into the end zone.
Bernard-Converse stepped in front of the pass and hauled in the interception, which was his first pick of the season for the Tigers.
He finished the game with two tackles, a half tackle for a loss and two pass breakups – the last on Alabama’s final drive in regulation, knocking away a pass that would have put the Tide inside the Tigers’ 10, first and goal. Instead, Alabama had to settle for a field goal and a 24-all tie in the final minute.
In four seasons playing at Oklahoma State, where he was a two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, Bernard-Converse had a total of two interceptions.
YOUNG’S SLOW START
With the exception of Alabama’s first drive, Young had a sluggish first half. Whether it was the pressure from LSU’s defensive line or the crowd noise, Young produced a so-so first half as he completed 12-of-24 passes for 170 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
Young caught fire in the second half and overtime as he ended the night 25-of-51 for 328 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
RED ZONE DEFENSE
LSU entered Saturday’s game ranked No. 9 nationally in red zone scoring defense, and the Tigers showed why again. In Alabama’s first four trips inside the LSU red zone on Saturday, the Crimson Tide scored a mere nine points and committed one turnover.
For the game, Alabama was 5-of-6 in the red zone but three of those trips resulted in field goals.
RETURN OF RICKS REEKS
Eli Ricks was playing in Baton Rouge for the first time since leaving the LSU football program last winter, and transferring to the University of Alabama. It didn’t go well.
Ricks, who earned All-America honors as a freshman at LSU, struggled in Saturday’s contest. Ricks recorded no pass breakups, made only one tackle, and was called for two pass interference calls.
BALANCED PASSING ATTACK
Jayden Daniels may not have put up monster passing numbers (182 yards) but he was effective (68.7 completion percentage) and he spread the ball around. Daniels targeted eight different receivers, completing passes to six of them, and five of those hauling in at least two passes during Saturday’s win.
LSU punter Jay Bramblett was key in flipping field position as he had six punts for 251 yards, averaging 41.8 yards per boot, and had three punts inside the 20-yard line … Saturday night’s 32-31 victory snapped a five-game losing skid to Alabama inside Tiger Stadium, with the last win coming in 2010 … The win also gives Brian Kelly his first win against Alabama as he was 0-2 against the Crimson Tide while coaching at Notre Dame … With two SEC West games remaining, LSU is in the driver’s seat to win the SEC West and play in the SEC Championship in Atlanta, owning wins over Bama and Ole Miss, the other teams still alive for the berth.
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