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No. 2 LSU stops No. 3 Alabama in college football showdown

By
Allen Cone

Nov. 9 (UPI) -- No. 2 Louisiana State held off No. 3 Alabama 46-41 to hand the Crimson Tide their first home loss in 32 games in a showdown watched by President Donald Trump on Saturday.

The Tigers (9-1) defeated their Southeastern Conference rival (8-1) for the first time since 2011. LSU's 46 points were the most scored against Alabama since Oct. 25, 2003, when Tennessee scored 51 points against the Tide in five overtimes.

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The 33 first-half points by LSU were the most against a Nick Saban-coached team since 1999. In that game, Purdue's quarterback Drew Brees, now with the New Orleans Saints, defeated Saban's Michigan State team, 52-28.

Alabama's home winning streak of 31 at Tuscoloosa was the longest in the nation. The Crimson Tide previously lost at home in 2015 to Ole Miss, 43-37.

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And since that defeat, the Tide compiled a 39-1 record in the SEC with the lone defeat at state-rival Auburn in 2017, 26-14.

"We thought all week we were the better football team," said LSU coach Ed Orgeron, who is 35-8 at the school in Baton Rouge since originally being named interim coach after serving as defensive line coach there.

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"This ain't the last time we're gonna beat 'em."

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Alabama and LSU are both members of the SEC West. The top team in the division will face off against the SEC East champion in the conference title game. Georgia, rated No. 6 in the college football playoff rankings, currently heads the West at 8-1.

Senior LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, a Heisman Trophy candidate, threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns, completing 31 of his 39 passes. Junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had 180 total yards and four touchdowns, including three rushing.

Edwards-Helaire scored to make it 46-34 LSU with only 90 seconds remaining, but Alabama came back with a 85-yard touchdown to Devonta Smith to cut the lead to 46-41.

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LSU raced out to a 33-13 first-half lead.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump sat in a box one tier above the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

When they were introduced to the capacity crowd of 100,000 before the game, they received loud cheers, with a few boos mixed in. The crowd started chanting "USA, USA" shortly after they were introduced.

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Trump smiled, gave a thumbs-up a few times and threw a couple of fist bumps into the air as the Alabama fans waved red and white pompoms. In the 2016 election, Trump received 63 percent of the vote.

His group of around a dozen in the box included Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and members of Congress from both states. Next Saturday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will face off against Republican businessman Eddie Rispone in as runoff.

The Trumps were just shown on the stadium screen.

Early in the fourth quarter, the president's motorcade pulled away from the stadium.

The stadium announcer described the contest as the "game of the century."

Alabama's loss jeopardized its chances of being named one of four teams for the college football playoffs.

But another top-four team, No. 4 Penn State, lost to host Minnesota in Minneapolis, 31-26, in its first loss in a Big Ten matchup.

Another Big Ten team, unbeaten No. 1 Ohio State, routed Maryland, 73-14, at home in Columbus.

No. 5 Clemson, the only other top-tier team without a loss, pounded North Carolina State, 55-10, in an Atlantic Coast Conference game in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday night.

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