Just before Alabama destroyed Notre Dame 42-14 to win their third BCS national championship in four years, former LSU kicker Drew Alleman sat down to reflect on his Tiger career and the near miss against the hated Crimson Tide. The 21-17 heartbreaker to Nick Saban's club this past season in Tiger Stadium naturally stings.
"People from all over the world are at the game," Alleman recalls, "We play a great game, all game long. About a minute left, I pull a kick left."
Alleman's 45-yard field goal that would've given LSU a six-point lead missed its mark with exactly 1:34 left. The Crimson Tide promptly drove 72 yards in just 43 seconds for the game-winning score on a 28-yard screen pass from AJ McCarron to freshman star TJ Yeldon.
"It's one of those things, a nightmare that hit us. It wasn't fun."
The decision to try the field goal was debated by some Tiger fans, who believed head coach Les Miles should've gone for it on fourth down. Although that may sound ludicrous to many others, quarterback Zach Mettenberger and the LSU passing game was red-hot, and could've ended the game with one more first down.
"I think the play call was right to kick it."
Alleman found himself smack in the middle of several other questionable calls by Miles during the night. On a 4th and 12 midway through the second quarter at Alabama's 30-yard line, Miles elected to fake a field goal and run the generally listed 5'11", 183 pound kicker into the heart of the Tide's defense. It hardly worked, as Alleman was dumped for a two-yard loss. Then with roughly a minute left in the first half, Miles elected to have Alleman try a 54-yard field goal, which fell substantially short. Alabama would quickly drive 63-yards for a score on a McCarron TD scamper to give the Crimson Tide a 14-3 halftime lead. The gambles that worked so beautifully in a 24-21 triumph over Alabama in Death Valley during the 2010 season, went bust on this occasion.
"He asked me. I told him I can do that kick," Alleman says of Miles trying the 54-yarder, "The field was a little moist, a little wind in my face. I hit underneath it, slipped or something. I didn't get a hold of it and it fell short. I hit those every day at practice. It was just one of those days where, I was having a bad day, just couldn't get a hold of the ball. But I learned from it."
And the other decisions?
"Maybe on the fake field goal, we kick it right there. Or on the 54-yarder, we fake it. You can play scenarios in your head all night long. What we did, is what we did. You can't do anything about it. Hopefully in the future, in Miles' case or the coaches' case, they learn from that. Maybe not necessarily put someone in that situation again."
Alleman, like many of his teammates, admittedly did not follow up his 2011 season like he wished. After hitting 16 of 18 field goals for LSU's #2 ranked 13-1 SEC Champion, Alleman slipped a bit this year, making 21 of 29 tries. Still, the former Acadiana Wrecking Ram finishes his strong LSU career making 78% of his field goals and 106 of his 107 extra point attempts.
"2011 was just an unbelievable year. One of those years you dream of, until we got to the back end of it."
The kick Alleman will likely be most remembered for, was his 25-yard field goal in overtime to defeat Alabama 9-6 in Tuscaloosa during that 2011 season. Alleman made two other field goals that night, as LSU won "The Game of the Century" in thrilling fashion. Unfortunately, Alleman didn't even see the Superdome field in the BCS national championship rematch between the two January 9th, 2012. There would be no field goal attempts, no extra points, nothing of the sort, as the Crimson Tide won 21-0.
"It's hard to beat a team twice," Alleman admits, "Especially Alabama. Coach Saban always has those guys prepared. What beat them the first time was the option and we tried running the option again and they were ready for it. Maybe give Jarrett Lee a shot, maybe a couple different play calls, possibly, but no one is ever gonna know. They just played a better game than us. They downright beat us. I can say that, I have respect for them."
But in the end, Alleman is proud of what LSU accomplished the last two seasons.
"All in all, we had a great year. 10-3? A lot of teams would dream to have that record. We won a huge game against South Carolina, shutdown Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. But we're at LSU, we know what fans want. They want the best of the best. We try to give them that, but sometimes it doesn't work out."
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