When it was finally over, No. 12 Alabama was looking for a medic and LSU was looking for an explanation.
Tyler Watts threw two touchdowns and Alabama stopped LSU at the 1-yard line on the final play to beat the Tigers 23-17 Saturday.
With 10 seconds left and LSU on the 1, quarterback Josh Booty took the snap in the shotgun, rolled right and tried to run the ball into the end zone. He leaped at the 3-yard line, but was stopped short in a collision with Reggie Myles and linebacker Marvin Constant.
By this time, Alabama's players had stormed the field and LSU's players stood near the 10-yard line wondering what to do. As the entire Alabama team crowded around Constant, the referees finally ruled the game over almost two minutes later.
"I don't feel comfortable commenting on the last play, it's kind of counterproductive to say anything," LSU coach Gerry DiNardo said. "I got no explanation from the officials on why they didn't put time back on the clock."
Booty, who missed two open receivers on the play, said LSU should have gotten a second chance.
"I saw the refs call for an injury timeout with three seconds left," he said. "A lot is going on down there and the ref must have saw it differently then I did."
Alabama coach Mike DuBose was also looking for an official call after the game.
"I kept waiting to get the call from the officials, but someone told me they had already left the field," DuBose said. "But there is no way that there was enough time on the clock to get another play off."
DuBose said Constant was out for the year with a torn knee ligament. Alabama defensive tackle Kenny Smith suffered the same injury earlier in the series, defensive end Canary Knight broke his ankle in the first half and safety Tony Dixon separated his shoulder in the first quarter.
Constant, Smth and Knight are all expected to undergo surgery on Monday and miss the rest of the season.
"It was a huge win but it was a costly win," DuBose said. "It looks like we have three out for the season."
The win was a final tuneup for Alabama (7-2, 5-1 Southeastern Conference), which plays undefeated Mississippi State next week. The winner should lock up the SEC West title and earn a spot in the league's title game.
"I would have rather lost the game then lose our players," cornerback Milo Lewis said. "I care more about them than anything else right now."
Alabama's Shaun Alexander, the nation's leading all-purpose rusher, played sparingly because of a sprained ankle. He gained just 18 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
LSU (2-7, 0-7), which has lost seven straight games, dressed only 57 players against Alabama. The Tigers are reeling from allegations of players accepting money from an agent and illegally using long-distance access codes.
But the Tigers still had a shot to win the game at the end.
Alabama's Ryan Pflugner missed a 37-yard field goal, giving LSU the ball with 2:23 to play.
Two long passes by Booty moved the ball to the 45-yard line. Booty then converted a third-and-5 with a 22-yard pass to Josh Reed.
Freshman Domanick Davis then caught a short pass and dragged tacklers nine yards to the 18. Four plays later, Booty threw a 12-yard pass to Joe Domingeaux, who fell down on the 1-yard line, setting up the wild ending.
"I saw the white line, it was about two yards away from me and I thought I could make the play," Booty said. "I saw one guy in front of me and I thought I was in."
The one guy was Myles, who couldn't believe Booty was trying to run the ball in. With help from Constant, they stopped him.
"I don't know if he didn't see the two guys open or if he just wanted to be the hero and run it in," Myles said. "But there was no way I was going to let him in."
Watts, making his second straight start in place of the injured Andrew Zow, opened the second half by throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jason McAddley that gave the Crimson Tide a 16-7 lead.
Alabama's defense took over from there, intercepting Booty on his next three possessions.
The turnovers resulted in one score. Marcus Spencer picked off Booty and returned it 61 yards to the LSU 6-yard-line.
Two plays later, Watts threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Carter that stretched Alabama's lead to 23-7. Myles picked off Booty on his next pass, but the Tide couldn't convert on its fourth interception of the day.
Instead of sending Watts back into the game, DuBose went with Zow, who has been hobbled by a sprained ankle.
Looking rusty from almost two weeks off, Zow's first three passes were incomplete. His fourth was tipped at the line and intercepted by Johnny Mitchell, who eturned it 66 yards for a touchdown that cut the score to 23-14 with 26 seconds to play in the third quarter.
"We just wanted to get him some plays," DuBose said. "We felt that it was important to get him 10-12 snaps."
The Tide went back to Watts on its next possession, but he was intercepted by LeJune.
LSU punted four plays later, but Watts gave the Tigers the ball back when Ryan Clark intercepted him on the Tigers' 22-yard line. That set up a 32-yard field goal by John Corbello that cut the score to 23-17.
Watts finished 23-of-36 for 203 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a lost fumble.
Booty was 15-for-36 for 176 yards and four interceptions. He threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jerel Myers in the first quarter.
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