BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)Jayden Daniels ran for 25-yard touchdown in overtime and then found tight end Mason Taylor for a do-or-die 2-point conversion, and 15th-ranked LSU defeated No. 6 Alabama 32-31 on Saturday night to give first-year Tigers coach Brian Kelly his first victory over Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.
The surprising victory in a riveting game that included six second-half lead changes and a tying field goal by Alabama in the final minute also gave LSU (7-2, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) control of the SEC West Division with two league games remaining.
Alabama (7-2, 4-2) began overtime with the ball and took a 31-24 lead on Roydell Williams’ second touchdown of the game.
But Daniels needed just one play in overtime to score and force a decision by Kelly to try to tie it with a kick or let Daniels try to win it.
”I just love the way our guys competed. I didn’t want to keep going in overtime,” Kelly said as jubilant fans stormed onto the field. ”It just felt like it was the right time to try to win the game.”
Alabama, favored by nearly two-TDs, lost in Tiger Stadium for the first time since 2010. Kelly, who as Notre Dame’s coach lost to Saban and Alabama twice in college football’s postseason, became the coach to break that streak in the first year of a 10-year contract worth nearly $100 million.
”To come here and restore the pride and tradition of this program just means so much,” Kelly said. ”It just feels so good to return the faith and trust that they’ve given to me.”
Daniels passed for 182 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for 95 yards and a score.
Alabama’s Bryce Young passed for 328 yards and one touchdown, and also was intercepted.