Forty-five minutes of game clock passed. Ninety-three plays ended. Three hundred twenty-nine total yards were accumulated.
Yet, neither Alabama nor LSU managed to break end zone.
“That’s a movie-type game I felt like,” UA linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said. “I remember being on the sidelines like, ‘Dang, it’s really 0-0 going into the fourth quarter.’ You live for those kind of games.”
And they only happen every now and then.
Since Nick Saban took over the Crimson Tide in 2007, there have been just two games where Alabama went into the final 15 minutes without any points on the board. The first three-quarter drought was against Florida State during Saban’s debut season, only the Seminoles had a touchdown to their name. Last year’s showdown at LSU has been the sole instance where both teams sported goose eggs.
The Crimson Tide lost to the Seminoles, 21-14, but defeated the Tigers, 10-0. Memories of the latter are much fresher.
“There was never a moment when we were afraid or scared of what the outcome was going to be,” Alabama running back Damien Harris said.
Perhaps that’s true. Four plays into the final quarter, the Crimson Tide finally scored. Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was a freshman at the time, scrambled 21 yards across the finish line that had been out of reach for so long.
With big moments like that, when a player has to make a split decision, does the game slow down mentally?
“I wish it was that easy,” Hurts said, “but I think it’s just remaining composed and just going out there and playing football. When it’s supposed to happen, it happens.”
For Hurts, his moment came with 13:08 shining on the clock. Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick’s came with 12:32 remaining, as he intercepted LSU quarterback Danny Etling’s pass.
Capping off the next drive, Adam Griffith nailed a 25-yard field goal. It cushioned the Crimson Tide’s lead. The two-score advantage assured there would be no overtime, which the Alabama-LSU series has seen three times during the Saban era at UA.
The Tigers then turned it over on downs, and the rest is history.
“Even though things don’t work out the way you want to in the beginning, as long as you keep going the little things right, keep executing, keep putting your best foot forward,” Harris said, “then you might be able to get the results that you want.”
It worked in 2014. Alabama and LSU were tied at the end of the third and fourth quarter. The Crimson Tide won in overtime thanks to a touchdown pass.
In the 2013 Iron Bowl, however, things didn’t play out in Alabama’s favor. The scoreboard was equal entering the fourth quarter and then again with a second remaining. Alabama attempted a game-winning field goal and missed. Auburn returned it for a touchdown and won.
Every play matters, especially during those final minutes.
“You’re just more dialed in,” Fitzpatrick said, “because one little thing could change the whole game.”