In Focus: Senior Quarterback Jordan Jefferson
Jordan Jefferson Relives One of LSU's Greatest Victories
As the overtime period was set to begin with the score tied 6-6 in the "Game of the Century," the LSU captains - quarterback Jordan Jefferson and offensive guard Will Blackwell - began the slow walk toward midfield. Time may just as well have stopped.
They looked to the left, the South end zone and the house of the Alabama student section, and all they could make out was a sea of crimson, white and a bit of houndstooth. As they glanced around Bryant-Denny Stadium, they pushed through the bright lights and hostile colors to find a small contingent of purple and gold hoping to greet their heroes after the game in victory.
"It was a lot of pressure, but that is why we come to a school like this because we can handle the pressure," Jefferson said. "We prepared so long and we knew we were going to win that game."
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The weather was 50 degrees, but it felt much colder down on the field. The Tigers had yet to play in a game with these elements this season, let alone against the No. 2 team in the country on the road.
"Taking those licks, sweating and running across the field made it hard to realize how cold it was until you were on the sideline waiting to get back on the field," Jefferson said. "I was standing by the heat warmers next to the receivers. We were kind of crowded around. We were trying to stay warm."
Five, four, three, two and then one. Reality was slowly returning.
"Each team will have the opportunity to score from the 25 yard line...," the referee's words as real as can be. "Is everybody clear on the rules? OK."
Blackwell called tails on the coin toss.
"It is tails," the referee said. "LSU has elected to play defense."
Sticking their potent defense on the field first didn't bother Jefferson one bit. In fact, even quarterbacks appreciate defensive slugfests.
"Those are the most competitive games and I like playing competitive games that are going to keep everyone on their toes," Jefferson said. "You never know what is going to happen."
An incomplete pass, a penalty, a second incomplete pass and a sack led to the fourth missed field goal for the Crimson Tide. Now it was the Tigers' turn and Jefferson's opportunity to lead his team to a game-winning drive.
Jefferson led the offense onto the field and handed the ball off to Spencer Ware for a three-yard gain. The next play sent the Tigers' sideline into jubilation. Michael Ford took an option left pitch and appeared to get the game-winning touchdown.
"My hands were held up saying touchdown," Jefferson said. "I didn't know that he stepped out of bounds. I was surprised that he did. It was a close call for the referees to make."
Ford stepped out at the seven-yard line. Freshman tailback Kenny Hilliard carried the ball for no gain. Ware took the next carry off right tackle to position the Tigers in the middle of the hash marks. The Tigers' bench was tense and the team was huddled together bending down with their hands on their knees.
"We knew we were in the right position to kick the field goal," Jefferson said. "We just made sure that we got it back to the middle of the field to win the game."
The kick from 25 yards out by Drew Alleman split the uprights. The Tigers stormed the field for the second time in a two-minute span, but this time there would be no interference.
Jefferson, LSU's all-time career leading rushing quarterback, had helped ensure victory.
"A lot of great quarterbacks come through here and to have the opportunity to be in the record books is really something special and something that I strived to get," Jefferson said.
After a series of on-the-field interviews and celebrations, Jefferson joined his team in unison as they sang the Alma Mater with the pocket of purple and gold fans and the Golden Band from Tigerland.
Jefferson came full circle. He rose from adversity and willed his team to victory, and in the process put the Tigers in prime position to play for the ultimate prize in January.