Division I Bowl Subdivision College Football
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - The "Rematch of the Century" has played out similarly to the regular-season meeting, with field goals accounting for the only points in the BCS National Championship Game through the first half.
Alabama has dominated every statistical category thus far, but only leads LSU 9-0 on three field goals by Jeremy Shelley, who had another attempt blocked by Michael Brockers.
Back in November, these programs met in another No. 1 vs. No. 2 slugfest, with the Tigers overtaking the top spot behind a 9-6 overtime victory -- the signature win in a season chock full of tests answered emphatically by the SEC champions.
So far in the Superdome though, LSU (13-0) looks unprepared for the final exam, gaining just one first down in five possessions. Jordan Jefferson has completed 6-of-7 passes but netted just 26 yards in doing so.
His counterpart, AJ McCarron, has been surprisingly efficient through the air, connecting on 18-of-25 passes for 156 yards for the Crimson Tide (11-1), who edged Oklahoma State in the final BCS standings to earn another shot at the Tigers.
Trent Richardson, a Heisman Trophy finalist, has 11 carries for 52 yards, more than three times the yardage LSU has gained on the ground (17).
Marquis Maze made the game's first big play, but it was a costly one for Alabama's leading receiver.
Midway through the opening quarter, Maze zigzagged through LSU's punt return team and sprinted into Tigers territory. The senior pulled up lame with an apparent hamstring injury, but not before going out of bounds at the LSU 26- yard line following the 49-yard return.
With Maze on the sideline, Darius Hanks stepped up a made a sliding 16-yard catch to reach the 10. Alabama, though, wound up settling for a 23-yard Shelley field goal with five minutes on the clock.
On Alabama's next possession, Kevin Norwood, who had just seven catches during the season, made a leaping grab along the right sideline on the last play of the first quarter. The 26-yard gain moved the ball to the LSU 38.
Faced with a 4th-and-4, Alabama lined up for a field goal, but head coach Nick Saban opted for a fake. Chris Underwood caught a shovel pass from the holder and got the first down by the nose of the ball to keep the drive alive.
Brockers kept it a 3-0 game four plays later, skying at the line of scrimmage to get a hand on Shelley's 42-yard attempt.
Another three-and-out by the Tigers preceded an 11-play, 58 yard drive Shelley capped with a 34-yard field goal with 4:18 remaining in the half.
Alabama took over again with two minutes remaining at its own 24, and McCarron led the Tide into field goal range before the halftime gun.
Shelley's 41-yarder split the uprights for a 9-0 cushion.
01/09 21:58:50 ET