BATON ROUGE, La. — With Alabama’s hopes of a second straight national title hanging by a thread, A.J. McCarron shook off a dismal second half and guided the Crimson Tide right down the field.
Talk about a Saturday night stunner in Death Valley.
McCarron read an LSU blitz and flipped a swing pass to T.J. Yeldon, who did the rest on a 28-yard touchdown with 51 seconds remaining that gave the top-ranked Crimson Tide a 21-17 victory over No. 5 LSU.
Alabama (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) now has a clear path to the league championship game in Atlanta, and remains solidly on course to defend its national title in Miami.
But this one was a struggle. Led by embattled quarterback Zach Mettenberger, LSU (7-2, 3-2) fought back from a 14-3 halftime deficit with an offensive performance that was nothing like their dismal showing against the Tide in last season’s BCS title game.
LSU was on the verge of putting the game away, driving into Alabama territory and forcing coach Nick Saban to call his remaining timeouts. But Drew Alleman missed a 38-yard field goal, and McCarron took over from there.
No. 2 Oregon 62, No. 18 USC 51
Kenjon Barner rushed for a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns, Marcus Mariota threw four TD passes, and Oregon produced another landmark offensive performance against USC.
Josh Huff caught two touchdowns, and De’Anthony Thomas and Daryl Hawkins also caught scoring passes for the Ducks (9-0, 6-0 Pac-12), who outlasted USC in a back-and-forth second half to extend their winning streak to 12 games.
Oregon’s 730 yards and 62 points were the most ever allowed by USC, which began playing football in 1888.
Barner set a rushing record for a USC opponent by the third quarter.
Matt Barkley passed for 484 yards and four touchdowns.
No. 4 N. Dame 29, Pittsburgh 26
Everett Golson scored on a quarterback sneak in the third overtime and threw two touchdown pass during Notre Dame’s fourth-quarter comeback.