TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For the first time in two months, an opponent was standing up to Alabama.
The top-ranked Crimson Tide flashed its overwhelming punching power to knockout No. 10 LSU in Saturday night's 38-17 victory Saturday, scoring the final 21 points in punishing fashion.
AJ McCarron threw three touchdown passes, T.J. Yeldon ran for 133 yards and two scores and the Tide (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) turned to smash-you-in-the-mouth football to take control of a game that was tied early in the third quarter. Yeldon carried 18 times in the second half, 25 overall.
And down went LSU (7-3, 3-3).
"I think we probably played our best half of football," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "We didn't play great in the first half, but man I tell you what, a lot of character out there in the second half."
Yeldon and McCarron had hooked up for the game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute of last season's meeting with the Tigers. This one had no such dramatic finish.
Two-time defending national champion Alabama brushed aside its first challenge since Game 2 against Texas A&M. It was a dominant performance two days after one contender, No. 2 Oregon, fell to another, No. 6 Stanford.
McCarron was a workmanlike 14-of-20 passing for 179 yards, letting Yeldon, Kenyan Drake and their blockers assert control. He did hit speedy freshman tight end O.J. Howard for a 52-yard touchdown and overtook John Parker Wilson to become Alabama's top career passer.
McCarron didn't need to put up big numbers to improve his career mark to 34-2.
LSU's Zach Mettenberger completed 16 of 23 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown but was also sacked four times.
No. 3 Florida State 59,Wake Forest 3
At Winston-Salem, N.C., Jameis Winston threw two touchdown passes, and Florida State tied a school record with six interceptions as it clinched ACC a championship game berth.
Nate Andrews took an interception 56 yards for a touchdown and Jalen Ramsey returned a fumble 23 yards for a score on consecutive plays.
The Seminoles (9-0, 7-0) claimed the inside track to a BCS title game berth with No. 2 Oregon's loss Thursday. They kept firm grasp of it by forcing seven turnovers and breaking the stadium record of 56 points they set in 1994.
No. 7 Auburn 55, Tennessee 23
At Knoxville, Tenn., Nick Marshall gained 214 of Auburn's 444 yards rushing and the Tigers scored on a punt return and kickoff return against Tennessee.
Marshall ran for two touchdowns on just 14 carries and threw for a third score. Tre Mason rushed for 117 yards and three touchdowns as Auburn (9-1, 5-1 SEC) earned its sixth straight victory and averaged 8.4 yards per carry.
No. 9 Missouri 48, Kentucky 17
At Lexington, Ky., Maty Mauk threw five touchdown passes, four to Dorial Green-Beckham, and No. 9 Missouri cruised past Kentucky.
Making his fourth consecutive start in place of the injured James Franklin, the Tigers' redshirt freshman completed 17 of 28 attempts for 203 yards and took full advantage of 6-foot-6 sophomore Green-Beckham, whose TD receptions set a school record.