TUSCALOOSA -- Tua Tagovailoa may as well just hand his ticket to New York City to Joe Burrow now.
With so much on the line, including SEC West supremacy and an early lead on one of the four College Football Playoff bids, it was LSU's Burrow and not Alabama's Tagovailoa who elevated his team to the precipice of even greater things to come with a 46-41 road win Saturday night inside a packed Bryant-Denny Stadium.
And the Tigers' senior signal-caller very well may have locked up the Heisman Trophy while he was at it.
Burrow completed his first 13 consecutive passes and finished 31-of-39 with 393 yards and three touchdowns Saturday, further asserting his place atop the Heisman standings, while Tagovailoa struggled to consistently move the ball in his first game back from injury until late in the game when Alabama was chasing LSU but never able to catch them.
And it wasn't his arm, then it was Burrow's feet that likely sealed the win and maybe become his Heisman moment. His 18-yard run on a third-and-2 with two minutes left in the game set up the deciding touchdown from Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Tagovailoa -- who finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting last season and entered the season as the presumptive runaway favorite -- simply couldn't keep pace despite his late push against LSU's new-look offense, finishing 21-of-40 for 418 yards with four touchdowns and a costly interception late in the first half that allowed Burrow and the Tigers to put an early stamp on the game.
Returning to the field less than three weeks removed from undergoing tightrope surgery on his right ankle, Tagovailoa was uncharacteristically inconsistent as Alabama's high-powered offense fizzled in the biggest game of the season, despite plays like his 85-yard touchdown pass to DeVonta Smith in the final two minutes to cut the lead to five for LSU.
Entering Saturday with the nation's second-highest scoring offense averaging 48.6 points per game, Tagovailoa and the Tide turned the ball over four of its eight first-half series, including an inexplicable fumble by an untouched Tagovailoa that ended Alabama's first offensive drive of the game at the LSU 8-yard-line.
Burrow then guided LSU's quick-strike offense on a six-play scoring drive that was capped by a 33-yard touchdown strike to receiver Ja'Marr Chase for an early 7-0 advantage with 9:15 left in the first quarter.
A three-and-out by Alabama was quickly compounded by a fumbled fourth-down snap by walk-on punter Ty Perine that set the Tigers up inside Tide territory that LSU turned into a 40-yard field goal by kicker Cade York and a 10-0 lead. It was Alabama's first double-digit deficit at home since the memorable 2015 loss to Ole Miss.
Burrow continued to pile it on after that, taking a 16-7 lead early in the second quarter on a 29-yard strike to Terrace Marshall Jr.
Tagovailoa would find the end zone eventually when he connected with fellow junior DeVonta Smith over the top for a 64-yard touchdown, but a missed extra point spoiled even that and kept Alabama behind 16-13 midway through the second quarter.
LSU added a 1-yard touchdown run by tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire that followed a reviewed 16-yard pass from Burrow that tight end Thaddeus Moss toe-tapped in for a catch.
One play later, Tagovailoa appeared to stare down receiver Jerry Jeudy and LSU linebacker Patrick Queen stepped in front of the pass for an interception with 11 seconds remaining.
Burrow then did his best to ice the game before halftime with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Edwards-Helaire 5 seconds later for a 33-13 advantage at the break.
Tagovailoa and running back Najee Harris helped Alabama's offense make a valiant second-half effort, including outgaining LSU 172-93 in the third quarter. Harris even pulled the Tide within 33-27 with 14:33 left in the game on a 1-yard touchdown that followed a 12-yard gain on fourth-and-1.
But Burrow completed back-to-back third downs on the next series and then added a 15-yard scramble on third-and-5 to set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Edwards-Helaire to go ahead 39-27 with 10:07 remaining. Burrow's two-point try failed.
And it was too little, too late, both for Tagovailoa's bid for the Heisman and, quite possibly, for the Crimson Tide's sixth straight appearance in the College Football Playoff.