It Was a Tale of Two Stats in the Alabama Win Over Ole Miss

Alabama Wins; Erases Three-Touchdown Deficit

Alabama traveled to Oxford, Mississippi to play Ole Miss on Saturday. As losers of two-straight, another loss to the Rebels would have been the first in the rivalry’s history. Aside from Ole Miss, only LSU has managed two consecutive wins against the Tuscaloosa team. After erasing a sizeable lead late in the first half, Nick Saban‘s Crimson Tide took over en route to a narrow 48-43 Alabama win.

Ole Miss started the afternoon well and opened up a 24-3 lead as the first half was in its late stages. They had Alabama on its heels, distributing the football and getting after Jalen Hurts. It certainly didn’t help Alabama to lose SEC-leading receiver ArDarius Stewart to injury late in the first quarter.

But following a late second quarter Rebels touchdown—one that was the direct result of a blown call from officials—it was all Alabama. Two quick touchdowns before half narrowed the lead to just a touchdown.

The second half was dominated early by Alabama’s defense. The stingy front seven got to Chad Kelly often, forcing throws into tight coverage. And then with the Rebels pinned deep, they forced a fumble which was scooped for a touchdown. The three-touchdown lead was erased.

With 6:03 left in the third quarter, Alabama’s Adam Griffith kicked a field goal to take the lead.

Having been reeling for a large stretch, the Rebels looked to get back momentum. Kelly aired it out for what seemed like a touchdown. Upon review, the player was ruled down on the one-half yard line. An attempted run up the middle appeared to have scored for Ole Miss, with the quarterback extending the ball over the goal line. The officials again turned to review and the play was ruled short of the goal line. After an offensive penalty moved the ball back, the home team failed to capitalize.

It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter and down by two scores that the Ole Miss offense found life again. They narrowed the deficit to just five, but Alabama closed the game out with the ball.

Alabama win 48-43.

Jalen Hurts is Just About Good Enough

Alabama true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts was just good enough, but will be a concern for Saban and Kiffin against quality SEC defenses. He was pressured by the Ole Miss front four, but improvised when he needed. He used his legs at times, which is how he earned the starting spot on Kiffin’s offense. Hurts was Alabama’s top rusher with over 100 yards on the day. Where he fell short was in getting the ball down field.

He finished the game 19-31 for 158 yards. Compare that with Chad Kelly who went 26-41 for 421 yards passing and three passing touchdowns.

Roll Tide Runs Over Rebels

Ole Miss couldn’t stop the run. The two-headed rushing attack consisting of quarterback Jalen Hurts and running back Damien Harris combined for 290 of the team’s 334 yards on the ground. Alabama were able to control the line of scrimmage for long streteches, and Hurts used his legs to sustain drives.

Ole Miss had just 106 yards by comparison.

 

With the win, Alabama moves to 3-0 and will surely retain the nation’s top ranking. The now 1-2 Rebels lost early this season to Florida State. The loss is made worse considering how handily Louisville disposed of the Seminoles early Saturday afternoon. If they have any shot at winning the SEC West, they’ll need some help along the way.

Alabama has Kent next weekend, while Ole Miss will battle currently undefeated Georgia Bulldogs.

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