Alabama's Defense Turns Away
Ole Miss in a 25-0 Win
Ala. - The Alabama defense turned away several Ole Miss scoring threats
while the Crimson Tide offense showed a resourceful side as top-ranked
Alabama (4-0 overall; 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference) earned a 25-0
victory over No. 21 Ole Miss (3-1; 1-1 SEC) Saturday night before a
sellout crowd of 101,821 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Ole Miss, which entered the game averaging 38 points and 490 yards of
total offense per game (250 rushing, 240 passing), was held to 205
total yards by the Alabama defense, which allowed only 46 rushing and
159 through the air while keeping the Rebels off the scoreboard.
Tide quarterback AJ McCarron completed 25 of 32 passes for 190 yards
with one interception, connecting with wide receiver Christion Jones 5
times for 61 yards. Running back T.J. Yeldon rushed for 121 yards and a
career-long 68-yard touchdown, eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the
seventh time in his Alabama career while reserve back Kenyan Drake had
99 yards on 12 carries including a 50-yard scoring run. Linebacker C.J.
Mosley led the Alabama defense, recording a safety in the fourth
quarter as one of his seven tackles. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had a
team-leading eight tackles for the Tide.
After a touchback on the opening kickoff, Ole Miss took the game's
first possession at its own 25-yard line and marched 47 yards in five
plays before being stopped at the Tide 35. A slant pass from
quarterback Bo Wallace was tipped but caught by receiver Laquon
Treadwell behind the defense and Treadwell raced to the Tide 37 for a
38-yard gain. Wallace ran for two yards on first down, before running
back Jeff Scott gained six over left end and was stopped for no gain on
third down to set up a fourth-and-two play at the Tide 29. Treadwell
took a handoff on a reverse but was flipped and stopped by Tide safety
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix a yard short of the first down giving the Tide the
ball at the Alabama 28.
After a false start to begin the possession, the Alabama offense
cranked up a 61-yard, 11-play drive that consumed 6:19 of the clock.
McCarron gained two yards on a scramble on first down before hitting
receiver Kenny Bell for six yards to the Tide 31 to set up a
third-and-seven situation. McCarron connected on a pass to receiver
Christion Jones for 16 yards in the middle of the field for a first
down at the Tide 47. Running back T.J. Yeldon rushed for three yards,
then took a handoff over right tackle for 23 more to the Ole Miss 27. A
screen pass to Christion Jones yielded seven yards to the Rebel 20
before Yeldon gained four more on a run over left guard to the 16.
Yeldon was stopped for a loss of four on the next play and caught a
pass for no gain on second down. Facing third-and-11 at the Ole Miss
17, McCarron hit Bell for six yards to the Ole Miss 11 to set up a
28-yard field goal attempt by Cade Foster. Foster's kick was true to
give the Tide a 3-0 lead with 6:23 left in the first quarter.
The Tide extended the lead to 6-0 midway through the second quarter,
driving 43 yards in nine plays on a march that consumed 5:44 of game
time. The march began at the Tide 21 and was jump-started by a roughing
the passer penalty on the first play of the possession as McCarron was
hit by Ole Miss's C.J. Johnson after releasing a pass. That moved the
ball to the Tide 31. From there, McCarron passed to Christion Jones for
10 yards, Kenyan Drake was stopped for a three-yard loss, McCarron hit
tight end Brian Vogler for six yards before Vogler fumbled and Cyrus
Kouandjio recovered for the Tide at the Ole Miss 45. On third-and-six,
McCarron connected with receiver Kevin Norwood for nine yards and a
first down at the Ole Miss 36 as Norwood caught the ball in very tight
coverage. Three plays gained only two yards to set up Foster's
career-long 53-yard field goal that came with 5:44 left in the second
Alabama closed the first half with a methodical 56-yard, 13-play drive
to a field goal to earn a 9-0 lead at halftime. The drive was keyed by
McCarron passes of 11 yards to Cooper, seven yards to Norwood, seven
yards to Bell, 13 yards to Yeldon and four yards to Bell, accounting
for 42 of the 56 yards on the march. McCarron ended the first half
having completed 20 of 23 attempts for 135 yards. Foster's 42-yard
field goal as time expired in the second quarter made a new single-game
high for him with his third made kick of the game.
After a touchback on the kickoff to open the second half, Alabama
started the possession at its 25-yard line. After an offside penalty on
Ole Miss moved the ball to the Tide 30 for a first-and-five play,
McCarron pass to White on a hitch pass for two yards. On
second-and-eight from the 32, Yeldon took a delayed handoff on a draw
play and raced up the middle of the Ole Miss defense then cut to the
outside and scored on a 68-yard gain. Foster's conversion kick was good
to give the Tide a 16-0 lead with 14:08 left in the third quarter. The
touchdown was the longest of Yeldon's Alabama career and gave him
exactly 100 yards rushing on 11 carries to that point in the game.
Ole Miss responded with its first sustained drive since the early
moments of the game, marching 73 yards in 10 plays to the Alabama
seven-yard line. Two passes by Bo Wallace totaling 23 yards, plus a
12-yard keeper by Wallace and a 15-yard personal foul penalty by
Alabama, were crucial in the drive. But the Tide defense stiffened when
Ole Miss reached first down at the Tide 15. After a seven-yard run by
I'Tavius Mathers on first down, Mathers gained one on second down and
an incomplete pass set up a fourth down for Ole Miss needing two yards
at the Tide seven-yard line. A pass by Wallace on a crossing pattern
was knocked down by Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley to end the drive
with 3:30 left in the third quarter, preserving the 16-0 Alabama lead.
Alabama went to the running game at that point. Yeldon carried on the
first five plays of the possession, gaining 19 yards overall, then
Kenyan Drake rushed for 11 to the Tide 38 as the third quarter ended.
On the first play of the fourth period, a McCarron pass bounded off
intended receiver Brian Vogler and into the hand of Ole Miss safety
Cody Prewitt at the Tide 47. Prewitt returned the intercepted pass 16
yards to the Alabama 31-yard line.
After an eight-yard pass from Wallace to Treadwell on first down
reached the Tide 23, two passes were broken up by the Tide defense.
That set up another fourth-and-two play for the Ole Miss offense with
14:15 left in the fourth quarter. This time Ole Miss converted as
running back Jeff Scott took a handoff at left guard and gained five
yards for a first down at the Tide 18. Scott then carried for three
yards on first down, a Wallace pass was batted down at the line on
second down, and the third-and-seven play resulted in a two-yard gain
on a scramble by Wallace to set up fourth-and-5 at the Tide 13. A false
start penalty on Ole Miss actually negated an incomplete pass, giving
the Rebels another shot on a fourth-and 10 from the Tide 18 with 12:40
left. Tide cornerback Deion Belue broke up Wallace's corner route to
intended for receiver Evan Engram who was at the goal line corner at
the Tide six.
Later in the fourth quarter, a Cody Mandell punt pinned Ole Miss at its
1-yard line with 5:55 left. On first down, Wallace tried a rush at left
guard but was tackled by Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley in the end zone
for a safety with 5:43 left to give Alabama a 18-0 lead. The ensuing
free kick sailed out of bounds to give Alabama the ball at the 50-yard
line. On the first play, Drake took a handoff up the middle and broke
free on a 50-yard touchdown run. Foster's kick gave Alabama a 25-0 lead
with 5:32 left.
After the ensuing kickoff, Wallace was sacked by Denzel Devall as he
attempted a pass and Ed Stinson recovered at the Ole Miss 17 with 5:15
remaining. The reserve offense entered the game for Alabama at that
point. Running back Jalston Fowler gained five yards on first down to
the Ole Miss 12. Quarterback Blake Sims lost a yard on second down
before a false start penalty created a third-and-11 situation. Sims
kept for 6 yards to the Ole Miss 12 before running back Altee Tenpenny
was stopped for four yards on fourth-and-5, giving the Rebels the ball
back with 2:48 left