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After suffering their first loss of the season last week against Tennessee, Alabama bounced back on homecoming, defeating the #24 Mississippi State Bulldogs 30-6 to extend their win streak over the Bulldogs to 15 games. The Alabama offense did not put up gaudy numbers, but they didn't have to, as the defense kept the high-powered Mississippi State offense in check.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the game.
Alabama's offensive line did an excellent job in pass protection allowing just two sacks, but for most of the game, quarterback Bryce Young had all the time in the world to wait for a receiver to get open. However, in the run game, the offensive line did not do as well. The Crimson Tide was held to just 29 rushing yards on 27 carries, by far their worst showing of the season against a very mediocre Mississippi State rush defense.
After being absolutely embarrassed by Tennessee a week ago, the Alabama secondary was in search of a bounce-back game against Mississippi State, and they got what they were looking for. The Crimson Tide secondary held quarterback Will Rogers to just 231 yards passing, his worst game of the season. Alabama also had a season-high 15 pass breakups, led by Eli Ricks and Kool-Aid McKinstry, with four each. Ricks made his first start of the season for the Crimson Tide, looking really sharp and making us all ask, "Where was he last week against Tennessee?"
For the first time this season, we mention penalties as a positive thing for Alabama. After setting a school record last week with 17 penalties for 130 yards, the Crimson Tide cleaned some things up and was only flagged three times against Mississippi State. Not only did the Crimson Tide reduce their penalties, but they actually got a few roughing-the-passer penalties called in their favor, a penalty that they did not get called in the Tennessee game a week ago.
The Alabama pass rush recorded four sacks against Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers Saturday. Although the Crimson Tide was only able to get four sacks, they were consistently in the backfield pressuring Rogers, forcing him to get rid of the ball quickly and making him uncomfortable in the pocket. On top of the four sacks, the Alabama pass rush was responsible for seven quarterback hurries.
Kicker Will Reichard was able to break out of his slump, hitting all three of his field goal attempts, including one from 50 yards away, his third of 50 yards or better of the season and fifth of his career. Punter James Burnip also had a good game for the special teams unit, pinning Mississippi State back deep in their territory, punting three of his six punts inside the 20-yard line.
This was a great bounce-back game for Alabama to bring some momentum going into the bye week. The Crimson Tide will use the off week to rest up and get everyone healthy and ready for the final four games of the regular season. Next up for Alabama is #18 LSU in Baton Rouge on November 5.
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