If Alabama was looking to win on style points Saturday night in its 23-10 win at home over neighbor Ole Miss, it didn’t accomplish it.
Eighth-ranked Alabama used a tough defensive effort and enough key offensive plays to score a 23-10 win over the Rebels in front of a Homecoming crowd of 101,821 at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night.
On a day when top-ranked Ohio State and fifth-ranked Nebraska suffered their first defeats of the season, ‘Bama didn’t do enough to likely make a major jump in the polls.
Whether it was a lack of carries or feeling it couldn’t run the ball against Ole Miss, Alabama went to the air for a good portion of the game to move the ball, as QB Greg McElroy was 17-of-25 for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Meantime, running back Trent Richardson totaled 146 yards (101 receiving, 45 rushing) on the night, including an 85-yard touchdown reception.
Running back Mark Ingram added 60 yards on 15 carries for the Crimson Tide (6-1 overall, 3-1 in the SEC).
“The goal of this game was for us to get back to playing with the kind of effort, the kind of toughness, and the discipline, execution and intensity that you need to play with to play winning football,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban commented. “We probably hit on the toughness part; I was pleased with that. I thought we tackled better on defense and played on the line of scrimmage better. We did a better job all the way around. I thought we gave a much better effort in this game. Guys really played hard, and I’m really proud of that.”
Among the other highlights for ‘Bama was place kicker Cade Foster connecting with a career-long 49-yard field goal to put the Crimson Tide up 10-0 at the close of the first quarter. Marquis Maze finished the game with 125 punt return yards.
On defense, Alabama held the Rebs to 41 total yards and a pair of first downs in the first half, with Ole Miss finishing with 243 total yards on the day.
Along with a field goal, Ole Miss QB Jeremiah Masoli hit Melvin Harris to make the score 23-10 on a pass play.
An interception by UA safety Mark Barron at the Ole Miss 37-yard line with 4:49 all but shut the door on the Rebels. The Tide was able to run out the clock from there for the victory.
Barron and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick led Alabama with seven tackles apiece.
While a win is a win, the lack of an impactive running game two weeks in a row shows that the Crimson Tide has some work to do before challenging road games at Tennessee (Oct. 23) and LSU (Nov. 6).
The ‘Bama-Tennessee game is set for this coming Saturday at 6 p.m. (Central Time) on ESPN.
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Written by Dave Thomas