The Alabama Crimson Tide were not unbeatable, if you asked Mississippi State Bulldog partisans last week. The #WeBelieve hashtag was everywhere, including draped over the neck of the Nick Saban statue in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium. The No. 11 Bulldogs simply didn’t believe the hype about Alabama.
They believe now.
Alabama dismantled a game but overmatched Mississippi State by a count of 38-7 Saturday night, and while all the hype was about Notre Dame’s win over Oklahoma, this was another boring demonstration of why Alabama is undeniably the best team in the country.
Alabama jumped out early, with freshman T. J. Yeldon scoring from 11 yards out. In all, three Tide backs scored, including Eddie Lacy and Kenyan Drake. The Tide had 179 yards on the ground against a game Bulldog defense.
AJ McCarron had another good night, going 16 of 23 for 208 yards. He had touchdown passes of 57 yards to Kenny Bell and 9 yards to Michael Williams. His streak of games without an interception was extended, despite very nearly throwing a pick that went in and out of the hands of a Mississippi State defensive back.
McCarron left the game in the second half after appearing to favor his right shoulder. In his postgame comments head coach Nick Saban said it was a back contusion that forced McCarron out early. Saban said that McCarron was fine, and could have returned.
On defense the Crimson Tide were outstanding, holding the Bulldogs to just 47 yards on the ground. Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Russell performed well in the loss, however, going 15 of 30 for 169 yards. Russell had his team inside the Alabama five before Robert Lester picked off a pass in the end zone.
The lone score for Mississippi State was a 2-yard pass by Russell to Robert Johnson, late in the game with most of the Tide starters on the bench.
For Mississippi State, their hopes for a miracle season are over, and they head into the toughest part of their schedule with a crushing loss. They next host Texas A&M, who absolutely destroyed Auburn on Saturday.
For the Tide, their quest for back-to-back national titles remains alive, as they head to Baton Rouge for a showdown with No. 6-ranked LSU. Tigers coach Les Miles called their home field a place “where dreams go to die.” Alabama gets a chance to prove him wrong next week, and make believers of the Tigers, as they did this week to the Bulldogs.