Alabama Football: What’s not to like in a 30-6 win?

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /

In the end, it was not perfect. Alabama Football should have shut out Mississippi State and it didn’t. Consistent with the always lofty expectations for every Alabama football team, a 30-6 SEC win gets labeled good, but not quite great.

Even Nick Saban was not happy the Crimson Tide did not play well to the end, allowing the Bulldogs to finally score a touchdown as time ran out. In his post-game review, Saban mentioned not stopping Mississippi State twice on fourth downs during the final drive.

Saban was also displeased with another pass interference call in the end zone on the drive. It is not clear if Saban’s sideline outburst meant he only disagreed with the call. He might have also been dissatisfied with the Tide defender.

What likely bothers Nick Saban much more is an ineffective running game that averaged (sack adjusted) 1.8 yards per carry. In the post-game, Saban said the offensive line was not able to get a push. That lack of push was the main reason why the Bulldogs outgained the Crimson Tide 293 yards to 290. Alabama fans know, against a better defense, 53 rushing yards from 22 attempts by Tide running backs will not be enough.

When asked about the late hits on Bryce Young, Saban mentioned the team must do a better job of protecting him. Most of that problem is on the offensive line.

Except for the final Mississippi State drive, Nick Saban complimented the defensive performance, saying “they answered the bell.”

Alabama Football Fan Response

Given Saban’s comments, how should Alabama football fans feel about the game? One fair response might be relieved. The Crimson Tide’s defense was substantially better than last week. The leaky pass defense against Tennessee became one that broke up 15 passes against the Bulldogs.

A big reason for the improved performance was Eli Ricks at cornerback. Alabama chose dime rather than nickel to counter Mike Leach’s offense, with Ricks starting in place of Terrion Arnold. Ricks and Kool-Aid led the Crimson Tide secondary with four pass breakups each.

After being torched by Jalin Hyatt in Knoxville, and by Alabama fans since; DeMarcco Hellams responded with a big game Saturday night. Hellams made a sack in his 12 tackles and broke up two passes.

A thin defensive line position group, missing DJ Dale, Jaheim Oatis and Justin Eboigbe, got the job done through Jamil Burroughs, Byron Young, Tim Smith, and Damon Payne. The game was Payne’s first inclusion, other than basically mop-up work, and he delivered three solo tackles. Jah Marien-Latham also rotated in.

Despite still doing limited throwing in practices, Bryce Young was his usual incredibly poised self in the pocket. Eleven Crimson Tide players caught passes, as the Tide threw for 261 yards.

The penalty performance against Mississippi State was encouraging. The Crimson Tide only made three penalties, though two of them were pass interference calls.

Compliments of Bama Insider, the complete post-game review can be seen below.

Next. Bryce is the Best. dark

Even if it was not a great Crimson Tide win, it was a good one – and more than good enough for the Crimson Tide to continue as a prime Playoff contender.