Alabama Football: Why Bama prevailed in gut-check win over Ole Miss

Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

All week long, it was frequently presumed, Ole Miss, and not Alabama Football had the most on the line in Saturday’s game. The claim made apparent sense. Ole Miss was in the hunt for an SEC Championship game opportunity and possibly a CFB Playoff slot.

Alabama, it was also said, was just playing for pride. The flaw in the logic was, in the Nick Saban era of Alabama Football, pride in maintaining the Crimson Tide legacy is no small thing. Alabama players don’t ‘just play’ to protect the Tide’s legacy – they fight for it.

On Saturday afternoon, when Ole Miss went up 10-0 three minutes into the second quarter, all the momentum belonged to the Rebels. In the game’s first quarter, Alabama ran 13 plays and produced a total of 22 yards. At the same point, Ole Miss had run 27 plays and produced 154 yards.

Given the ease Ole Miss was having running the ball, and the balance it was achieving through the air, a fair guess was the next TD in the game would come from the Rebels, putting the Crimson Tide in a 17-0 hole.

Alabama Football Kept Working

Stubbornly, Alabama, and especially Bryce Young just kept working. A seven-play, 80-yard drive, finished with a 19-yard TD pass from Bryce Young to Jermaine Burton. The drive turned the game around.

The Rebels did not quit either and it was a fight until the end. Alabama prevailed and afterward, Nick Saban said his team “took a step in the right direction.”

As he so often does, after the game CFB’s greatest-ever coach, summed up the game succinctly,

"I mean, we stubbed our toe a lot in the first half and just kept playing the next play. That’s the kind of identity we want to reestablish in the program."

Only at Alabama, does a football team lose two road games against old rivals, on last plays, by a total of four points – and faces a recalibration to reestablish an identity. The Crimson Tide has some great players and while it may not be a great team, it is a very good one.

Even with great players and the GOAT, sometimes the Tide struggles to not beat itself. Sometimes the offensive and defensive schemes appear inferior to the roster talent. Conversely, sometimes the talent level in some position groups appears to be below championship quality.

Still, to Nick Saban’s credit, Alabama Football does not quit. That is what makes the Crimson Tide so special, season after season – even when it is not at its best.

Alabama football fans are rightly disappointed by the season – but we should not lose sight that the Crimson Tide remains college football’s greatest program.

Also, enjoy the video in the tweet below.

Next. Enjoying a bowl game. dark

The Alabama football staff did a good job making adjustments in the game, defensively and offensively. They incur valid criticism often, but Saturday they deserve some credit for the Ole Miss win.