Alabama Beat Mississippi State with Best Defense in College Football


In what was a good old-fashioned ugly SEC game, Alabama beat Mississippi State on Saturday with the best defense in college football. There’s no other way to put it.

The 25-20 score came about because the Tide forced 3 Interceptions against Heisman Trophy Frontrunner Quarterback Dak Prescott. They forced a safety on Josh Robinson early in the game.

And despite the fight that Mississippi State showed in coming back and out-gaining the Crimson Tide 428 to 335 in total offense, Alabama always responded with a crucial forced turnover or a touchdown on offense.

Remember that two of those turnovers were forced after Alabama had already gone up 19-0. And all three were forced in Alabama territory.

Make no mistake, that wasn’t luck. It was great defense from a team going up against the most experienced offense in the country running a very difficult scheme to defend. The Bulldogs were obviously going to rack up the yards. Alabama just had to pull the trigger on the turnovers. And did they ever!

Landon Collins, Nick Perry, and Cyrus Jones each came away with an Interception. A lot of credit also has to go to the defensive unit for holding the Bulldogs to two field goals when they got inside the Alabama 15-yard line, one of which was when they got inside the 5-yard line.

This is clearly the best defense in the country right now, and it’s not even close. Maybe Ole Miss is close, but that’s it. Alabama is playing at a very high level, and let’s not forget that Sims has all the intangibles of a champion even if he’s not always accurate. At one point in this game, just like the LSU game, he led the offense again on a crucial drive with all the momentum working against it.

Mississippi State was obviously going to regroup when they got down. But Nick Saban’s players were always there to rip their hearts out.

After jumping out to a 2-0 from the safety, Alabama got a field goal from Adam Griffith to go up 5-0. Then Prescott threw his first interception in Alabama territory early in the second quarter which set up a great drive that ended in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Sims to Amari Cooper.

A 50-yard pass to Amari Cooper and 1-yard run by Derrick Henry after a punt resulted in another touchdown. 19-0.

Of course, Mississippi State rallied.

But after driving inside the Alabama 5 at the end of the half, they were held to a field goal. Then they drove inside the Alabama 15 on the first drive to start the second half but were held to another field goal.

Midway through the third quarter, they drove inside the Alabama 15 again, and Prescott threw his second interception.

Three red zone trips starting with the end of the second quarter, 6 points. Four times in Alabama territory, 6 points.

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But still, with a 19-6 game, it wasn’t over. A good punt return by Fred Ross on the next drive and then a healthy dose of Prescott and Robinson made the score 19-13 early in the fourth after a 4-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Ross.

But then Sims and the offense finally responded with a 15-play, 76 yard drive capped off by a 7-yard touchdown run by T.J. Yeldon. A failed 2-point conversion attempt made the score 25-13.

And once again, with Mississippi State driving, they reached the Red Zone again. Prescott threw his third interceptions. Five trips to the red zone now, six into Alabama territory for the game, but only 13 points.

Mississippi State got the ball back with just over three minutes to go and scored with 15 seconds left off of a pass from Prescott to Jameon Lewis, but they couldn’t recover the onside kick. 25-20 was the final.

Now, the Tide are first in the SEC West and in complete control of their own destiny. As for Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs, they are still very much in the College Football Playoff picture. And they could still win the West.

Alabama’s win on Saturday burst the race and the division wide open. It didn’t shut any doors. So we’re going to have to keep watching.