TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Hello from No. 8 Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium. Tonight’s kickoff is set for 8:10 and will be broadcast on ESPN2.Alabama enters tonight’s matchup looking to bounce back from its 35-21 loss at South Carolina last week. The loss subsequently knocked the Tide from the No. 1 position in both the AP and USAToday Coaches Poll.
Ole Miss heads to Tuscaloosa, Ala., hoping to continue its current win streak. After starting off the season 1-2, the Rebels have back-to-back wins over Fresno State (55-38) and Kentucky (42-35).
Here is a video of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium prior to the game… MUCH more quiet than at game time…
SERIES: To say Ole Miss has not fared well at Alabama is an understatement. The Alabama leads the all-time series 43-9-2 and are 31-1-1 against Ole Miss in the state of Alabama. Last season the Tide defeated then-No. 19 Ole Miss 22-3 in Oxford. The last time the Rebels beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa was to the tune of a 22-12 victory in 1988.
RUNNING AWAY: Both schools have been effective on the ground this season, with the Rebels second in the Southeastern Conference and 13th in the country averaging 232.0 yards per game (1,160 yards through five games). Alabama ranks fourth in the SEC and 29th in the nation averaging 197.5 (1,185 yards in six games). Leading Ole Miss’ rushing attack is junior running back Brandon Bolden and his 103.6 average. Bolden ranks third in the conference and 23rd in the nation. Alabama is led by Trent Richardson (73.7). Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram has bounced back after missing Alabama’s first two games of the season due to injury, racking up 396 yards and six touchdowns in four games.
THE BEST AND WORST OF TIMES: Averaging 37.2 points per game, the Rebels are tops in the SEC. That’s a good thing because they also ranked 12th in scoring defense, allowing 32.6 points per game.
HOW’S THE HAND, JULIO?: Last week Alabama star receiver Julio Jones injured his hand in the Tide’s loss at South Carolina. Earlier in the week head coach Nick Saban said the 6-foot-4 receiver would be a game-time decision. “Count on it,” says Al.com’s Don Kausler, Jr. Jones is currently tied for third in the conference (and 41st nationally) averaging 5.33 receptions per game. He’s also third (and 44th nationally) with 73.3 receiving yards per game. On the year, the junior has hauled in 32 receptions for 440 yards and three scores. In previous meetings Jones hasn’t exactly shown-out against the Rebels. Last season Jones caught four passes for 42 yards. In 2008, Jones caught three passes for 65 yards. Jones was on the field during pregame warmups and seemed to be OK (for what it’s worth..).
7-0 Alabama: After forcing Alabama to kick a 37-yard field goal on the Tide’s first possession, a roughing the kicker penalty gave Alabama a second chance and they cashed in. On third-and-goal, QB Greg McElroy found Preston Dial in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard score. (Q1, 8:57).
10-0 Alabama: Tide kicker Cade Foster just got his 49-yard field goal over the crossbar. (Q1, 0:58).
13-0 Alabama: After surrendering starting position at their own 8-yard line, the Rebels’ defense came up to force a 19-yard field goal by Cade Foster (Q2, 5:32).
13-3 Alabama: Ole Miss takes advantage of Marquis Maze‘s fumble on a punt return. Taking over at Alabama’s 21, the Rebels drove to the Tide’s 5 before kicker Bryson Rose converted a 23-yard field goal (Q2, 1:28).
16-3 Alabama: Alabama concludes the first half with a 44-yard field goal to go ahead 16-3.
23-3 Alabama: On third and long, McElroy dumped a pass off to Trent Richardson on a screen. Richardson did the rest of the work, shaking a tackle attempt by Charles Sawyer and out-running the Rebels’ defense 85 yards down the sideline for a score (Q3, 7:22).
23-10 Alabama: Ole Miss marched 71 yards down the field, converting three third downs in the process, to find the end zone for the first time in the game when Jeremiah Masoli hit Melvin Harris at the goal line for a 15-yard completion. Harris was able to fight his way into the end zone to get the score (Q3, 4:40).
FINAL NOTES: While the Rebels didn’t pull out a win — and defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix specifically said following the game that the team doesn’t take moral victories — this was clearly a game Ole Miss can build on moving forward. Defensively, the Rebels held the talented duo of Ingram and Richardson to 105 combined yards and no scores on the ground. With the exception of Richardson’s 85-yard TD on the screen pass, the Ole Miss defense really played a solid game.
One big issue, however, was special teams. Ole Miss entered the game as the least penalized team in the league, but against the Tide the Rebels committed 12 penalties for 106 yards. Not good.
Offensively, the Rebels also had a handful of drops which stalled drives and Masoli spent more time than not scrambling for his life in the first half. As a result, the Rebels totaled just two first downs in the first half (but finished with 13…). Masoli finished the game having completed 18 of 40 pass attempts for 110 yards and one score. He also surrendered an interception on a tipped ball in the fourth quarter.
On the ground, Masoli had a team-high 40 yards, while speedy freshman Jeff Scott rushed for 39 yards on five carries. Brandon Bolden had a quiet night on the ground, rushing for 32 yards on 10 carries. He also had four receptions for a team-high 32 yards. Melvin Harris and Ja-Mes Logan also had four receptions apiece. (October 16, 2010)