BLOG — On site here at Bryant-Denny Stadium for No. 21 Ole Miss’ much-anticipated matchup against No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Rebels (3-0, 1-0 in SEC) are looking for their first 4-0 start since 1970. The Crimson Tide enter the contest 3-0 overall and 1-0 in SEC play.
4:15 PM: Ole Miss’ specialists are going through warm-ups decked out in white jerseys with red numbers and gray pants with red and blue stripes down the side. The Rebels have yet to sport the gray pants this season.
Ole Miss won the toss and will receive the opening kickoff.
Ole Miss drives down to the Alabama 29-yard line in four plays — a 38-yard connection between quarterback Bo Wallace and freshman receiver Laquon Treadwell on the game’s first snap being the big play — but Treadwell is upended on a sweep after a 1-yard gain on 4th-and-2, giving Alabama possession with 12:42 left in the opening frame. Still scoreless.
Alabama drives to Ole Miss’ 16-yard line in eight plays, but the Rebel defense forces a field goal after an A.J. McCarron-to-Kenny Bell connection picks up just 6 yards on 3rd-and-11. Cade Foster makes a 28-yard field goal to put the Crimson Tide on top 3-0. 6:23 left in the first.
Nothing doing on the Rebels’ next possession. A pair of Wallace completions nets 9 yards, and a third-down pass intended for receiver Vince Sanders falls incomplete. Alabama will take over at its 17-yard line after a Tyler Campbell punt.
Ole Miss answers with a defensive stand of its own, getting a nice open-field tackle from CB Mike Hilton on a screen pass to force an Alabama punt. The Rebels will start their next drive at their own 36. Also, DE C.J. Johnson was seen being taken off the field on a cart earlier.
Wallace hits a wide-open Moncrief to convert a 3rd-and-9 down to the Alabama 37 but then turn to some trickery with Treadwell taking a handoff and then trying to pass. It didn’t work. Eddie Williams picks it off to give the Tide possession at its own 27. Less than minute left in the opening quarter.
That’s it for the first quarter. Some interesting calls from Ole Miss to begin the game. Alabama leads 3-0.
The Ole Miss defense forces a punt, but the offense can’t do much with it. The Rebels pick up a pair of first downs before Campbell sends off his second punt of the night. ‘Bama will take over at its own 21. 10:29 left in the quarter.
Alabama goes 43 yards in nine plays and caps the drive with a career-long 53-yard field goal from Foster. The Ole Miss defense had two opportunities to keep the Tide off the scoreboard after Brian Vogler and Kenyan Drake each fumbled, but Alabama recovered both. Defense is holding up considering how long it’s been on the field in the first half. Alabama now leads 6-0 with 5:44 left before halftime.
Ole Miss can’t do much more than pick up a first down or two on each drive. Wallace was flagged for intentional grounding to kill the Rebels’ latest drive. Alabama will get the ball back at its 19 with 3:09 remaining in the half. The Ole Miss defense isn’t getting much of a breather.
McCarron throws incomplete over the middle, but Ole Miss is called for pass interference, giving the Tide a fresh set of downs at their 19. Rebels call a timeout, and the defense likely needs it. 2:19 left in the quarter.
Ole Miss calls a timeout, but the defense can’t get off the field. McCarron to Amari Cooper nets 9 yards, and Alabama is driving at Ole Miss’ 44 with 47 seconds to go.
Alabama picks up two more first downs to set up Foster’s third field-goal attempt of the half with 2 seconds left. Foster nails the 42-yarder to send the Tide to the locker room up 9-0. The first half has to be considered a major victory for the Rebels’ defense after the offense didn’t produce anything outside of a few long pass plays.
Ole Miss’ five first-half possessions went like this: turnover on downs, punt, interception, punt, punt. Alabama outgained the Rebels 171-118 in total offense. The defense is doing all it can. The offense will have make some adjustments to give Ole Miss a chance in the second half.
Ole Miss’ defense finally breaks. Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon goes 68 yards nearly untouched — a spin move the only debate — for the game’s first touchdown. Foster tacks on the extra point to give Alabama a 16-0 lead 52 second into the third quarter.
Ole Miss picks up one first down before being forced to punt again. Wallace has time to throw, but he’s not finding anyone downfield. Ole Miss’ receivers going against Alabama’s secondary might have been one favorable matchup for the Rebels coming into the game, but that’s not the case so far.
The Rebels’ defense is hanging in there. Alabama picked up a pair of first downs and now has 283 total yards, but two penalties and a sack stall the Tide’s drive. Ole Miss will start its second possession of the second half at its 20.
The Ole Miss offense puts together one of its most productive drives of the contest but still can’t get any points. The Rebels got to Alabama’s 15 in seven plays, getting some help in the form of a personal foul on Alabama’s Eddie Jackson. But the Rebels netted just 8 yards on their next three plays, and Wallace’s 4th-down pass over the middle was batted down. Heading to the fourth, it’s still Alabama 16, Ole Miss 0.
Ole Miss gets its first real break of the game with an interception by safety Cody Prewitt, who returns it to Alabama’s 31 early in the fourth quarter.
Scott scampers through a hole on 4th-and-2 to keep the Rebels’ drive alive. Two plays later, Ole Miss is looking at a 3rd-and-7 from the Tide’s 15-yard line.
Wallace picks up 2 yards on 3rd down. A false-start penalty backs the Rebels up on 4th down, and Wallace’s pass is knocked down in the secondary. ‘Bama takes over again at its own 18. Ole Miss’ offense has had its chances. 12:30 left in the game.
Alabama is salting this one away, giving Ole Miss a heavy dose of Yeldon and Drake. The Tide use six straight running plays to move the ball to the Ole Miss 49 before having to punt. Rebels will take over at their own 9 with 8:15 remaining in the game.
Outside of its first possession and its most recent possession, Ole Miss just hasn’t been able to muster much of anything against Alabama’s defense. The Rebels, who have 211 yards through the first three and a half quarters, punt again. ‘Bama takes over at the Rebels’ 49 with 7:08 left.
Alabama records a safety, and Drake adds a 50-yd TD run to finish off a 25-0 victory over Ole Miss. The Rebels finish with 205 yards of offense but had their chances with numerous trips into the red zone. Ole Miss falls to 3-1 overall and stays on the road next week with a trip to Auburn. (September 28, 2013)