Jesse Williams (54) and Nick Perry (27) after Perry brought down the Ole Miss quarterback for a loss. (Copyright photo by Jeronimo Nisa of The Decatur Daily)
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The Commercial Appeal of Memphis
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It wasn’t a blowout, or an embarrassment, or a devastating loss that could affect a football team for the rest of the season.
Instead, there was a tangible measure of improvement for Ole Miss, even in a 33-14 Southeastern Conference loss at No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Alabama on Saturday night in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
After almost a 12-minute meltdown in the second quarter when Alabama rang up three touchdowns, one on a 99-yard kickoff return and two following Ole Miss interceptions, the 30-point underdog Rebels (3-2, 0-1 in the SEC’s Western Division) showed enough moxie to give Alabama (5-0, 2-0 in the SEC West) its closest call by far this season.
Ole Miss even became the first team to take a lead on Alabama since Tennessee did so last October. The Rebels of first-year coach Hugh Freeze managed that when Jeff Scott scored on a 1-yard run and Bryson Rose added an extra point kick twenty seconds into the second quarter for a 7-6 lead.
But the Rebels’ one-point advantage lasted 15 seconds. Fired up, the Ole Miss kickoff coverage team sprinted too deep downfield and didn’t break down into the return lanes. Alabama’s Christion Jones found an opening and didn’t quit running until he had scored on a 99-yard return with 13:25 left before the half.
The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.
TUSCALOOSA — For 15 seconds Saturday night, Ole Miss led the No. 1 team in the country.
Then Alabama got the ball back, and Christion Jones ran a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. With that went any of Ole Miss’ hopes of beating the Crimson Tide on Saturday, even if the Rebels kept on coming at the defending national champions during a 33-14 loss.
What stuck out to Ole Miss was the three second-quarter turnovers, which may have prevented a surprisingly close game from being more than that.
“They kill you,” said quarterback Bo Wallace, who threw two interceptions. “Put a defense in a bad spot. I don’t really have much else to say about. I killed my defense.”
The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss.
TUSCALOOSA — Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack admitted last week he would have to get bigger in the box against Alabama.
He did, abandoning his base 4-2-5 defense for long stretches of the game in favor of a more traditional 4-3 defense. Alabama ended up rushing for 134 yards on 24 carries against Ole Miss’ defense, which gave up 354 yards on the ground to Texas while playing the 4-2-5.
Junior Joel Kight started at outside linebacker, replacing huskie Dehendret Collins. Kight, who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 222 pounds, has been the backup to Mike Marry at middle linebacker. Denzel Nkemdiche started on the other side of Marry.
here was nothing spectacular about Alabama’s win over Ole Miss. There didn’t need to be.
After a 15-second lead that Ole Miss took early in the second quarter, there was never really a moment in this game where Alabama’s lead was in doubt. The Rebels did cut their deficit to 27-14 with a touchdown in the third quarter, and you started to think that another score might make something interesting. But another score never came.
Instead, it was Alabama doing what Alabama sometimes does in games like this: Slowly put them further and further out of reach. AJ McCarron had some ups and downs in this game, but he ended up 22-of-30 for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Eddie Lacy ground out 82 yards on 19 carries. Freshman wideout Amari Cooper had a breakout game, catching eight passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
Ole Miss, meanwhile, struggled to get anything going against the Tide defense. The Rebels barely cleared the 200-yard mark and averaged just 2.3 yards per carry on the ground. They threw three interceptions. Any hopes of an upset generally came from the defense, which actually didn’t do that poorly when you look indicators like Alabama’s total offense (305 yards).
Oxford (Miss.) Eagle
Two weeks after getting beat by 35 points by then No. 14 Texas, the Ole Miss Rebels performed much better against the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday night.Ole Miss may have lost 33-14 to Alabama in its Southeastern Conference opener at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but the feeling after the game was more upbeat thanks to a much more physical showing on defense and offense.
The Rebels (3-2 overall) made some mistakes and had several gaffes on special teams, but coach Hugh Freeze like the effort and attitude of his team compared to the game with the Longhorns. Ole Miss led 7-6 early in the second quarter when Jeff Scott scored on a 1-yard run to cap a 13-play, 75-yard drive. The Rebels’ lead was short lived, however, as Alabama’s Christion Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to put Alabama back ahead to stay.
Ole Miss played three quarterbacks — Randall Mackey saw some snaps in both halves – and finished with 218 total yards against a defense that was only allowing 185 to opponents coming in and ranked No. 3 overall in the nation. The Rebels also held Alabama’s vaunted running game in check as they only gave up 125 yards on 34 carries.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — No. 1 Alabama actually trailed for a change, a predicament that lasted a grand total of 15 seconds.
Amari Cooper caught two touchdown passes from AJ McCarron and Christion Jones returned a kickoff 99 yards for another score, leading the Crimson Tide to a 33-14 victory over Mississippi Saturday night after a rare and early deficit.
The Tide (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) trailed briefly, 7-6, for the first time in regulation since last year’s Tennessee game, a span of about 10 games. The Rebels (3-2, 0-1) put up a fight against a team that had been walloping opponents by nearly 37 points on average, but still lost their ninth straight SEC opener.
“It was a hard-fought win for us,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I think people probably don’t give Ole Miss enough credit. They played hard. They were physical. Their offense is difficult to defend.”
Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) – AJ McCarron threw a pair of touchdown passes to Amari Cooper and No. 1 Alabama handled Ole Miss, 33-14, on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
McCarron completed 22-of-30 passes for 180 yards without an interception and Cooper finished with 84 yards on eight catches for the Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC).
“Coop did an excellent job for us running the right routes and being on time,” said McCarron. “We had good chemistry the whole night, so we definitely were good in that area.”
Christion Jones returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the win, while Eddie Lacy had 19 carries for 82 yards and Jeremy Shelley went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts.
Bo Wallace threw for 123 yards with two interceptions on 15-of-26 passing for the Rebels (3-2, 0-1), who were coming off a 39-0 shutout of Tulane.
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