It wasn’t easy for the Tide. In fact, this season, it’s never been harder. A more-than-game Mississippi State Bulldog team pushed Alabama to its very limit before the Tide scored a go-ahead touchdown with 25 seconds remaining.
Here are five key points to remember with Alabama likely ascending to the No. 1 ranking this week.
1. Alabama survives
Even after completing just three of the 10 third down completions and struggling offensively for most of the night, Alabama was able to find a way to pull out a win on the road against a ranked opponent.
You can dissect Alabama any number of ways, but the fact remains the Tide find a way to win each and every time. No matter the opponenet or the circumstance, the Tide continue to win games despite injuries and the opposition.
This game was unlike most in a way for Alabama – The Tide either trailed or were tied with the Bulldogs for most of the game – but it was also the same in the most important way, after all was said and done, Alabama won.
2. The defense survives
With multiple starting linebackers out injured, Alabama’s defense was bent, but not broken.
Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald had his moments, going 13-for-24 through the air for 158 yards passing with another 66 yards rushing, still, the Tide limited his big plays. Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs had to work for every yard and after giving up 14 points in the first half, Bama surrendered only 10 in the second.
Alabama’s defense surrendered 330 yards and forced MSU into just one three-and-out series all game. That one three-and-out, however, set up Alabama’s go-ahead score of the game.
The Bulldogs’ offense was on the field for a total of 38:56 compared to 21:04 by the Alabama. None of it mattered – not yards, not time of possession, not injuries – in the only statistic which matters, final score, Alabama’s defense prevailed.
3. Jalen Hurts is the Alabama offense
Jalen Hurts continues to be the one player on the Alabama offense who can consistently make plays. His numbers, again, won’t wow you. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 242 yards – nothing special – with another 40 yards coming on the ground on 19 carries. He did rush for a touchdown and importantly not turn the ball over.
What makes Hurts special is not his numbers, it’s his moments, and has become his habit, against Mississippi State, Hurts was at his best in the critical moments of the game where winning and losing is decided.
On the other end of Hurts’ passes, Calvin Ridley had his best game of the season catching five of Hurts’ ten completions for 171 of Hurts’ 242 total passing yards.
Again, Hurts led the Tide in rushing attempts and while he has limitations as a passer, he continues to be dangerous runner – just dangerous enough to hurt you when the stakes are their highest.
4. Why is the running back rotation so sporadic?
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