BamaInsider - No. 5 Alabama rebounds with dominant win over Mississippi State
football Edit

No. 5 Alabama rebounds with dominant win over Mississippi State

STARKVILLE, Miss. — A clattering of cowbells did little to rattle No. 5 Alabama’s focus Saturday evening. Already awoken by a different sea of maroon a week earlier, the Crimson Tide never appeared at risk of succumbing to another upset during a 49-9 rout of Mississippi State.

During his Thursday radio show, Nick Saban challenged his players, telling them that they were “no longer viewed as an elite team” following last week’s loss to Texas A&M. While Alabama (6-1, 3-1 in the SEC) wasn’t perfect Saturday, it took significant steps toward returning to that elite status against Mississippi State (3-3, 1-2). The victory extended the Tide’s winning streak to 14 games over the Bulldogs.

"There’s a lot of culture in the program here that our fans, our former players, people in the organization, people in the university, expect us to compete at a certain level," Saban said following the game. "We call it the ‘Bama Standard, so I thought that's we did that. We did it for 60 minutes.”

Bryce Young rebounded from his first career loss, completing 20 of 28 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Meanwhile, an Alabama receiving corps plagued by drops a week ago proved far more dependable on the night.

Roydell Williams led the Tide with 78 rushing yards on 11 carries. Brian Robinson Jr. tallied 73 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries while also recording five receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown.

Alabama outgained Mississippi State 543-299. The Tide held the Bulldogs’ offense to -1 yard on the ground, marking the first time it has limited its opponent to negative rushing yards since 2014 when Western Carolina tallied -8 yards.

Alabama’s defense bent at times but never broke. Mississippi State’s Air Raid offense zipped down the field on its opening possession only to leave the field in disappointment as Tide defensive back Josh Jobe intercepted a third-down pass from Will Rodgers at the 29-yard line. The Bulldogs drove into Alabama territory four more times throughout the game but failed to find the end zone on any of those occasions, settling for three field goals and an interception.

Jordan Battle recorded Alabama’s first defensive touchdown of the season when he returned an interception 40 yards for a score in the first quarter. Ranging to his right on the play, the safety ranged to his right, highpointing a lofted pass from Rogers before returning it down the sideline, trucking the quarterback at the goal line. Battle picked off Rogers again in the fourth quarter.

Rogers took several big hits on the night, as Alabama’s defense sacked him times, four of those coming at the hands of Will Anderson Jr.

Alabama will host Tennessee next Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.

Offensive MVP — John Metchie III 

Johne Metchie III eclipsed the century mark for the first time this season, hauling in seven receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown. The junior receiver put the Tide on the scoreboard first when he found the end zone from 46-yards out on a third-down pass from Young. He later delivered a crucial block on Jameson Williams’ 75-yard touchdown reception to begin the third quarter. Five of Metchie's receptions went for first downs, including two clutch third-down grabs.

Metchie’s big night came after he recorded a team-high three drops during last week’s loss to Texas A&M. He did not record a drop on eight targets against Mississippi State.

Young and Robinson both deserve recognition on the night. However, it was Metchie who shined brightest during the brief time Saturday’s game was still competitive.

Defensive MVP — Will Anderson Jr.  

At times this season, older Alabama fans have grimaced when Anderson has drawn comparisons to former Crimson Tide great Derrick Thomas, perhaps the best outside linebacker in college football history. Saturday, the sophomore did something only previously accomplished by the Hall of Famer in an Alabama uniform.

Anderson’s four sacks marked the Tide’s biggest single-game tally since Thomas recorded a school-record five against Texas A&M in 1988. Thomas also recorded four sacks against Kentucky earlier that season. He and Anderson are joined by Leroy Cook as the only Alabama players to record at least four sacks in a single game.

Anderson finished Saturday with six total stops and a pass breakup to go with his four sacks. The sophomore currently has seven sacks in as many games this year. He recorded seven sacks over 13 games last season.

Alabama Crimson Tide receiver John Metchie III runs away from Mississippi State defenders. Photo | Getty Images
Alabama Crimson Tide receiver John Metchie III runs away from Mississippi State defenders. Photo | Getty Images