Alabama Rebounds with Workmanlike 23-10 Win Over Ole Miss
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A week ago, 'Bama fans were left wondering what had happened to their boys, the returning national champion and SEC powerhouse, after the 35-21 thrashing at the hands of South Carolina.
That feeling is so last week. The important thing to the over 100,000 fans at Bryant-Denny Saturday evening was that the Tide was back on the winning side.
In what can be described as a somewhat ho-hum performance overall, especially on offensive, the No. 8-ranked Crimson Tide beat the Ole Miss Rebels, 23-10.
The game was not even as close as the final score indicated. 'Bama led early, 13-0, as the Tide's defense stifled Rebel QB Jeremiah Masoli, and the team stymied the visitors before a homecoming crowd in Tuscaloosa who left the stadium seemingly relieved that their team emerged victorious.
The sole touchdown of the first half came on a third and goal pass play when Greg McElroy found Preston Dial wide open on an up and in route when three Rebel defenders converged on Marquis Maze.
Julio Jones caught a pass for eight yards before re-injuring his surgically repaired hand and not playing most of the game.
Unlike last week's loss against South Carolina, the Tide special teams performed admirably, with long distance kicker Cade Foster connecting on a career long 49 yarder and finishing the first half with a nice 44 yarder to put the Tide up 16-3 going into the locker room. Jeremy Shelley also added a 19 yarder in the second quarter but missed from 43 late in the game.
The Rebel field goal came after a Tide fumble after a punt gave them good field position, but the home team's defense stopped the visitors and forced the attempt.
The highlight of the evening on the offensive side came on the second possession of the second half, a McElroy to Richardson screen pass that went for 85 yards and six points.
McElroy, who threw for 219 yards and his 2 touchdowns, passed Mike Shula for eighth place in Alabama quarterback history passing yardage.
Greg was also torched for six sacks on the night. In addition, Alabama found itself out-rushed by the Rebel backfield as Ingram and Richardson combined for only 105 rushing yards.
Ole Miss, coming into the game as the least penalized team in the SEC, was flagged 12 times for 108 yards and seemed to be outclassed offensively at times. Both teams were guilty of sloppy play throughout the evening.
At the point in the third quarter when Richardson caught his screen pass for the touchdown, that one play alone was two yards more than the Rebel offense had garnered up to that point in the game.
But then, starting at their own 29, Masoli then led the Rebels on their best drive of the night, highlighted by a run by the former Oregon Duck of 26 yards and several key passes. Melvin Harris finished it off with a 15 yard reception from Masoli that made the score 23-10.
It was as close as the Rebels would get.
Several swapped punts later, with less than five minutes to play, Masoli found one of his passes tipped twice only to end up in the hands of Mark Barron at the Rebel 37. That possession led to Shelly's miss with 2:18 left.
Alabama ran its record to 6-1 (3-1 in the SEC), while Ole Miss fell to 3-3 (1-2) and out of a tie for second place in the SEC Western Division.
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