(3) Alabama - 22, (20) Mississippi - 3
- Chris Talbott, AP Writer
October 11, 2009
OXFORD, Miss. (AP)—Alabama’s plan for containing Mississippi
quarterback Jevan Snead was pretty simple: Hit him and hit him hard.
Alabama's Cory Reamer (13) blocks a punt by Mississippi's Tyler
“We hit their quarterback just about every time in the first half and
I think it affected him,” coach Nick Saban said.
Did it ever.
The game was effectively over by halftime after the second-ranked
Crimson Tide rocked the Rebels’ leader and Alabama (6-0, 4-0
Southeastern Conference) wiped away any lingering questions about
performing against a top offense.
Snead was mentioned in the same sentence as guys like Tebow and McCoy
by Heisman Trophy handicappers before the season started. A rough
start washed away some of that luster, but Alabama took the junior
seriously after watching him rally the Rebels from far behind last
season in ‘Bama’s 24-20 win in Tuscaloosa.
“You could tell by some of the passes he was throwing” that Alabama’s
defense rattled Snead, said Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, one
of four players to intercept a pass from Snead on Saturday. “We know
what type of quarterback he is and what he is capable of. We were
trying to get some hits on him and get him rattled. We could tell
the difference in passing decision making.”
Alabama snapped Snead’s streak of 13 straight games with a touchdown
pass and held the Rebels to the lowest point total in the series since
a shutout in 1996.
The Rebels managed just 19 yards of total offense in the first half
and one first down before finishing with 212 total yards.
“This is the fastest defense if you went from 1-11 (players),” Ole
Miss coach Houston Nutt said. “From corners to safeties to linebackers
to defensive linemen, this is the best I’ve seen.”
The Crimson Tide has forced nine turnovers in two weeks after taking
just four from its first four opponents. Alabama has forced at least
one turnover a game in 28 of 33 games under Saban, averaging 1.8 per
contest in that span.
Alabama just plain roughed up Ole Miss at times, twice snatching
interceptions out of the hands of receivers.
With top-ranked Florida knocking off then-No. 4 LSU and then-No. 17
Auburn losing to Arkansas, a once wide-open SEC West is now Alabama’s
“Can we stay focused on doing the things that we need to do to
improve, to be as good as we can be?” Saban asked. “We cannot get
complacent because that is the key to the drill. The passion to want
to do it, the passion to stay with it, the passion to continue to go
through the grind, and there are numerous teams every week that have
a difficult time with that and don’t play well.”
While the Crimson Tide was able to answer some questions, the Rebels
were left with more to sort through.
Snead continued to struggle, tying his career high for interceptions
a week after throwing three in a win over Vanderbilt.
He was badly out of sync against Alabama, missing dump passes,
forgetting his footwork at times and throwing into coverage
Yet Nutt was careful to point out that the junior is not responsible
for all of his turnovers. Alabama defenders twice took apparent
catches away from wide receivers for interceptions and the pressure
was overwhelming at times. There was also a handful of drops.
“I think he knows and he’ll be the first to tell you that he can play
better,” Nutt said. “You just don’t want to turn it over. That’s been
our biggest problem.”
Nutt rebuffed reporters’ questions about an offensive regression
starting with the 16-10 loss to South Carolina. He noted Saturday’s
opponent is known for making offenses look inept.
“We ran into a real wall today,” he said.