#8 Alabama - 23, Mississippi - 10
- Don Kausler Jr., Tuscaloosa Bureau
October 16, 2010


  Trent Richardson
Trent Richardson rushes upfield against the Ole Miss Rebels in their 23 - 10 win.
TUSCALOOSA - An Alabama football team that was a little lost is found. But the eighth-ranked Crimson Tide probably is still looking for more.

Shaking off a rare loss, the Tide found most of its mojo on defense, made an explosive play on offense and generally sparkled on special teams.

It all added up to a 23-10 homecoming victory over Ole Miss in the late, late show Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama (6-1, 3-1 in the Southeastern Conference) was coming off a 35-21 loss to South Carolina.

"The intensity was good," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "The execution was not what it needs to be, but that's something we can improve on."

The pesky Rebels (3-3, 1-2), a 21-point underdog, came into the game ranked first in the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense (37.2 ppg) and last in scoring defense (32.6).

The elements were there for a shootout, but it never materialized.

The potential also was there for a blowout, but the Tide couldn't quite break this one open. It led 23-3 in the third quarter after running back Trent Richardson raced 85 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown after catching a short pass from Greg McElroy on a third-and-13 play.

But the Rebels, who lost to Jacksonville State and Vanderbilt early in the season, kept the Tide from pulling away. Jeremiah Masoli threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Melvin Harris with 4:40 left in the third quarter to keep it close.

Credit an Alabama defense that allowed five touchdowns the previous week for returning the Tide to the winning track.

"(The defense) had the whole package tonight -- effort, focus, execution, it was all there," said Alabama junior strong safety Mark Barron, whose fourth-quarter interception sealed the victory. "And we got great results."

Senior tight end Preston Dial, who caught a 7-yard touchdown pass on the Tide's first possession, gave credit where it was due.

"The defense really gave us an opportunity to win," he said. "The offense came through when we needed to, but we have some adjustments to make, and we look forward to making them on Sunday."

Masoli completed 18 of 40 passes for 110 yards. He had one pass intercepted. The Rebels finished with 243 total yards, of which 202 came in the second half.

Alabama gained 219 of its 319 yards in the air as McElroy completed 17 of 25 passes. He was sacked four times, three fewer than a week ago, and did not have a pass intercepted.

The Rebels had the ball seven times in the first half, and Alabama's defense forced five three-and-outs.

The Tide scored a touchdown and three field goals to take a 16-3 halftime lead. The touchdown was Alabama's first on a first possession since a 62-13 victory in Week 3 at Duke.

Ole Miss scored its only points in the first half because Marquis Maze lost a fumble on a punt return, giving the Rebels the ball on Alabama's 21-yard line. That led to a 22-yard field goal by Bryson Rice, which came after Alabama had taken a 13-0 lead.

The Tide ended the half with a 44-yard field goal by Cade Foster, who also kicked a 49-yarder in the first quarter. Jeremy Shelley has a 19-yard field goal for the Tide.

The early touchdown pass to Dial came after it looked as if the Tide was going to have to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Shelley. But the Rebels were penalized for roughing the kicker, Alabama got a first down and went on to score the touchdown.

The Tide's defense dominated the first half. Ole Miss had only two first downs and 41 yards of total offense on 27 plays. The Rebels ran 15 times for 27 yards. Masoli completed only 3 of 12 passes for 14 yards.

Richardson finished with 101 yards receiving and 45 yards rushing.

"We did what we had to do to get the win," he said.

"We needed a game like this. We had a minor setback, and we needed to comeback big after the loss. We got the win tonight and will continue to work on things in practice to get better."

Alabama travels to Knoxville next Saturday to play against the Volunteers of Tennessee. The game will be televised on ESPN at 6:00pm CT.



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