(1) Alabama - 38, (11) Mississippi State - 7
October 27, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Top-ranked Alabama's offense started the game with three
consecutive touchdown drives and the Crimson Tide defense produced another
dominant performance as the Crimson Tide (8-0 overall; 5-0 in the Southeastern
Conference) methodically defeated 11th-ranked Mississippi State (7-1 overall;
3-1 SEC), 38-7, Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
T.J. Yeldon #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes upfield against the
Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Photo Credit - Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron had a typically efficient performance, running
his stretch of passes thrown without an interception to a school-record 262 as
he passed for 208 yards and two touchdowns while completing 16 of 23 pass
attempts to spark the Crimson Tide offense. Alabama's defense held Mississippi
State to 256 yards of total offense and kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard
until the reserves allowed a late score as Alabama built a 24-0 halftime lead
that reached 38-0 in the late stages.
The Alabama defense was led by safety Vinnie Sunseri's career-best eight tackles.
Linebacker C.J. Mosley had seven tackles, defensive back Nick Perry had five
stops and the Alabama defense produced one quarterback sack, three tackles for
loss (for 23 yards), two forced fumbles, one interception and five pass breakups.
Alabama opened the game with a touchdown march of 59 yard in nine plays
highlighted by a 14-yard pass from McCarron to wide receiver Kevin Norwood
and rushes of 10 and 11 yards by running back T.J. Yeldon, the 11-yarder
accounting for the game's first touchdown with 10:28 left in the first quarter.
Placekicker Jeremy Shelley's conversion kick gave Alabama a 7-0 lead with 10:28
left in the first quarter.
State responded quickly as Ladarius Perkins returned the ensuing kickoff for 33
yards to set up the Bulldogs at their 41-yard line. State moved to the Tide 47
when quarterback Tyler Russell converted a third-and-12 situation into a 31-yard
completion on a pass to receiver Chris Smith at the Alabama 16. The drive
stalled at the Alabama 14 and State placekicker Devon Bell attempted a 31-yard
field goal that was blocked by Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.
The Tide extended the early lead quickly after that when McCarron connected
with Kenny Bell on a deep fade pattern near the left sideline. Bell had beaten
MSU cornerback Johnthan Banks on the play and raced untouched to the end zone
on a 57-yard scoring play. Shelley's point-after gave Alabama a 14-0 lead with
3:27 left in the first quarter.
After forcing an MSU punt, Alabama took its third possession of the game to its
third touchdown of the night. The Tide marched 73 yards in eight plays with a
nine-yard pass from McCarron to tight end Michael Williams capping the drive.
The march was jump-started by a pair of 15-yard penalties on MSU on the punt,
one an interference with a fair catch call and the second an unsportsmanlike
conduct penalty. Those miscues moved the starting point for the Alabama offense
to the Tide 42. From there, Yeldon ran for 12 and three yards on successive
plays before a 25-yard pass from McCarron to Amari Cooper that reached the
Bulldog 11. After a two-yard run by Eddie Lacy and an incomplete pass, McCarron
hit a wide open Williams for the score to give Alabama a 21-0 lead following
Shelley's conversion kick with 13:33 left in the second quarter.
Late in the second period, Alabama extended the lead to 24-0 following a State
punt. The drive started at the Alabama 47 and was indirectly set up by a
career-long 61-yard punt by Cody Mandell that pinned State at its own six-yard
line before the Tide defense held. A nine-yard pass from McCarron to Williams
and a 22-yard connection by McCarron to Christion Jones reached the State 22.
Another pass to Williams gained six yards, but the drive stalled at the State
15 before two plays lost a yard to set up a 34-yard field goal by Shelley with
52 seconds left in the half.
Alabama's first possession of the second half ended in a punt, a 34-yarder by
Mandell that was downed at the State two-yard line. From there, the Bulldogs
embarked on the longest drive sustained this season against the Alabama defense.
State marched 97 yards in 16 plays to the brink of the Alabama end zone, only
to be denied a touchdown by the Tide defense. Russell keyed the march with a
28-yard pass to Chris Smith to the Alabama 13. After a 14-yard pass to Smith
reached the Alabama four-yard line, Perkins rushed for two yards and Russell
gained one to the Tide one-yard line. After a Perkins rush was stopped for no
gain, Russell rolled to his right under pressure by Crimson Tide defensive
lineman D. J. Pettway and threw a pass into the end zone that was intercepted
by safety Robert Lester to end the scoring threat with 2:47 left in the third
quarter. That negated a drive that consumed 8:23 of the clock.
The Tide responded by going to the ground game on the next possession. Yeldon
opened the drive with a 30-yard run to the 50 in which he evaded several
tacklers before reaching midfield. After a Yeldon rush for four yards and
a sack of McCarron lost eight, McCarron passed to Lacy for 12 yards to set
up a fourth-and-two at the State 46, from where Mandell's short punt bounced
off of State's Deontae Skinner at the Bulldog 27.
With McCarron in the locker room with the trainers, backup quarterback Blake
Sims took over the direction of the Alabama offense following the turnover.
He rushed for three yards on the first play to the State 24 before running
back Cyrus Jones carried for two more to the State 22. A false start penalty
forced Alabama into a third-and-nine situation at the State 27. Phillip Ely
then entered at quarterback and, on his first snap, tossed a short pass to
Lacy out of the backfield and Lacy took it untouched for 27 yards to the end
zone for a touchdown, the first touchdown pass of Ely's career. Shelley's
point-after kick gave Alabama a 31-0 lead with 13:06 remaining in the fourth
Midway through the fourth quarter Alabama extended the lead to 38-0 when
running back Kenyan Drake scored on a three-yard run to cap a 43-yard drive
following a State fumble. State was able to get on the board with 4:39 left
on a two-yard pass from reserve quarterback Dak Prescott to wide receiver
Robert Johnson, capping a 63-yard drive in nine plays for the final 38-7 margin.