Bama Rolls Over Rebels - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Carrie Anderson

Bama Rolls Over Rebels

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - No. 3 Alabama is positively old-fashioned.

Other teams may have their shiny new spread offenses and

pass-first mentality. The Crimson Tide just keeps getting it done

with special teams and defense.

Alabama picked off four Jevan Snead passes and scored twice

after special teams miscues to smother No. 3 Mississippi 22-3 on

Saturday.

"This was the most complete win we've had all year, in a

difficult situation," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "It's like

climbing a mountain. The higher you go the more treacherous it

gets."

Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt had won two of his last three and

three of five against Top 5 teams, giving the Rebels hope they

could re-enter the race for the Southeastern Conference Western

Division with an upset. But the Rebels (3-2, 1-2 SEC) wasted a

strong defensive performance with early offensive mistakes and

never had the kind of consistency needed to rattle one of the

nation's top defenses.

Alabama (6-0, 4-0) couldn't generate much offense against the

Rebels defense, but didn't need it. Mark Ingram rushed for 172

yards and the game's only touchdown and Leigh Tiffin hit five short

field goals, one shy of the school's single-game record.

The defense made it stand up, forcing Snead into the four

interceptions, which matched a career high. The Crimson Tide's Cory

Reamer also blocked a punt and recovered a fumble on a punt return.

Snead completed 11 of 34 passes for 140 yards, missing badly

occasionally but also suffering from dropped balls. Twice Alabama

defenders ripped the ball away from Ole Miss receivers who were

bobbling it.

"We had a couple of new wrinkles for the game and I think he

knew what we were doing," Alabama linebacker Cory Reamer said.

"But our defensive line was in his face. And that's tough for any

quarterback."

Saban said the Tide hit Snead on practically every pass attempt

in the first half and it showed in Ole Miss' production. Alabama

held the Rebels to 19 yards and one first down in the first half on

the way to a 16-0 lead and allowed them past the 50 just four times

overall.

The Rebels' offense was in complete disarray in the first 30

minutes and some of the school-record 62,657 fans booed the home

team as it ran off the field. Snead completed just 2 of 12 passes

for 14 yards with two interceptions and Alabama held the run-happy

Rebels to 5 yards on the ground.

"That was as fine a defensive performance in the first half as

I've been around," Saban said.

It would have been far worse had the Rebels defense not come up

with big play after big play despite being on the field for more

than 35 minutes.

They were especially good after turnovers. The Rebels forced a

field goal with a goal-line stand after Reamer's blocked punt gave

Alabama the ball at the 5. But with the Ole Miss offense holding

the ball for just 8:57 in the first half, Alabama used 47 plays for

237 yards to tire out the Rebels.

That helped Ingram score untouched from 36 yards out on

fourth-and-1 with 55 seconds left in the half to make it 16-0.

"The fourth-down play was a special play we have," Saban said.

"It was an unbalanced overload. We did a great job blocking and

sealing. Mark did a great job running."

The Alabama defense came up big again late in the third quarter

after Reamer stripped Dexter McCluster on a punt return and

recovered the fumble, giving the Tide the ball at the Ole Miss 40.

Ingram picked up its third fourth-down conversion, then carried the

ball to the 3 with a 24-yard run.

The Rebels, however, held the Tide to Tiffin's fourth field

goal.

After Kareem Jackson returned an interception deep into Rebels

territory in the fourth quarter, the Ole Miss defense forced a

fumble. Ole Miss defensive backs also knocked two passes away from

Julio Jones in the end zone.

"Our defense was outstanding all night," Nutt said. "They

were just playing so hard. They put us in a position to win."

Alabama has now held four of six opponents under 88 yards in the

first half.

With Auburn losing to Arkansas and LSU up against No. 1 Florida

later Saturday, the Tide has a chance to take control of what

appeared to be a very tight SEC West race.

The Rebels were ranked as high as No. 4, their highest ranking

since 1970, but have looked bad on offense for much of the season.

They could drop out of the poll this week.

The five turnovers against Alabama were more than half Ole Miss'

season total of nine entering the game.

"It's just too hard a mountain to climb when you do that,"

Nutt said.

Powered by Frankly