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
"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
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
"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
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
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
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
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,"