Rick Cleveland summarizes this game very aptly:
Final score: No. 4 Bama 24, State 7.
The nearby rivals have now played 95 times. Alabama has won 74. State has won 18. and there have been three ties. Over the last four seasons, the Crimson Tide has outscored State 117-27.
The big question coming in was simply this: How much of a hangover would Alabama have from the bruising, emotionally draining 9-6 loss to No. 1-ranked LSU a week earlier?
The answer: Not nearly enough of one.
Alabama’s defense was, in a word, suffocating. Russell – or State’s two other quarterbacks – often would dodge one Bama brute only to have two or three or more taking dead aim at him.
This game turned out about like I thought and, as Cleveland points out, like the most recent games in this series. All of these games tend to be close for a while, though the game is never really in doubt.
Here are some rambling bullet-points about Bama-MSU in hindsight:
** The Bama defense is just plain fun to watch.
** By my unofficial count, the Bama D has knocked-out or sent to the sidelines Tyler Wilson, John Brantley, Larry Smith, Jarrett Lee and Chris Relf. Randall Mackey also looked like he would’ve paid money to be taken out.
** Jesse Williams hurt his shoulder, but there was no drop off with Quentin Dial, who also had a sack.
** The Tide had a season high five sacks and now have 23 for the year.
** Barrett Jones couldn’t go at left tackle, but Alfred McCullough stepped in and played well. In fact, the offensive line as a whole appeared to play well.
** But the same can’t be said for AJ McCarron and the wide receiving corps. McCarron had decent numbers, but channeled his inner JPW on the near-pick six. I think we can officially take the tight end out route out of the play book for a while.
** The receiving group doesn’t have a big time play maker. That cost us against LSU and kept this game closer than it had to be. If we make it to the SECCG, or beyond, it’ll likely cost us there, too.
** The kicking game…what can I say?
** It seemed to me that Dan Mullen was a little too cute with his quarterback rotation. It seemed Mullen would swap QBs (usually from Tyler Russell to Relf) when the Bulldogs had a bit of momentum on offense.
** I’ve already seen enough of the rugby style punt. It works so well. Can we now move on to the next hot thing?
** More Trent please.
Again, as Cleveland said, this game turned out like most of the others. I’ll take it. Roll Tide!