Oct. 10, 2009
AP Photo Gallery
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - Mark Ingram rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown and No. 3 Alabama stuffed No. 20 Mississippi 22-3 on Saturday.
Jevan Snead threw four interceptions for Ole Miss (3-2, 1-2 SEC), tying a career high, and the Crimson Tide (6-0, 4-0) scored after a blocked punt and a fumble recovery on a punt return.
Leigh Tiffin hit five short field goals, passing his father Van Tiffin on the Crimson Tide career list for third place in career scoring.
Snead completed 11 of 34 passes for 140 yards. Twice Alabama defenders ripped the ball away from Ole Miss receivers who were bobbling it.
The Crimson Tide 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 half. 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.
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 35:30.
The defense was especially good after turnovers. The Rebels forced a field goal with a goal-line stand after Cory 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 Mark Ingram score untouched from 36 yards out on fourth and 1 with 55 seconds left in the half to make it 16-0.
The defense rallied and came up big again late in the third quarter after Reamer stripped Dexter McCluster on a punt return and recovered the fumble, giving Alabama the ball at the Ole Miss 40. Jonathan Cornell and Kentrell Lockett sacked McElroy for an 11-yard loss on first down, but Ingram picked up the Tide's third fourth-down conversion, then carried the ball to the 3 with a 24-yard run.
The Rebels, however, forced the Tide back a yard on the next three plays before Kiffin'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.
The Crimson Tide showed why it's among the nation's best defenses yet again. Alabama has now held four of six opponents under 88 yards in the first half. The previous low came against North Texas at 62.
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.
On the flip side, things have gone terribly wrong for the Rebels. They were ranked as high as No. 4, their highest ranking since 1970, but have looked bad on offense for much of the season and could drop out of the poll this week.
Tiffin hit field goals of 25, 21, 22, 21 and 31, one short of the single-game school record.