Nov. 13, 2010
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- Behind an explosive offensive attack and tough defensive effort, the No. 12 Alabama football team defeated the No. 19 Mississippi State Bulldogs, 30-10, before a crowd of 101,821 at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide offense scored three touchdowns on plays covering 45, 56 and 77 yards. Senior quarterback Greg McElroy finished the night 12-of-18 for 227 yards and two touchdowns in three quarters of work while junior running back Mark Ingram racked up 130 total yards of offense (77 receiving, 53 rushing), including a career- long 78-yard touchdown reception.
Junior wide receiver Marquis Maze had 89 yards on five receptions and one touchdown while junior wideout Julio Jones had 97 total yards, including a 56-yard touchdown run. Alabama totaled 452 yards on the night compared to just 289 for Mississippi State. Crimson Tide sophomore safety Robert Lester had two interceptions, giving him a team-high total of seven on the year
"I was pleased with the way our team played today," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "I was pleased with how anxious they were to bounce back and compete, to be relentless in the game, to try to be physical and to establish the kind of identity for our team that we want to have in terms of intensity, toughness, ability to execute and the focus we need to have. I was pleased with the way we did that."
After receiving the opening kickoff, Alabama marched 59 yards in nine plays before a 36-yard Jeremy Shelley field goal gave the Crimson Tide a 3-0 lead. On the ensuing Mississippi State possession, Lester notched the first of his two interceptions, picking off a Chris Relf pass at the Alabama six-yard line. Following the interception, the Bulldogs forced a Crimson Tide punt and drove 32 yards in six plays, before kicking a 24-yard field goal to tie the game.
Alabama answered right back with a field goal of its own, a 45-yard effort from freshman Cade Foster, to take a 6-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. From there, both teams exchanged punts at the outset of the second quarter before the Alabama offense took off.
McElroy connected with Maze from 45 yards out, capping a five play, 75-yard drive that gave the Crimson Tide a 13-3 lead. Following a Mississippi State punt, McElroy hooked up with Ingram on a 78-yard screen pass to give Alabama a 20-3 lead. The play, which came immediately after a negated 81-yard punt return for a touchdown by Maze, was the longest of Ingram's career and second-longest of McElroy's career.
After Mississippi State punted to start the second half, Alabama needed just one play to find the end zone again, a career-long 56-yard run by Jones that gave the Crimson Tide a 27-3 lead at the 10:35 mark of the third quarter.
The Alabama defense allowed only its second touchdown at home this season to the Bulldogs midway through the fourth quarter before a 28-yard Jeremy Shelley field goal closed out the scoring.
"I thought we did a really good job of stopping the run and not allowing them, until the last drive, many big plays which was the real key to it," Saban said. "We tackled pretty well on defense. We played the option responsibilities pretty well. I was really pleased with what we were able to do there. We threw the ball effectively on offense."
The Alabama defense had a season-high five sacks, led by sophomore defensive lineman Damion Square who had two. The Crimson Tide registered six tackles for a loss that resulted in minus 27 yards for Mississippi State. Freshman linebacker C.J. Mosley totaled a career-high 12 tackles while junior defensive back Mark Barron added 11.
Alabama returns to action against Georgia State on Thursday, Nov. 18, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game is slated for a 6 p.m. (CST) kickoff and will be televised by ESPNU.