Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Football Game Two Notes: Ole Miss


Alabama seeks first 2-0 start since 1999 season against the Rebels
Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Kenneth Darby
Kenneth Darby

Helmet Ole Miss

Helmet Alabama

Ole Miss Rebels (0-1, 0-0) at
Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0, 0-0)

September 11, 2004 • 8:05 p.m. CST (ESPN2)
Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL



  • Alabama seeks its first 2-0 start since the 1999 season
  • Bama is 45-20-2 in SEC openers
  • Alabama has won its last 12 SEC openers
  • The 2004 season marks the 11th time Alabama has opened the SEC season with Ole Miss
  • The last time UA opened with Ole Miss was 1983, which also happened to be the playing debut of freshman quarterback Mike Shula
  • Alabama has won six straight home games against Ole Miss
  • Ole Miss has never beaten Alabama two years in a row
  • Ray Hudson and Kenneth Darby each ran for 111 yards in the Utah State game
  • Simeon and Tim Castille each scored a touchdown the Utah State game, marking the first time since 1914 that brothers had scored in the same game for Alabama
  • UA is 4-1 (.800) all-time on Sept. 11th
  • This would be coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's 91st birthday on Saturday


After opening the season with a 48-17 win over the Utah State Aggies last Saturday in Tuscaloosa, the Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0, 0-0 SEC) opens its Southeastern Conference schedule this weekend as they host the Ole Miss Rebels (0-1, 0-0 SEC) at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.  The game will be televised to a national cable audience by espn2 with kickoff set for 8:05 p.m. (CT).  The Crimson Tide's 48 points were the most points in the season opener since beating Cal 66-0 in 1973.  In addition, the 31 points marked the largest margin of victory in a season opener since UA beat Temple 41-3 in 1991.  Alabama played 66 players in its season opening win over Utah State, including 27 first-time players.  The list of first-time players included 10 "true" freshmen.  The Ole Miss game marks the 2004 SEC opener for both teams.  Alabama has won 12 straight SEC openers dating back to a 35-0 loss at Florida in 1991.  Handling the announcing duties for the espn2 telecast are Eric Collins (play-by-play), 1989 Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware (color) and Jimmy Dykes (sidelines).  The game will also be shown on a tape-delayed basis throughout the state of Alabama with David Crane (play-by-play) and Chris Stewart (color) calling the action.  Fans can also tune to the 80-plus station Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold (play-by-play), Kenny Stabler (color analyst) and Tom Roberts (sidelines) describing the action. 


Coach Mike Shula (5-9, .357) begins his sophomore season as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Shula compiled a 4-9 (.308) record in his rookie season at Alabama last year against the nation's most difficult schedule.  The Crimson Tide lost to both teams (Oklahoma and LSU) that played in the BCS National Championship game last season.  Shula previously served as an assistant coach in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Chicago and Miami.  A three-year letterman at Alabama (1984-86), Shula was a two-time All-SEC selection and threw for over 2,000 yards as a junior (1985), leading Alabama to dramatic come-from-behind wins over Georgia and Auburn.  Ole Miss' David Cutcliffe has compiled a 40-23 (.635) record in six seasons as the Rebels head coach.  Prior to his first head coaching job at Ole Miss, Cutcliffe served as an assistant coach and eventually offensive coordinator at Tennessee (1982-98).  He is a 1976 graduate of The University of Alabama.


Alabama returns to action next Saturday, Sept 18 as they play host to the Western Carolina Catamounts here at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The game will kickoff at 6 p.m. (CT).  The University of Alabama will honor coach Paul Bryant's last national championship in a halftime ceremony.  The 1979 squad was the only Bryant-coached team to post an undefeated 12-0 season following its 24-9 Sugar Bowl win over Arkansas on Jan. 1, 1980.


*Alabama dressed 101 players for the 2004 season opener. 

*Of the 101 players that dressed for the Utah State game, a total of 57 had never played in a game for the Crimson Tide.

*Alabama's opening day depth chart showed that 23 of the 44 players listed had never played in a game before the season opener.

*A total of 27 players made their debut against Utah State, including 10 "true" freshmen.

*Coach Shula mentioned throughout the preseason that as many as 10 "true" freshmen could see playing time in 2004.

*That is a contrast to last season, when only five `"true freshmen" played for the Crimson Tide.


Player                   Position
Justin Britt             Right Defensive Tackle
Keith Brown              Receiver
Marcus Carter            Strong Safety
Simeon Castille          Cornerback
Trent Davidson           Special Teams
DJ Hall                  Receiver
Aaron Johns              Tailback
Ezekial Knight           Receiver
Travis Robinson          Cornerback
Marcel Stamps            Special Teams


Player                   Position
Justin Ballard           Free Safety
Matt Caddell             Receiver
Chris Capps              Left Tackle
Jamie Christensen        Kicker
Matt Collins             Special Teams
Jeffrey Dukes            Strong Safety
Wallace Gilberry         Left Defensive Tackle
Eric Gray                Cornerback
Rudy Griffin             Left Defensive Tackle
Marc Guillon             Quarterback
Drew Lane                Snapper
Justin Moon              Right Guard
Matt Ragland             Split End
Mark Sanders             Right Tackle
Keith Saunders           Left Defensive End
Chris Turner             Left Defensive End
Demarcus Waldrop         Weak Linebacker


*The Crimson Tide's opening day lineup contained four first-time starters against Utah State.

*On offense, Alabama employed two first-time starters, including Kyle Tatum (RT) and Tyrone Prothro (WR).

*On defense two more players made their first career starts, including junior Rudy Griffin (LDT) and junior Juke King (SLB).

*King subbed for the injured preseason All-American DeMeco Ryans, who saw limited action while still trying to completely heal from a preseason ankle sprain.

*Senior Evan Mathis made his 35th consecutive start for Alabama the longest streak on the team, but his first start at left guard, a switch he made this spring.  Mathis had started the last three seasons at right tackle.

*The right tackle spot is now anchored by Tatum, who switched from the defensive line to the offensive line this spring.

*Junior Charlie Peprah made his 15th consecutive start against Utah State, but also had a new position.  Peprah moved from cornerback to strong safety in the spring.

*Two start streaks ended against Utah State as Ryans and Anthony Bryant were not in the starting lineup. 

*Ryans was nursing an ankle injury suffered on Aug. 21 and saw limited action as a backup linebacker, which ended his streak of 14 consecutive starts for the Tide. 

*Bryant lost his starting job to Griffin in the preseason and saw his streak end at 13 consecutive starts.

*Seniors Ray Hudson (TB) and Chris James (LCB) have played more games than anyone on the Alabama team without at least one career start.  Hudson and James have played in 37 career games for Alabama, but neither has ever started a game.

*Senior Carlos Andrews (FS) has played in 38 games in his Alabama career, but has started only one game.


Players                  Streak
Evan Mathis              35
Roman Harper             15
Charlie Peprah           15
Anthony Madison          14
Mark Anderson             6
Jeremy Clark              6
Brodie Croyle             6
JB Closner                5


*Freshman cornerback Simeon Castille and sophomore fullback Tim Castille both scored touchdowns in the Crimson Tide's season opening win over Utah State. 

*Simeon scored his first collegiate touchdown with a 31-yard interception return on the second play of the third quarter to give Alabama a 24-10 lead. 

*Tim added a one-yard run in the fourth quarter to extend Alabama's lead to 41-17 with just under 13 minutes to play.

*When the elder Castille crossed the goal-line it sent Alabama football historians and researchers scurrying to find the last time, if ever, two brothers had scored in the same game.

*After some exhaustive research, the Castille's are the first set of brothers to score touchdowns in the modern era (since 1933) of Alabama, but not the first set brothers to accomplish the feat in the Crimson Tide's long and storied football history. 

*The feat has now actually happened six times.

*Adrian and Hargrove "Hog" VandeGraaff were the first brothers to score a touchdown in the same game accomplishing the feat in the Crimson Tide's 47-5 win over Birmingham College on Oct. 7, 1911.  Adrian scored four TDs and Hargrove added one TD in the win.

*The duo did it again in the Crimson Tide's 22-0 win over Tulane on Nov. 11, 1911, scoring one TD each in the win. 

*Adrian and Hargrove combined for three TDs in the Crimson Tide's 52-0 win over Marion on Sept. 28, 1912 as "Hog" scored two and Adrian added one score.

*Hargrove "Hog" and his younger brother W. T. "Bully" VandeGraff scored one TD each in the Crimson Tide's 81-0 win over Birmingham College on Oct. 4, 1913.

*Bully VandeGraaff became the Crimson Tide's first All-American in 1915, earning First-Team honors from the Walter Camp Foundation.

*Two more brothers added their names to list in 1914 as Bill and Griff Harsh combined for four TDs in the Crimson Tide's 58-0 win over Tulane on Oct. 31, 1914.  Bill accounted for three TDs and Griff added one.


*Senior Ray Hudson (Bonifay, Fla.) and sophomore Kenneth Darby (Huntsville) each ran for 100 yards in the 2004 season opener against Utah State.

*Hudson ran 16 times for 111 yards and one TD in the Crimson Tide's 48-17 win. 

*It was the first 100-yard rushing game in his four-year career with the Crimson Tide. 

*Hudson's seven-yard touchdown run with just over four minutes left in the game was his first TD for Alabama since the 2003 Tennessee game.

*Darby eclipsed the 100-yard mark with 11 carries for 111 yards and one TD in the win over the Aggies.

*He scored his first collegiate touchdown with a 29-yard run to give Alabama a 17-7 lead with 5:47 left in the second quarter.

*In the process, Darby becomes the first running back from the state of Alabama to rush for 100 yards for the Crimson Tide since Tuscaloosa native Dennis Riddle ran for 131 yards in a 24-23 win over Auburn on Nov. 23, 1996 (a span of 86 games).

*Another Alabama native, Tyler Watts (Pelham) had three consecutive 100-yard rushing games against South Carolina, UTEP and Ole Miss during the 2001 season, but Watts was the Tide's starting quarterback.

*Hudson and Darby became the first Alabama duo to rush for 100 yards in the same game since Shaud Williams (131) and Santonio Beard (109) combined for 240 rushing yards in a 31-0 win at LSU on Nov. 16, 2002.

*Hudson and Darby are the first duo to run for 100 yards in a season opener at Alabama.


*For just the second time in school history, Alabama has a trio of brothers have played in the same game.

*The Britt brothers (Wesley, Taylor and Justin) form the first trio of brothers to play football on the same team at Alabama since the VandeGraaff (Adrian, Hargrove and W.T.) brothers all played together in 1912.

*All three of the Britt brothers saw action in the win over Utah State in the 2004 season opener.  Senior left tackle Wesley Britt started and played 64 snaps on the offensive line.  Junior left guard Taylor Britt played three snaps on the offensive line.  True freshman defensive tackle Justin Britt made his Alabama debut against the Aggies and played 17 snaps on the defensive line.

*The VandeGraff brothers made their playing debut together on Sept. 28, 1912 in the Crimson Tide's 52-0 win over Marion Institute.  Adrian (senior), Hargrove (junior) and W.T. "Bully" (freshman) all saw action in the win, with Adrian and Hargrove scoring one touchdown each in the win.

*In addition, the Goode brothers (Kerry, Pierre and Clyde) played on the same team in 1987, but never played in the same game.  Kerry and Pierre saw action for the Crimson Tide that year, but Clyde never got in a game during the 1987 season.


Alabama improves to 85-21-3 all-time in season openers ... Alabama has won three straight season openers ... The 48 points against Utah State are the most points in a season opener since Alabama beat Cal 66-0 on Sept. 15, 1973 at Legion Field ... Alabama has scored 40 or more points in back-to-back season openers for the first time since 1941-42 ... During those two years, Alabama whipped Southwestern Louisiana 47-6 in 1941 and 54-0 in 1942 ... Utah State was the Crimson Tide's 117th different opponent ... Alabama improved to 89-28 all-time against first-time opponents ...  The win over Utah State snaps a five-game losing streak to first-time opponents here at Bryant-Denny Stadium ... The streak included losses to Central Florida (2000), UCLA (2001), Auburn (2002), Oklahoma (2003) and Northern Illinois (2003) ... Alabama improved to 18-5 all-time in night games at Bryant-Denny Stadium ... Alabama posted its 150th all-time win in the month of September ... The win over Utah State improved Alabama to 3-0 all-time on Sept. 4th ...


Alabama had two backs over 100 yards in the win over Utah State ... Senior Ray Hudson (Bonifay, Fla.) ran 16 times for 111 yards and one TD, while sophomore Kenneth Darby (Huntsville) ran 11 times for 111 yards and one TD ...Darby posted his first collegiate touchdown with a 29-yard run with 5:47 left in the first half ... Freshman receiver Keith Brown (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) had an excellent first game (4-91-1) for the Crimson Tide, as he hauled in his first career TD pass with a 57-yard reception with 12:39 left in the third quarter ... Another freshman receiver DJ Hall had three catches for 34 yards in his debut ... Matt Caddell (1-8) and Ezekial Knight (1-3) also recorded their first career pass reception against Utah State ...  Alabama scored on its first possession of the 2004 season ... The Crimson Tide was 5-for-5 in the red zone against Utah State ...Junior tight end Clint Johnston  caught his second career TD pass in the first quarter as he hauled in a 19-yard TD pass from Croyle ...


Alabama forced two turnovers in the win over Utah State ... The Crimson Tide scored 14 points off those two turnovers ... Junior free safety Roman Harper recorded his second career interception in the first quarter of tonight's game ... Harper's 27-yard return gave Alabama a first down at the Utah State 21-yard line and led to the first TD of the game ...  True freshman Simeon Castille opened the second half with a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage ... Castille's interception return marked the eighth time in Shula's 14 games that Alabama has had some form of a return for a touchdown ... Redshirt freshman Wallace Gilberry had a solid debut with four tackles, one sack and two QB pressures ...


Redshirt freshman Jamie Christensen (Norcross, Ga.) handled the kickoffs for the first time in his career and boomed five touchbacks in his nine kickoffs and two were returned ... Senior punter Bo Freelend punted six times for a 40.2 average ... Senior Brian Bostick made all eight kicks in the win, including a career-high six extra points and two field goals (28 and 32 yds) ...


Alabama leads the all-time series with Ole Miss, 40-9-2 (.804) since the first meeting in 1894.

*Ole Miss has never won back-to-back games against Alabama. 

*The Ole Miss series is the second-longest running series in the Alabama record book among active SEC teams.  The Alabama-Auburn series is the oldest series and was first contested in 1892, the first-year of football at the Capstone.

*The Crimson Tide and Rebels first met on Oct. 27, 1894 with Ole Miss taking a 6-0 win in Jackson.

*The 1894 game with Ole Miss was the ninth game in the history of Alabama football.

*Since 1977, Alabama has won 16 of the last 19 meetings with Ole Miss, including a 42-7 win in Tuscaloosa during the 2003 season.

*The home team has won the last four meetings in the series, including Ole Miss' 43-28 blowout win over Alabama last season in Oxford.

*Behind the precise passing of senior Eli Manning, the Rebels jumped out to a quick 24-0 lead and rolled to their easiest win in the series.  Manning completed 14 of 22 passes for 230 yards and three TDs and added a three-yard TD run in the victory.

*The Rebels claimed a 27-24 win over the Crimson Tide at Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium during the 2001 season.

*The game also marked the Rebels first-ever win over the Crimson Tide in Oxford and first win in the state of Mississippi since Hoppy Langley booted a fourth-quarter field goal to give Ole Miss a 10-7 win in Jackson on Sept. 11, 1976.

*Alabama has won six straight home games with Ole Miss, dating back to the 1992 season.

*In fact, Alabama's last two wins over Ole Miss here in Bryant-Denny Stadium have been one-sided as UA has won both games by a combined 87-14 margin.

*During the 2002 season, Alabama harassed Manning and the Rebels all day en route to a 42-7 win.

*In that meeting, Santonio Beard tied the Alabama single-game record with five rushing TDs in the rout.

*In 2000, Alabama posted a 45-7 win over the Rebels in what was coach Mike DuBose's last win as the Tide's head coach.

*These two SEC rivals became permanent opponents in 1992 when the league split into two divisions.

*This will be the 13th consecutive year the Crimson Tide and Rebels have met in football.

*Prior to 1992, Alabama and Ole Miss played only 10 times in a 20-year period. 

*The Crimson Tide's 19-14 win in Oxford during the 1993 season was later forfeited due to NCAA sanctions. 

*In 12 games from 1901-28, Alabama held Ole Miss to 25 total points, including 10 shutouts. The Crimson Tide defense pitched seven straight shutouts from 1915-28, outscoring the Rebels, 337-0. 

*Alabama and Ole Miss did not play a regular season game from 1945-65.

*The two teams did meet in the Jan. 1, 1964 Sugar Bowl as Alabama defeated Ole Miss 12-7 in New Orleans.  Tim Davis booted four field goals on a snowy New Year's Day for the win.  This is the only time Alabama has played another SEC team in a bowl game.

*Alabama's 33-32 win over Ole Miss in 1969 was the first-ever prime time regular season telecast of a college football game. 


The Alabama Crimson Tide has compiled a 45-20-2 (.686) all-time record in SEC openers since the league was formed in 1933.

*Alabama's first SEC game was a scoreless tie with Ole Miss at Birmingham's Municipal Stadium (now Legion Field) on Oct. 7, 1933.

*The Crimson Tide enters the 2003 season having won 12 consecutive SEC openers, dating back to 1992.

*Alabama's current 12-game winning streak in SEC openers, includes 10 wins over Vanderbilt (1992-2001) and one win over Arkansas (2002) and Kentucky (2003).

*The 2004 season marks the second consecutive season that Alabama has played its SEC opener here in Tuscaloosa. 

*Alabama also opened its 2003 SEC schedule here at Bryant-Denny Stadium against Kentucky, marking the first time since 1992 that Alabama's first conference game was played on campus.

*Alabama is opening its conference schedule with Ole Miss for the first time since a 40-0 win on Sept. 17, 1983 here in Tuscaloosa.  In that game, Alabama freshman quarterback Mike Shula made his playing debut for the Crimson Tide.

*Alabama is 8-2 (.800) in SEC openers against Ole Miss.


Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant is Alabama's  winningest coach in terms of SEC openers. 

*From 1958-82, Bryant compiled an impressive 20-5 (.800) record in SEC openers with the Crimson Tide.

*Since 1983, Alabama has posted a 21-4 (.840) record in SEC openers, including the current school-record 11-game winning streak.

*The last Alabama coach to lose an SEC opener was Gene Stallings when the Crimson Tide dropped a 35-0 decision at Florida on Sept. 14, 1991.


*Alabama has compiled a 4-1 (.800) all-time record in games played on Sept. 11th.

Games Played on Sept. 11th

Date     Result of Game (Site)
1975     Missouri 20, Alabama 7 (Birmingham)
1982     Alabama 45, Georgia Tech 0 (Atlanta)
1993     Alabama 17, Vanderbilt 6 (Nashville)
1997     Alabama 20, Vanderbilt 0 (Nashville)
1999     Alabama 37, Houston 10 (Birmingham)