Oct. 5, 2009
GAME 6: ALABAMA (5-0, 2-0 SEC)
VS. MISSISSIPPI (3-1, 1-1 SEC)
SATURDAY, OCT. 10 • 2:30 P.M. • CBS
VAUGHT-HEMINGWAY STADIUM (60,580) • OXFORD, MISS.
THE GAME: The third-ranked University of Alabama football team finishes a two-game Southeastern Conference road trip with a visit to Oxford, Miss., for a showdown with the No. 19 Mississippi Rebels, on Saturday, Oct. 10, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The game is scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m. on CBS with Craig Bolerjack and Steve Beuerlein calling the action. Eli Gold and Phil Savage and Barry Krauss will have the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network.
HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his third season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school’s 27th head coach on January 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 115-50-1 (.696) record as a collegiate head coach with a 24-8 (.750) mark at Alabama that includes 5-0 record this year. He captured his 100th career win and coached his 150th game as a collegiate head coach during the 2008 campaign. In 2003, Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship. Overall, Saban has coached three conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC and 2003 SEC) and nine of his 12 teams have played in post-season bowl games with Tide appearing in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Saban is one of two (Bob Stoops) current Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to coach for at least 10 years and not suffer a losing season.
RANKINGS: Alabama was ranked fifth in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ preseason polls. It was the highest preseason ranking for the Tide since the 2000 season when they opened at No. 3. Since the preseason poll, the Tide has moved up to No. 3 after an Oklahoma loss on the opening weekend and a week three loss for Southern California. The Crimson Tide remained No. 3 in both polls this week. UA also garnered five first-place votes in the AP poll and one in the coaches poll. The Rebels enter the game ranked 20th in the AP poll and 16th in the coaches.
MISSISSIPPI SERIES: Alabama leads the Mississippi series 45-9-2 with five straight wins while winning 22-of-24 games dating back to the 1977 season. The Crimson Tide is 12-8-1 in game played in the state of Mississippi, including a 5-3 mark in Oxford. Alabama has won its last two trips to Oxford and both games were decided on the final play of the game. Nick Saban is 6-1 in his career against the Rebels, including a 2-0 mark at Alabama. Mississippi head coach Houston Nutt is 5-6 in his career against Alabama, including a 5-5 record as head coach at Arkansas from 1998-2007.
CLOSE CALLS: Alabama owns a five-game winning streak over Mississippi, but the last four wins have been decided by 13 total points. In fact, the last four games have gone down to the wire, with two games decided on the game’s final play and the other two games in the final minute. In 2005, Alabama’s Jamie Christensen drilled a 31-yard field as time expired to lift the Tide to a 13-10 win over the Rebels in Oxford. In 2006, John Parker Wilson’s 2-yard pass to LeRon McClain gave Alabama a 26-23 overtime win in Tuscaloosa. In 2007, Alabama held a 27-24 in the final minutes and watched the Rebels move the ball to a first down at the UA 33-yard line. Rashad Johnson recorded sack (-1 yard) on first down and after an incomplete pass, Brandon Deaderick added another sack (-11 yards) on third and 11. Seth Adams’ fourth-down pass fell incomplete and Alabama ran off the final seven seconds. Last year, Mississippi drove into Alabama territory in the final three minutes but Jevan Snead’s fourth down pass from the Tide 45-yard line fell incomplete and Alabama was able to run off the final 1:07 of the game to secure another win.
MISSISSIPPI NATIVES: The Alabama roster contains eight players from Mississippi, including running back Terry Grant (Lumberton), injured running back Jeramie Griffin (Batesville), wide receiver Mike McCoy (Rankin), wide receiver Kevin Norwood (D’Iberville), offensive lineman Anthony Steen, defensive lineman Milton Talbert (Hattiesburg), defensive back Justin Woodall (Oxford) and defensive back Rod Woodson (Olive Branch).
SABAN VS. MISSISSIPPI: Alabama head coach Nick Saban owns a 6-1 record in his career against Mississippi. He is 2-0 at Alabama following last year’s 24-20 win in Tuscaloosa. Saban also posted a 4-1 record against the Rebels while at LSU from 2000-04. His lone loss to the Rebels came on Oct. 27, 2001, as Mississippi posted a 35-24 win in Baton Rouge.
TIDE-REBELS ON TV: Alabama and Mississippi will play the 22nd televised game in series history this weekend. The Crimson Tide owns a 17-4 record in the previous 21 TV games. The 2009 season will mark the sixth time CBS Sports has televised the Alabama-Mississippi game. The network also aired the Crimson Tide and Rebels in 1999, 2001, 2005, 2006 and 2008. Alabama is 5-0 against Mississippi on CBS.
BEATING THE BEST: Alabama is 4-2 against the Associated Press Top 25 over the last two seasons. The Crimson Tide’s 34-24 win over Virginia Tech in the season opener was the Tide’s third win over a top-10 team dating back to the start of the 2008 season.
Alabama vs. Top 25 Opponents (since the start of the 2008 season)
Date Team Rank Result
Aug. 30, 2008 vs. Clemson 9 W, 34-10
Sept. 27, 2008 at Georgia 3 W, 41-30
Nov. 8, 2008 at LSU 15 W, 27-21 (OT)
Dec. 6, 2008 vs. Florida 2 L, 31-20
Jan. 2, 2009 vs. Utah 7 L, 31-17
Sept. 5, 3009 vs. Virginia Tech 7 W, 34-24
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Alabama plays its second true road game of the 2009 season this week at Mississippi. The Crimson Tide has won five straight road games after their 38-20 win at Kentucky last week. UA was a perfect 4-0 on the road last season with wins at Arkansas (49-15), Georgia (41-30), Tennessee (29-9) and LSU (27-21 OT). Alabama’s last road loss was a 17-10 decision at Auburn on Nov. 24, 2007. During that time the Crimson Tide is 3-2 in neutral site games with wins over Colorado (2007 Independence Bowl, 30-24), Clemson (Georgia Dome, 34-10) and the 2009 season-opening win over Virginia Tec in the Georgia Dome (34-24). UA’s losses in neutral-site games were to Florida (SEC Championship Game) and Utah (Sugar Bowl).
NEXT GAME: Alabama returns home for a three-game homestand against the likes of South Carolina, Tennessee and LSU. The Gamecocks get things started on Saturday, Oct. 17. It will be Homecoming Saturday at the Capstone where the Crimson Tide boasts a 74-13-1 record, including seven straight wins. Alabama owns an 11-2 edge in the all-time series with USC, including a 7-1 mark in Tuscaloosa. UA won 37-14 in its last meeting with the Gamecocks in Columbia in 2005, but Carolina won the last meeting in Tuscaloosa, 20-3, in 2004.