Alabama Football Game Nine Notes: Mississippi State

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Tuesday, November 02, 2004



Helmet Alabama

Helmet Mississippi State

Alabama Crimson Tide (5-3, 2-3) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-5, 2-3)
November 6, 2004 • 5:30 p.m. CDT (ESPN 2)
Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, Alabama

COMPLETE GAME NOTES:

ALABAMA QUICK NOTES:

  • The Crimson Tide has won 12 straight games in Bryant-Denny Stadium against teams from the state of Mississippi, dating back to a 32-20 loss to Miss. State on Nov. 15, 1997 ...
  • Alabama leads the SEC in rushing (226.0) and time of possession (33:59) this season ...
  • UA has scored at least one rushing TD in seven of eight games this season ...
  • The Alabama defense leads the nation in total defense, passing defense and pass efficiency defense through eight games ...
  • UA has held seven straight opponents to less than 200 passing yards this season ...
  • Alabama has held five opponents to less than 200 yards of total offense this season, inclduing the last three in a row ...
  • The Crimson Tide has forced at least one tunover in all eight games this season and 13 in a row, dating back to last year ...
  • Bama has forced at least one turnover in 17 of 21 games in the Shula era ...
  • Senior punter Bo Freelend is averaging 43.7 yards per kick in his last three games, including four 50-yard punts ...

ALABAMA HOSTS MISS. STATE

After a much-needed open date, the Alabama Crimson Tide (5-3, 2-3 SEC) will be back on the gridiron this weekend as they host the Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-5, 2-3 SEC) in a nationally televised game (espn2) beginning at 5:30 p.m. (CT). The Crimson Tide opened the season with eight straight games before its only open date of the year.  Alabama has not played since a hard-fought 17-13 loss at No. 11 Tennessee on Oct. 23.  Mississippi State comes to Tuscaloosa on a bit of a roll having won its last two games, including a 38-31 upset of then No. 20 Florida in Starkville on Oct. 23.  MSU won its second straight game with a 22-7 win over Kentucky last Saturday.  The Crimson Tide suffered a third season-ending injury at Tennessee when sophomore fullback Tim Castille (Birmingham) suffered a torn ACL and LCL in the fourth quarter.  The Crimson Tide has also lost junior quarterback Brodie Croyle (Rainbow City) and senior tailback Ray Hudson (Bonifay, Fla.) to knee injuries this season.  The Alabama defense continues to lead the nation in total defense, passing defense and pass efficiency defense heading into the final three weeks of the regular season.  UA has already eclipsed last season's win total and with one more victory can become bowl eligible for the first time since a 14-13 win over Iowa State in the 2001 Independence Bowl.  Handling the broadcast duties for espn2 will be Gary Bender  (play-by-play), Bill Curry (analyst), David Norrie  (analyst) and Alex Flanigan (sideline reporter).  The game will also be televised on a tape delayed basis by the Crimson Tide Sports Network with David Crane (play-by-play) and Chris Stewart (color).  Fans can also tune to the 80-plus station Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold (play-by-play), Kenny Stabler (analyst) and Tom Roberts (sidelines) describing the action. 

THE HEAD COACHES

Coach Mike Shula (9-12, .429) is 5-3 (.625) in 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.  Mississippi State head coach Sylvester Croom (3-5, .375) is in his first season as head coach of the Bulldogs.  A native of Tuscaloosa, Croom played for the Crimson Tide from 1972-74 under legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.  After one season in the NFL, Croom was an assistant coach under Bryant (1976-82) and Ray Perkins (1983-86) before heading to the NFL.  Croom coached 17 years with Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, San Diego, Detroit and Green Bay before replacing Jackie Sherrill at Miss. State last spring. 

UP NEXT

Alabama will play its final road game of the 2004 season next Saturday, Nov. 13 as they head to Baton Rouge, La., for a game with the LSU Tigers.  The game will kickoff at 6:45 p.m. (CT) and be televised to a national cable audience by ESPN.  The LSU game will be Alabama's seventh TV appearance of the season and its first on ESPN. 

OPEN DATES

*Alabama is coming off its only open date of the 2004 season.  The Crimson Tide opened the year with eight consecutive games before its lone open date on Oct. 30.

*Alabama has three games remaining in the regular season, including Saturday's game with Miss. State.

*Since the start of SEC divisional play in 1992, Alabama is 13-3-1 (.794) following a regular-season open date.

*Alabama is 6-1 (.857) following an open date since the 1999 season, including a two-game winning streak.

UA Following an Open Date (Since 1992)

Year     Result                   
1992     Alabama 31, LSU 11
         Alabama 17, Auburn 0
1993     Alabama 17, Tenn. 17
1994     Alabama 35, LSU 17
1995     Alabama 31, Georgia 0
1996     Alabama 35, Kentucky 7
         Alabama 26, LSU 0
1997     Alabama 20, Vanderbilt 0
         Tenn. 38, Alabama 21
1998     Arkansas 42, Alabama 6
1999     Alabama 30, Ole Miss 24
2000     Alabama 45, Ole Miss 7
2001     Alabama 31, Arkansas 10
         LSU 35, Alabama 28
         Alabama 28, S. Miss 15
2002     Alabama 42, OIe Miss 7
2003     Alabama 38, Miss. State 0

OPEN DATE II

*LSU is the only opponent this season with an open date prior to the Alabama game.

*Last year, five opponents had an open date prior to their game with Alabama.

*The list of 2003 opponent with an open date prior to the Alabama game were Northern Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee, Miss. State and LSU.

*Alabama was 1-4 (.200) last year in games following an opponents open date.

KNEE INJURIES TIMES THREE

*Alabama has suffered three season-ending knee injuries this season.

*The Crimson Tide has lost its starting quarterback (Brodie Croyle), starting tailback (Ray Hudson) and starting fullback (Tim Castille) in the first eight games.

*The trio accounted for 1,574 yards and 17 TDs this season. 

*Junior quarterback Brodie Croyle suffered a season-ending injury against Western Carolina on Sept. 18.

*Croyle tore his ACL (right knee) on the Crimson Tide's first offensive possession of the third quarter.  He had successful surgery on Monday, Sept. 20, according to surgeons Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Larry Lemak.

*According to Dr. Lemak, recovery time for Croyle will be about five months, which should put him on target to return to spring practice.

*Croyle missed all of 2004 spring practice as he underwent successful surgery on Dec. 11, 2003 to repair a partially dislocated shoulder (non-throwing).

*He missed two games last season against Georgia and Southern Miss as a result of the shoulder injury and played hurt the remainder of the year.

*Croyle missed his senior year at Westbrook Christian High School when he tore the ACL (left knee) in the first quarter of his first game of the year.

*In three games this season, Croyle completed 44 of 66 passes for 534 yards and six touchdowns.  He also did not have an interception this season.

*Senior tailback Ray Hudson (Bonifay, Fla.) suffered a season-ending knee injury at Kentucky on Oct. 9.

*In six games this season, Hudson ran 92 times for 638 yards and four touchdowns.

*At the time of his injury, he was the second-leading rusher in the SEC with a 106.3 per game average.

*Hudson also ranked second in the league with 119.3 all-purpose yards per game.

*He had 18 carries for 99 yards and one touchdown at Kentucky which gave him exactly 1,000 career rushing yards in 27 SEC games.

*Hudson played in 42 career games and ran 278 times for 1,639 yards and seven touchdowns. 

*Hudson also accounted for 2,441 career all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns.

*The latest victim is sophomore Tim Castille (Birmingham), who tore his ACL and LCL in his right knee during the fourth quarter of the Alabama-Tennessee game on Oct. 23.

*Castille had surgery on Tuesday, Oct. 26th at Health South Medical Center in Birmingham Tuesday afternoon.

*"The surgery went as planned," Dr. James Andrews said.  "We repaired and reconstructed the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his right knee.  Under the normal healing process and rehabilitation, he should be ready to resume his playing career next season."

*In eight games this season, Castille was the Tide's third-leading rusher and second-leading receiver.

*Castille had 62 rushing attempts for 247 yards and a team-high six TDs this season.  He did not have a negative rushing attempt this season.

*In addition, Castille caught 14 passes for 104 yards.

PENNINGTON NOW UNDER CENTER

*Junior Spencer Pennington (Fayette) became the third different quarterback to start for Alabama this season when he made his second career start at Kentucky on Oct. 9.

*In addition, Pennington is the fourth different starting quarterback in Shula's 20 games as head coach. 

*Pennington, subbing for the injured Marc Guillon (sore back) led the Crimson Tide to a 45-17 win over the Wildcats for his first career win at the starting quarterback.

*Pennington is 2-2 (.500) in his UA career as the starting quarterback.

*The junior won his second straight start under center as the Crimson Tide beat No. 24 Southern Miss 27-3 at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Oct. 16.

*In the win, Pennington completed only four of nine passes for 72 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

*He engineered the Crimson Tide to a 45-17 win at Kentucky (Oct. 9) in his first start of the 2004 season.

*Against the Wildcats, Pennington completed seven of 11 passes for 83 yards and engineered six scoring drives, including three drives of 78 yards or longer.

*Pennington, who opened the season as the third-string quarterback, replaced Marc Guillon (Chico, Calif.) following the loss to South Carolina on Oct. 2.

*Guillon (Chico, Calif.) made two starts this season in the absence of junior Brodie Croyle (torn ACL).

*Guillon was 0-2 (.000) as the starter, losing two SEC games against Arkansas and South Carolina.

*He suffered a back injury during the week leading up to the Kentucky game and was replaced by Pennington.

*Guillon made his first career start on Sept. 25, 2004 in a 27-10 loss at Arkansas.

*Guillon took all 64 snaps under center in his debut with the Crimson Tide.

*The redshirt sophomore completed just six of 18 passes for 54 yards and threw one interception in the loss.  He also had one rushing attempt for minus one yard.

*In his second start against South Carolina (Oct. 2), Guillon completed nine of 18 passes for 63 yards and threw two interceptions before being benched in the third quarter.

*Prior to the Arkansas game, Guillon had taken just 18 snaps this season in games against Utah State and Western Carolina.

*He took 15 snaps under center against the Catamounts, leading the Crimson Tide to a pair of second-half touchdowns.

*Guillon was 5-for-7 for 71 yards and one TD in the 52-0 win.

*He made his Crimson Tide debut against Utah State on Sept. 3 and took three snaps at the end of the game, handing the ball off all three times to freshman tailback Aaron Johns.

*Croyle (Rainbow City) started the first three games of the season for Alabama before suffering a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter of the Western Carolina game on Sept. 18.

*In those three games, Croyle completed 44 of 66 passes for 534 yards and five touchdowns.  He did not have an interception in leading the Crimson Tide to a  3-0 start.

THREE QUARTERBACKS

*For the second year in a row, Alabama has used three different starting quarterbacks this season.

*Croyle (3), Pennington (2) and Guillon (2) have each started at least two games for the Crimson Tide this year.

*In fact, Alabama has used four different starting quarterbacks in Shula's 20 games as the Crimson Tide's head coach.

*Alabama also started three different quarterbacks in 2003 in Shula's first season.

*The list of starting quarterbacks last season included Croyle, Pennington and Brandon Avalos.

*Croyle started the first four games of the 2003 season before injuring his shoulder in the double-overtime loss to Arkansas (Sept. 27, 2003).

*Pennington made his first career start on Oct. 4., 2003 at Georgia.  He completed nine of 20 passes for 109 yards, with one TD and one interception before leaving the game with a shoulder injury.

*Avalos, the third-string quarterback, started the next week against Southern Miss (Oct. 11) and led UA to a 17-3 win despite just 12 passing yards.

*Prior to the 2003 season, the last time a third-team quarterback eventually started a game for Alabama was Oct. 17, 1987 when Jeff Dunn led the Crimson Tide to a 41-22 win over Tennessee at Legion Field. 

*Dunn replaced an ineffective Vince Sutton after a 13-10 loss to Memphis State the previous week (Oct. 10).  Sutton had become the starter when David Smith suffered a season-ending injury at Vanderbilt on Sept. 26, 1987.

QUARTERBACK DEBUTS

*Marc Guillon made his first career start on Sept. 25 at Arkansas to become the  13th different starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide since the 1991 season.

*Since 1991, Alabama's starting quarterbacks have gone 9-4 (.692) in their first career start for the Crimson Tide.

*The four losses were charged to Lance Tucker (Miss. State, 1997), David Palmer (LSU, 1993), Spencer Pennington (at Georgia, 2003) and Guillon (Arkansas, 2004).

*Guillon's start under center marked the third consecutive season that Alabama has started a first-time quarterback in its first SEC road game.

*Then redshirt freshman Brodie Croyle made his first career start in Fayetteville on Sept. 28, 2002 as the Crimson Tide posted a 30-12 win. 

*In the win, Croyle completed 12 of 24 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns and was named the National Freshman of the Week. 

*In the 2003 SEC road opener, then sophomore Spencer Pennington completed nine of 20 passes for 109 yards in a 37-23 loss.  Pennington suffered a shoulder injury in the second half and missed the next four games.

WINS AND LOSSES

*Alabama has posted a 5-3 (.625) record through eight games this season. 

*Here is a statistical breakdown of the wins and losses this year.

2004 ALABAMA STATS BREAKDOWN

Category             Wins     Losses

Points Scored        200      26
Average              40.0     8.7
Points Allowed       44       64
 Average             8.8      21.3

Rushing Yards        257.8    173.0
Passing Yards        152.0    79.0
Total Offense        409.8    252.0

Rushing Defense      88.8     159.0
Passing Defense      110.6    100.0
Total Defense        199.4    259.0 

Turnovers            4        8
 Fumbles             3        2
 Interceptions       1        6

Penalties Per Game   6.1      5.67
 Average Yards       57.0     54.7
Punting (No-Yds)     22-946   20-814
Punting Avg          43.0     40.7
Net Punting          40.9     38.2

Time of Possession   36:09    30:24
Third Down Conv.     30/67    11/41
 Percentage          .448     .268
Fourth Down Conv.    2/4      0/2
 Percentage          .500     .000
Sacks By             12 (-75) 3 (-25)

UA HAS SEC'S TOP RUSHING OFFENSE

*The Alabama Crimson Tide enters this weekend's game against Mississippi State with the best rushing offense in the SEC.

*Alabama leads the league with 226  rushing yards per game.  Alabama also ranks 15th in the nation in rushing offense this season.

*In eight games, Alabama has rushed the ball 360 times for 1,808 yards and 17 touchdowns.

*The rushing offense has really been emphasized the last three weeks as Alabama has run the ball 143 times for 671 yards.

*Alabama averaged 283 rushing yards per game in wins over Kentucky and Southern Miss.

*In those two wins, Alabama ran the ball 114 times (.851) out of a possible 134 offensive snaps.

*Alabama's best rushing attack of the season came at Kentucky on Oct. 9 as the  Tide ran a season-high 63 times for 304 yards in a 45-17 win.

*The 63 rushing attempts and 304 rushing yards were the most in the Shula era.

*The last time Alabama rushed for 300 yards in a game was Sept. 21, 2002 when the Crimson Tide had 64 carries for 351 yards in a 20-7 win over Southern Miss.

*The bulk of the Crimson Tide's rushing offense this season has come from senior tailback Ray Hudson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against Kentucky.

*In six games this season, Hudson had 92 rushing attempts for 638 yards and four touchdowns.  Hudson was the SEC's second-leading rusher at the time of his injury.

*The Crimson Tide also lost its starting fullback in the fourth quarter of the Tennessee game on Oct. 23.

*Prior to the season-ending injury, sophomore fullback Tim Castille (Birmingham) had 62 rushing attempts for 247 yards and six TDs.

*Castille did not have a negative rushing attempt in eight games this season.

*Hudson and Castille combined for 897 rushing yards and 10 TDs this season.

*Sophomore Kenneth Darby (Huntsville) and true freshman Aaron Johns (Thomasville) will pick up the rushing load in the final three games of the season at tailback.

*Darby is the second-leading rusher on the team and fifth best in the SEC with a 91.6 average this season.

*In eight games, he has rushed the ball 133 times for 752 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns. 

*He had a career-high two rushing touchdowns at Kentucky on Oct. 9th.

*Darby had 29 rushing attempts for 197 yards and one TD in the Crimson Tide's 27-3 win over Southern Miss on Oct. 16, his first career start for the Crimson Tide.

*Darby (6), Castille (6) and Hudson (4)  have scored 16 of the Crimson Tide's 17 rushing TDs this season.

*Twice this season, Darby has missed the 100-yard mark by just one yard, rushing for 99 yards at Kentucky (Oct. 9) and Tennessee (Oct. 23).

*Johns has played in only four games, but got some valuable experience at Kentucky on Oct. 9, when he had a season-high 12 carries for 30 yards in the fourth quarter.

*For the season, Johns has 32 rushing attempts for 136 yards, including 11 carries for a season-high 86 yards in the win over Western Carolina (Sept. 18).

*Sophomore Le'Ron McClain (Tuscaloosa) and seldom-used junior Josh Smith (Mountain Brook) will pick up the load for Castille at fullback.

*McLain has nine rushing attempts for 44 yards and one TD this season.  An excellent lead blocker, he is averaging 4.9 yards per carry.

*Smith has played in seven games this season, mainly on special teams, and has two rushing attempts for five yards.

*He had one carry for three yards against Western Carolina (Sept. 18) and one carry for two yards at Kentucky (Oct. 9).

BAMA DEFENSE LEADS SEC

*The Alabama defense has shown marked improvement this season. 

*Alabama leads the NCAA in three statistical categories, including total defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense.

*Alabama also ranks ninth in the nation this week in scoring defense.

*Through eight games, Alabama has allowed 221.75 yards per game.

*Alabama has trimmed 108.35 yards per game off last year's eight game total entering Saturday's game with Miss. State.

*Last year at this time, the Crimson Tide defense had given up an average of 330.1   yards per game.  

*Through eight games in 2003, Alabama ranked sixth in the SEC and 31st nationally in total defense.

*Bama also leads the nation in passing defense and has allowed just 106.6 yards per game through the air this season.

*After eight games last year, Alabama had allowed 219.2 passing yards per game to rank ninth in the league and 60th nationally.

*Below is a statistical comparison of the 2003 and 2004 Alabama defense through eight games.

ALABAMA DEFENSIVE COMPARISON

Category            2004     2003
Points Allowed      108      190
Scoring Defense     13.5     23.8
Rushing Defense     115.1    121.8
Passing Defense     106.6    226.3
Total Defense       221.7    348.1
Pass Eff. Defense   83.3     149.3
Sacks By            15 (-100) 19 (-132)

ALABAMA SEC RANKINGS COMPARISON

Category            2004     2003
Scoring Defense     2nd      9th
Rushing Defense     3rd      5th
Passing Defense     1st      9th
Total Defense       1st      6th
Pass Eff. Defense   1st      6th

ALABAMA NCAA RANKINGS COMPARISON

Category            2004     2003
Scoring Defense     9th      59th
Rushing Defense     15th     29th
Passing Defense     1st      60th
Total Defense       1st      31st
Pass Eff. Defense   1st      38th

BAMA DEFENSE IN TOP 10

*The Alabama defense ranks in the Top 10 in four NCAA defensive statistical categories heading into Saturday's game with Mississippi State.

NCAA TOTAL DEFENSE LEADERS

Rk    School          Yards    Average
 1.   ALABAMA         1774     221.75
 2.   Wisconsin       1891     236.38
 3.   NC State        1905     238.13
 4.   USC             2045     255.63
 5.   LSU             2052     256.50
 6.   Auburn          2382     264.67
 7.   Penn State      2203     275.38
      Virginia Tech   2203     275.38
 9.   Missouri        2219     277.38
10.   Iowa            2227     278.38

NCAA PASSING DEFENSE LEADERS

Rk    School          Yards    Average
 1.   ALABAMA          853     106.63
 2.   NC State        1035     129.38
 3.   Missouri        1049     131.13
 4.   Wisconsin       1178     147.25
 5.   LSU             1235     154.38
 6.   Virginia Tech   1241     155.13
 7.   Penn State      1266     158.25
 8.   Kentucky        1287     160.88
 9.   Auburn          1467     163.00
10.   Navy            1315     164.38

NCAA PASSING EFFICIENCY DEFENSE

Rk    School          Yards    Rating
 1.   ALABAMA          853      83.35
 2.   Wisconsin       1178      88.46
 3.   Missouri        1049      95.24
 4.   Virginia Tech   1241      96.68
 5.   South Carolina  1342      97.00
 6.   USC             1477      97.72
 7.   Fresno State    1276      97.97
 8.   Oregon State    1557      98.48
 9.   UTEP            1745      98.72
10.   Southern Miss   1043     100.44

NCAA SCORING DEFENSE LEADERS

Rk    School            Points    Average
 1.   Wisconsin          68        8.5
 2.   Auburn             87        9.7
 3.   USC                87       10.9
 4.   California         86       12.3
 5.   Virginia Tech     101       12.6
 6.   Louisville         78       13.0
 7.   Boston College     92       13.1
 8.   Texas             107       13.4
 9.   ALABAMA           108       13.5
10.   Florida State     114       14.3

BAMA LEADS NATION IN KO RETURNS

*The Alabama Crimson Tide has the best kickoff return average of any team in the country through eight games.

*The Crimson Tide leads the NCAA and SEC with 32.56 yard kickoff return average heading into Saturday's game with Mississippi State.

*For the season, Alabama has 16 kickoff returns for 521 yards and one touchdown.

*Bama's 34.14 kickoff return average is a marked improvement from last year.

*Through eight games in 2003, Alabama ranked 10th in the SEC and 75th nationally with a 19.6 yard average.

NCAA KICKOFF RETURN LEADERS

Rk    School           No-Yds-TDs     Avg.
 1.   ALABAMA          16-521-1      32.56
 2.   Indiana          19-577-1      30.37
 3.   Clemson          27-798-2      29.56
 4.   Southern Miss    17-495-1      29.12
 5.   Boston College   16-465-1      29.06
 6.   Purdue           20-559-1      27.95
 7.   Virginia         22-611-1      27.77
 8.   Utah             20-546-1      27.30
 9.   Stanford         25-663-1      26.52
10.   California        6-158-0      26.33

*One of the main reasons is the success of sophomore Tyrone Prothro (Heflin), who has eight returns for 283 yards and one TD.

*Prothro was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after his school-record tying 100-yard kickoff return at Kentucky on Oct. 9. 

*Prothro, who has the SEC's lone kickoff return for a touchdown this season, had two kick returns for 125 yards in the win over UK.

*Against South Carolina (Oct. 2), Prothro had three kickoff returns for 91 yards in the loss to the Gamecocks.

*Junior Brandon Brooks (Birmingham) has also been a threat this season. 

*Brooks has eight kickoff returns for 238  yards, including an 87-yarder against Western Carolina (Sept. 18).  He is averaging 29.8 yards per return.

*Prothro would lead the NCAA in kickoff returns but he is just short of the NCAA required 1.2 kickoff returns per game this season. 

*Brooks would rank fifth in the nation in kickoff returns but also fails to meet the NCAA minimums of 1.2 returns per game.

*Prothro (283) and Brooks (238) have nearly as many kickoff return yards (521) in eight games this season as the Alabama team had in 13 games (766 yards) last year.

*In 13 games last year, Alabama had 34 kickoff returns for 766 yards (22.5 avg) and one touchdown.

OFFENSIVE NOTEBOOK:

Alabama has lost three starters to season-ending injuries this year, including Brodie Croyle, Ray Hudson and Tim Castille ... The Crimson Tide offense continues to lead the SEC in rushing (226.0) this season ... Alabaam also leads the SEC in time of possession (33:59) ... Alabama has logged 153 rushing attempts in its last three games, an average of 51 rushes per game ... The 153 rushing attempts against Kentucky, Southern Miss and Tennessee account for 42.5 percent of the team's total rushing attempts this season ... Bama had a season-high 63 rushing attempts for 304 yards in the win at Kentucky, the first 300-yard rushing game in the Shula era ... UA has scored at least 40 points in three games in a season for the first time since 1993 ... The last time UA scored 40 or more points four times in a season was 1991 ... UA's 45 points at Kentucky (Oct. 9) are the most in an SEC game since a 45-7 win over Ole Miss in 2000 ... The 45 points are also the most in an SEC road game since a 48-17 win over Vanderbilt in 1991 ...

Alabama held the ball for 41:05 in its win at UK on Oct. 9th ... The last time Alabama held the ball for more than 40 minutes was the 1999 SEC Championship game against Florida (40:11 TOP) ... The Crimson Tide's average time of possession in their 35 scoring drives this season is 2:55 ... Alabama has 15 scoring drives of less than two minutes ... Bama has 10 scoring drives of more than five minutes ... UA's  99-yard scoring drive against Kentucky (14-99-7:30) is tied with Auburn (vs. La. Tech and Ole Miss) for the longest in the SEC this season ... The Crimson Tide also logged a 98-yard scoring drive against Ole Miss (10 plays, 5:24 TOP) earlier this year ... Alabama had two scoring drives of 85 yards or more in the Ole Miss game ... Bama has five scoring drives this season of 80 or more yards ... Alabama ranks last in the SEC in passing offense (124.6) ... In the last five games, Alabama has thrown for 392 yards and logged its first 100-yard passing game against Tennessee (113 yards) ... Bama has only one TD pass in the last five games, after tossing eight in the first three games ... The offensive line has allowed only eight sacks this season ... The Bama o-line did not allow a sack against Western Carolina, Arkansas or Kentucky ... Sophomore receiver Tyrone Prothro (Heflin) is the only UA player with at least one pass reception in all eight games this season ... Prothro has at least one reception in 14 of his 17 games at UA, including 14 straight ... Bama quarterbacks Brodie Croyle (7-9), Spencer Pennington (2-2) and Marc Guillon (0-2) are a combined 9-13 (.409) in their 22 career starts for the Tide ... Alabama is 5-0 this season when scoring first ...Under coach Shula, Alabama is 8-4 (.667) when scoring first ... Bama is 0-3 (.000) this season when opponents score first ... Under Shula, Alabama is 1-8 (.111) when opponents score first, including an eight-game losing streak ... Alabama has scored 67 second-quarter points, the most in any quarter this year ... UA has scored in the second quarter in all eight games this season and in nine straight games dating back to last year ... Alabama is 28-for-31 (.903) in the "red zone" this season, with 19 touchdowns ... The Crimson Tide's "red zone" successes have resulted in 175 points this season ... Alabama has 20 plays this season of 25 or more yards and eight plays of 40 or more yards ... Alabama has scored via the rush, pass, interception return and punt return ... Alabama has scored 73 points off turnovers this season, including 35 in the last three games ... Alabama has played two turnover-free games this season (Utah State and Kentucky) ... The last time Alabama did not commit a turnover in an SEC game was Nov. 9, 2002 against Miss. State ... The last time UA did not have a turnover in an SEC road game was Nov. 2, 2002 at Vanderbilt ...

Alabama threw a season-high four interceptions in its loss to South Carolina (Oct. 2) ... The Crimson Tide opened the season with 77 pass attempts before its first interception ... All five of UA's interceptions this season have come in two games (Arkansas and South Carolina) ...

DEFENSIVE NOTEBOOK:

Alabama has forced an SEC-best 55 three-and-outs this season ... Bama leads the nation in three defensive categories, including total defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense ... The Crimson Tide has held its last seven opponents to less than 200 passing yards ... Utah State (205) is the only UA opponent to throw for 200 yards in a game this season ... Alabama has held five opponent to less than 200 yards in total offense this season, including the three straight games ... Bama is second in the SEC and ninth in the nation in scoring defense this season ... The Crimson Tide has allowed the second-fewest TDs (13) in the SEC this season ... Alabama has held five opponents under 100 yards rushing this season ... The Crimson Tide held Southern Miss to just 23 total passing yards in its 27-3 win on Oct. 16th ... It was the fewest passing yards allowed by Alabama since limiting Southern Miss to 21 passing yards in 2001 ... Alabama defense held Kentucky to 29 total yards (19 snaps) in the final 27:17 of the game in Lexington ... During that time, Alabama also forced three turnovers and blocked one punt ... Senior linebacker Cornelius Wortham (Calhoun City, Miss.) recorded his 200th career tackle against South Carolina ... He now has 218 career stops for the Tide ... Junior free safety Roman Harper (Prattville) recorded his 200th career tackle at Tennessee and now has 205 career stops at UA ...

Harper is second on the team and fourth among SEC defensive backs with total 49 tackles this season ... Wortham leads Alabama in and is fourth among SEC linebackers with 53 total tackles ... Harper leads UA with 32 solo stops ... Freshman defensive tackle Wallace Gillberry (Bay Minette) is sixth in the SEC with three QB sacks ... Senior cornerback Anthony Madison (Thomasville) is third in the SEC with nine passes defended ... Freshman cornerback Simeon Castille (Birmingham) is eighth in the SEC with five passes defended ... Alabama has forced 19 turnovers this season ... UA has scored on 11 of those 19 turnovers, resulting in 73 points, including a 31-yard interception return by Simeon Castille in the season opener against Utah State ... Alabama has forced at least one turnover in all eight games this season and 13 straight games, dating back to last season ... The last time Alabama did not force a turnover came in a 43-28 loss at Ole Miss on Oct. 18, 2003 ... Alabama has forced at least one turnover in 17 of 21 games under Shula ... Bama has allowed only 11 plays this season of 25 or more yards ... The Crimson Tide has allowed just two plays of more than 25 yards in its last three games ...  Alabama has the second-best "red zone" defense in the SEC this season ... UA opponents are 12-for-18 (.667) this season, with eight TDs ... Alabama allowed only 17 "red zone" points (3-for-5) in its five wins this season ... UA has allowed 54 "red zone" points (9-for-13) in its three losses ...  The UA defense has pitched a shutout in 17 of 32 quarters this season ... In a three-game stretch with Ole Miss, Western Carolina and Arkansas, the Alabama defense allowed only 14 points in 11 quarters ...  Alabama is the only team in the SEC with at least one shutout in each of the last three seasons ...

SPECIAL TEAMS NOTEBOOK:

The Crimson Tide leads the SEC and NCAA in kickoff returns (32.6 avg) ... Tyrone Prothro would lead the NCAA with his 35.4 kickoff return average but he falls just shy of the NCAA minimum (1.2 returns per game) through seven games ... Prothro tied the Alabama record with a 100-yard kickoff return against Kentucky on Oct. 9th ... It was the seventh 100-yard kickoff return in school history and first since 1988 ... He had two kickoff returns at Kentucky (125 yards) for a 62.5 yard average ... In his last four games, Prothro has five kick returns (216 yds) for a 43.2 yard average ... Brandon Brooks (Birmingham) is averaging 30.8 yards per kickoff return this season, which would be second in the SEC and fifth nationally if he had the NCAA required minimum (1.2 per game) number of returns ... By contrast, Alabama is 10th in the SEC and 100th in the NCAA with a 6.3-yard punt return average this season ... Senior punter Bo Freelend (Eutaw, Ala.) has averaged 43.7 yards per punt over his last three games ...  Freelend averaged 47 yards on four kicks in the win over Southern Miss (Oct. 16) ... Against Tennessee, he averaged 42.2 yards on a season-high eight punts in the loss to the Vols ... Freelend has four punts of more than 50 yards in his last two games ... Senior kicker Brian Bostick has made all but three kicks (38 of 41) this season ... He has made all 28 PAT attempts and is 10-for-13 in field goals ... Redshirt freshman Jamie Christensen (Norcross, Ga.) handles the kickoffs for the Tide ... Christensen has 18 touchbacks in 46 kickoffs this season ... He had four touchbacks in six kickoff attempts against Southern Miss (Oct. 16th) ... Freshman Marcel Stamps (Brantley) had a blocked punt return (29 yards) for a touchdown against Western Carolina ... Anthony Madison recorded his first blocked punt of the season at Kentucky ... It was the second of his UA career ...

STATE SERIES IS LONGEST IN UA BOOKS

*Alabama has played more games against Mississippi State than any other opponent. 

*The two border rivals will be meeting for the 89th time on the gridiron this Saturday.

*Miss. State (89) and Tennessee (87) are the only two opponents the Crimson Tide has played 80 or more times.

MOST GAMES VS. OPPONENT (All-Time)

Opponent       Games   1st Meeting
Miss. State    89      1896
Tennessee      87      1901
Vanderbilt     79      1903
Auburn         67      1892
LSU            67      1895

*In addition, the Miss. State game is the fifth oldest series in the UA record books as the two teams first met in 1896.

ALABAMA'S OLDEST FOOTBALL SERIES

Rank   Opponent       First Meeting
 1.    Auburn         1893
 2.    Ole Miss       1894
 3.    Georgia        1895
       LSU            1895
 5.    Miss. State    1896
 6.    Tennessee      1901

*The Miss. State and Auburn series are tied for the second-longest running series in the UA record books.  Bama and State have met every year since 1948. 

*The Tennessee game is the longest current running series in the UA record books.  Tennessee and Alabama met for the 75th consecutive year (neither team fielded a squad in 1943) on Oct. 23, 2004 at Neyland Stadium.

LONGEST CONSECUTIVE GAME STREAKS

Opponent       Streak   Series Began
Tennessee      75       1928
Auburn         56       1948
Miss. State    56       1948
Vanderbilt     50       1953

ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES

*Alabama holds a 70-15-3 (.813) all-time lead over Miss. State in a series that dates back to the 1896 season.

*The Miss. State series is the longest running series in the Alabama record book.  The two border rivals will be meeting for the 89th time this weekend.

*Alabama has more wins (70) over Miss. State than any other opponent on record.

*UA and MSU first met in 1896 with the Crimson Tide posting a 20-0 win in Tuscaloosa.  In fact, the first six meetings were all shutouts, including five by Alabama. 

*Miss. State did not post its first win until an 11-0 victory in Columbus, Miss. during the 1903 season. 

*The 2004 season will mark the 56th consecutive year these two teams have met on the gridiron, having played every year since 1948. 

*For the most part, the series has been dominated by Alabama.  The Crimson Tide recorded a 12-game unbeaten streak from 1919-34, posting an 11-0-1 record during that span.

*The 1922 Alabama-Miss. State game was the last game for Crimson Tide head coach Xen Scott.  Bama won the game, 59-0.

*Alabama recorded its first ever SEC win with an 18-0 victory over Miss. State in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 14, 1933.

*Alabama followed that up with a 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1) from 1942-53. 

*The 1946 Alabama-Miss. State game marked the final game for Frank Thomas as head coach at Alabama.  UA won that game 24-7 on Nov. 30, 1946.

*Alabama's 13-12 win over Miss. State on Oct. 27, 1956 ended a school record 17-game losing streak for the Crimson Tide.  The win over MSU was Alabama's first win since beating Tennessee 27-0 in Knoxville on Oct. 16, 1954.

*The 1956 win over Miss. State also snapped a 20-game unbeaten streak for Alabama, who played back-to-back, scoreless ties with Georgia and Tulane in 1954.

*The Crimson Tide's 21-10 win over State in 1975 was the school's 750th all-time football game.

*From 1958-79, Alabama posted a 22-game winning streak over Miss. State.  The 22-game winning streak is the longest in series history.

*Miss. State ended that streak with perhaps one of the greatest wins in school history when they upset No. 1 ranked Alabama, 6-3, on Nov. 1, 1980 at Mississippi Memorial Stadium in Jackson.

*MSU's 6-3 win also snapped Alabama's school and SEC record 28-game winning streak.

*Since that loss to Miss. State, Alabama has never been ranked No. 1 again at any time during the regular season.

*The Crimson Tide rebounded from a three-point upset loss and won the next 15 games in the series from 1981-95.

*In fact, Miss. State went a period of 19 quarters (1987-92) where they never ever had the lead in a game against Alabama.

*The Bulldogs held an 18-14 fourth quarter lead in 1987 at Legion Field before losing 21-18 and did not take the lead again until the third quarter in 1992.

*State ended that 15-game winning streak with a 17-16 win over Alabama on Nov. 16, 1996 at Scott Field. 

*The one-point win was MSU's first-ever on-campus win over the Crimson Tide and first in the state of Mississippi since the upset win in 1980. 

*MSU followed up that victory with two more wins in 1997 and 1998, giving the Bulldogs three straight wins over Alabama.  *The three-game winning streak from 1996-98 equaled the longest in series history by the Bulldogs.   MSU also won three straight games from 1912-14. 

*Since then, Alabama has won four of the last five meetings with MSU's lone win coming in Starkville (29-7) on Nov. 11, 2000.

BAMA-MSU SERIES SCORES

Year     Result (Site)                           
1896     Alabama 20, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1901     Alabama 45, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1902     Alabama 27, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1903     Miss. State 11, Alabama 0 (Columbus)
1904     Alabama 6, Miss. State 0 (Columbus)
1905     Alabama 34, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1906     Alabama 16, Miss. State 4 (Starkville)
1911     Alabama 6, Miss. State 6 (Columbus)
1912     Miss. State 7, Alabama 0 (Aberdeen)
1913     Miss. State 7, Alabama 0 (Birmingham)
1914     Miss. State 9, Alabama 0 (Birmingham)
1919     Alabama 14, Miss. State 6 (Birmingham)
1920     Alabama 24, Miss. State 7 (Birmingham)
1921     Alabama 7, Miss. State 7  (Birmingham)
1922     Alabama 59, Miss. State 0 (Birmingham)
1925     Alabama 6, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1926     Alabama 26, Miss. State 7 (Meridian)
1927     Alabama 13, Miss. State 7 (Tuscaloosa)
1928     Alabama 46, Miss. State 0  (Starkville)
1922     Alabama 59, Miss. State 0 (Birmingham)
1931     Alabama 53, Miss. State 0 (Meridian)
1932     Alabama 53, Miss. State 0 (Montgomery)
1933     Alabama 18, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1934     Alabama 41, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1935     Miss. State 20, Alabama 7 (Tuscaloosa)
1936     Alabama 7, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1939     Alabama 7, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1940     Miss. State 13, Alabama 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1941     Miss. State 14, Alabama 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1942     Alabama 21, Miss. State 6 (Tuscaloosa)
1944     Alabama 19, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1945     Alabama 55, Miss. State 13 (Meridian)
1946     Alabama 24, Miss. State 7 (Tuscaloosa)
1948     Alabama 10, Miss. State 7  (Starkville)
1949     Alabama 35, Miss. State 6 (Tuscaloosa)
1950     Alabama 14, Miss. State 7 (Tuscaloosa)
1951     Alabama 7, Miss. State 0 (Starkville)
1952     Alabama 42, Miss. State 19 (Tuscaloosa)
1953     Alabama 7, Miss. State 7 (Tuscaloosa)
1954     Miss. State 12, Alabama 7 (Tuscaloosa)
1955     Miss. State 26, Alabama 7 (Tuscaloosa)
1956     Alabama 13, Miss. State 12 (Tuscaloosa)
1957     Miss. State 25, Alabama 13 (Tuscaloosa)
1958     Alabama 9, Miss. State 7 (Starkville)
1959     Alabama 10, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1960     Alabama 7, Miss. State 0 (Starkville)
1961     Alabama 24, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1962     Alabama 20, Miss. State 0 (Starkville)
1963     Alabama 20, Miss. State 19 (Tuscaloosa)
1964     Alabama 23, Miss. State 16 (Jackson)
1965     Alabama 10, Miss. State 7 (Jackson)
1966     Alabama 27, Miss. State 14 (Tuscaloosa)
1967     Alabama 13, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1968     Alabama 20, Miss. State 13 (Tuscaloosa)
1969     Alabama 23, Miss. State 19 (Jackson)
1970     Alabama 35, Miss. State 6 (Tuscaloosa)
1971     Alabama 41, Miss. State 10 (Jackson)
1972     Alabama 58, Miss. State 14 (Tuscaloosa)
1973     Alabama 35, Miss. State 0 (Jackson)
1974     Alabama 35, Miss. State 0 (Tuscaloosa)
1975     Alabama 21, Miss. State 10 (Jackson)
1976     Alabama 34, Miss. State 17 (Tuscaloosa)
1977     Alabama 37, Miss. State 7 (Jackson)
1978     Alabama 35, Miss. State 14 (Birmingham)
1979     Alabama 24, Miss. State 7 (Tuscaloosa)
1980     Miss. State 6, Alabama 3 (Jackson)
1981     Alabama 13, Miss. State 10 (Tuscaloosa)
1982     Alabama 20, Miss. State 12 (Jackson)
1983     Alabama 35, Miss. State 18 (Tuscaloosa)
1984     Alabama 24, Miss. State 20 (Jackson)
1985     Alabama 44, Miss. State 28 (Tuscaloosa)
1986     Alabama 38, Miss. State 3 (Starkville)
1987     Alabama 21, Miss. State 18 (Birmingham)
1988     Alabama 53, Miss. State 34 (Starkville)
1989     Alabama 23, Miss. State 10 (Birmingham)
1990     Alabama 22, Miss. State 0 (Starkville)
1991     Alabama 13, Miss. State 7 (Tuscaloosa)
1992     Alabama 30, Miss. State 21 (Starkville)
1993     Alabama 36, Miss. State 25 (Tuscaloosa)
1994     Alabama 29, Miss. State 25 (Starkville)
1995     Alabama 14, Miss. State 9 (Tuscaloosa)
1996     Miss. State 17, Alabama 16 (Starkville)
1997     Miss. State 32, Alabama 20 (Tuscaloosa)
1998     Miss. State 26, Alabama 14 (Starkville)
1999     Alabama 19, Miss. State 7 (Tuscaloosa)
2000     Miss. State 26, Alabama 7 (Starkville)
2001     Alabama 24, Miss. State 17 (Tuscaloosa)
2002     Alabama 28, Miss. State 14 (Tuscaloosa)
2003     Alabama 38, Miss. State 0 (Starkville)

Alabama Single-Game Records (vs. MSU)

Most Passing Yards        
Jay Barker             325 (1994)

Most Completions          
Jay Barker             26 (1994)

Most Rushing Yards
Bobby Humphrey         284 (1986)

Most Rushing Attempts
Dennis Riddle          38 (1995)

Most Rushing TDs
David Casteal          4 (1988)

Most Receiving Yards
David Palmer           171 (1993)
Curtis Brown           153 (1994)

LAST MEETING: BAMA 38, MSU 0

*Alabama stopped a two-game losing streak with a convincing 38-0 win over Miss. State at Scott Field in Starkville.

*The win was the first SEC road win for first-year head coach  Mike Shula and the first shutout in the Shula era.

*The Tide struck early and often against the Bulldogs, jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead, turning a third-and-16 play into an 86-yard pass and catch for a touchdown.

*Sophomore QB Brodie Croyle, who had been sacked on the previous play, withstood the Bulldog blitz, finding Zach Fletcher on the near sideline. Fletcher dodged several defenders before finding the open field, giving the Tide the lead and the momentum, neither of which they would relinquish.

*The 86-yard touchdown pass was the fourth-longest in Crimson Tide history.          

*Croyle tossed two more touchdown passes before being spelled by Spencer Pennington in the second half.  It was Pennington's first action since suffering a seperated shoulder in the second half of the Tide's game at Georgia on Oct. 4.

*Croyle completed 9-of-14 pass attempts for 183 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Pennington finished 1-of-2 for 25 yards.

*The Tide built a 24-0 lead by the halftime break, seeming content to keep the ball grounded for much of the second half. Alabama had five offensive backs rush for positive yardage, including Shaud Williams, who rushed 25 times for 98 yards.  Ray Hudson contributed 79 yards on 12 carries, while freshman fullback Tim Castille scored his second career touchdown on a six yard run late in the fourth quarter

*Fletcher led the Tide in receiving yardage, despite catching only two passes. The senior wideout with the penchant for the big play, accounted for 118 yards (59.0 yards per catch) and two touchdowns.

*The Tide defense collected its first shutout since 2002, when it stifled the LSU Tigers, 31-0 in Baton Rouge. The stingy Alabama defense allowed the Bulldogs only 152 yards of total offense on 51 plays. Kevin Fant was held to only 100 yards through the air on 14 completions. Mississippi State rushed 20 times for 24 yards on the afternoon.

UA-MSU HAVE PLAYED AT EIGHT SITES