TUSCALOOSA, Ala.- The University of Alabama football team was forced to practice indoors on Wednesday due to inclement weather in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide practiced for two hours and was in helmets and shoulder pads for the second straight day.
"We have had two good days of practice," said head coach Mike Shula. "We got off the field a little bit earlier both days. All the guys that we have talked about with injuries practiced today. We will see how it goes. This time of year everybody is beat up. You have to push through it and other guys have to step up. We have tried to get on the field earlier. Physically you want them fresh but mentally you want them as fresh as we can."
Alabama has played more games against Mississippi State than any other opponent. The two schools will meet for the 91st time on Saturday at Bryan-Denny Stadium. Defense has been a key to the Crimson Tide's success against the Bulldogs. Since a 26-7 loss in 2000, Alabama has won five straight meetings and has not allowed over 17 points in any of the five contests. In Shula's three games against Mississippi State, Alabama has only allowed 14 total points with two shutouts.
The Crimson Tide defense will look to continue their success on the defensive side of the ball. Alabama has the fourth-ranked rushing defense in the SEC at 105.2 yards per game. They have held four of their nine opponents to under 100 yards rushing. The Bulldogs come in to Saturday's game ranked last in the conference with 78.3 rushing yards per game. They are averaging only 2.4 yards per carry. Alabama ranks fourth in total defense with 277.6 yards allowed per game. Mississippi State is 11th out of 12 teams in total offense with an almost identical 277.7 yards per game.
Another strong suit for Alabama has been the ability to force turnovers this season. They are second in the nation with a +1.44 turnover margin. They have not turned the ball over in the last three games on offense and are tied for the fewest turnovers in the SEC with nine. The defense is tied for ninth in the country with 22 turnovers gained, an average of 2.44 per game. The Tide's 14 interceptions are the fifth most nationally. Alabama has forced at least one turnover in 39 of the 46 games under Shula. Mississippi State has struggled with turnovers on offense. They are one of three SEC teams to turn the ball over 20 times with eight fumbles lost and 12 interceptions thrown.
SEC syndicator Lincoln Financial Sports will televise the game. Bill Rosinski, Dave Rowe and Jenn Hildreth will call the game which is scheduled to kickoff at 11:30 a.m.