Nov. 13, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – It should come as no surprise that two teams who are separated by just 88 miles of state highway will be renewing a rivalry this weekend that dates back to the 1896 season.
Alabama and Mississippi State, who have the shortest distances between campuses in the Southeastern Conference, will meet for the 93rd time this weekend at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide owns a 72-17-3 all-time series lead, but MSU has won the last two meetings, including a 26-14 win in Tuscaloosa in 2006 and a 17-12 win Starkville last season.
The Crimson Tide has played more games (93) and has more wins (72) against Mississippi State than any other opponent on record. The Tide and Bulldogs 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. Mississippi State did not post its first win until an 11-0 victory in Columbus, Miss. during the 1903 season. The 2008 season will mark the 61st 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-Mississippi State game was the last game for Crimson Tide head coach Xen Scott. Alabama won the game, 59-0. Alabama recorded its first ever SEC win with an 18-0 victory over Mississippi 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-Mississippi 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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi State also snapped a 20-game winless streak for Alabama, which included 18 losses and two ties.
The Crimson Tide’s 21-10 win over Mississippi State in 1975 was the school’s 750th all-time football game. From 1958-79, Alabama posted a 22-game winning streak over Mississippi State. The 22-game winning streak is the longest in series history. Mississippi 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. Mississippi State’s 6-3 win also snapped Alabama’s school and SEC record 28-game winning streak.
The Crimson Tide rebounded from a three-point upset loss and won the next 15 games in the series from 1981-95. In fact, Mississippi State went a period of 19 quarters (1987-92) where they never 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. MSU ended a 15-game series losing streak with a 17-16 win over Alabama on Nov. 16, 1996 at Scott Field. The one-point win was Mississippi State’s first-ever on-campus win over the Crimson Tide and first in the state of Mississippi since the upset win in 1980. Mississippi State 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. Mississippi State also won three straight games from 1912-14.
Alabama posted a 19-7 victory over MSU in 1999 and won six of seven games, including a five-game winning streak from 2001-05.
MSU SERIES IS LONGEST IN UA BOOKS: Alabama and MSU will meet for the 93rd time this weekend, the most games against any opponent in the Tide record books. In fact, Mississippi State (93), Tennessee (92) and Vanderbilt (82) are the only three opponents that have faced the Crimson Tide 80 or more times. In addition, the Mississippi State game is the fifth oldest series in the UA record books as the two teams first met in 1896. The Mississippi State and Auburn series’ are tied for the second-longest running series in the UA record books. Alabama and MSU 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 80th consecutive time (neither team fielded a squad in 1943) earlier this season in Knoxville.
MOST GAMES (vs. All Opponents)
1. 93 - Mississippi State (1896)
2. 92 - Tennessee (1901)
3. 81 - Vanderbilt (1903)
4. 72 - Auburn (1892)
72 - LSU (1895)
ALL-TIME SITES: The Alabama-Mississippi State series has been hosted at eight different sites, with the majority of the games taking place in Tuscaloosa. The 2001 and 2002 games in Tuscaloosa marked the first time since 1978-79 that MSU traveled to the state of Alabama in consecutive years to play the Crimson Tide. The two teams played in Birmingham (1978) and Tuscaloosa (1979). The 2001 and 2002 games also marked the first time since the 1950s that Alabama and MSU played in Tuscaloosa in consecutive seasons. The Crimson Tide hosted the Bulldogs six straight years in Tuscaloosa from 1952-57. In games played in the state of Alabama, the Crimson Tide holds a 45-11-2 series lead. In games played in the state of Mississippi, the Crimson Tide holds a 26-7-1 series lead. Here is a look at the series records by sites:
Series Record at Various Sites:
Site Series Record
Tuscaloosa UA leads, 38-9-1
Birmingham UA leads, 6-2-1
Montgomery UA leads, 1-0
Starkville UA leads, 14-4
Jackson UA leads, 9-1
Meridian UA leads 2-0
Columbus Series Tied, 1-1-1
Aberdeen MSU leads, 1-0
ALABAMA PLAYER NOTEBOOK: Alabama senior defensive end Bobby Greenwood has eight career tackles and 2½ tackles for loss in his three-game career against Mississippi State … Junior linebacker Prince Hall has 19 career tackles in two games against MSU … Hall had a career-high 13 tackles in the 2006 meeting in Tuscaloosa … Junior P.J. Fitzgerald averaged 48.6 yards on four punts, including a 56-yard kick, in last year’s game against Mississippi State … Sophomore defensive back Kareem Jackson had four tackles and two tackles for loss (-4) in last year’s game … Senior safety Rashad Johnson has six tackles, three pass break-ups and one interception in three games against Mississippi State … Junior kicker Leigh Tiffin made all four field attempts in last year’s game at Mississippi State, including a pair of 50-yard kicks.