Nov. 13, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama’s stern defense forced three turnovers and the Crimson Tide pulled out a 19-7 win over Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 13, 1999, clinching a berth in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
The Crimson Tide held the Bulldogs to 24 rushing yards and forced three turnovers to end a three-game series losing streak. Two of Alabama’s interceptions stopped drives at the end of each half and the other led to one of Ryan Pflugner’s two field goals.
Reggie Myles and Milo Lewis led the Tide with seven tackles each and both had one interception in the win over Mississippi State. The Tide held the Bulldogs to 1-of-11 on third down conversions and blocked one punt.
Alabama managed only 93 rushing yards, led by Shaun Alexander’s 24 carries for 54 yards and one touchdown. Senior quarterback Andrew Zow completed 18 of 34 passes for 222 yards, with one interception and one touchdown in the win. His favorite target was Freddie Milons, who caught nine passes for 94 yards.
Linebacker Miguel Merritt blocked an MSU punt to set the up the Tide’s first score of the game. After the blocked kick, the Tide moved 29 yards in seven plays before Pflugner’s 40-yard field goal put the Tide in front 3-0 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
Mississippi State avoided another disastrous play later in the quarter when Pig Prather recovered his own muffed punt at the Bulldogs’ 30-yard line. With new life, MSU quarterback Wayne Madkin directed a quick scoring drive to put the Bulldogs in front 7-3.
On second down from the MSU 30, Madkin hooked up with Kelvin Love on a 54-yard strike to the Alabama 16 as the quarter ended. Three plays later, Madkin hit Rod Gibson with a 3-yard TD pass to give the Bulldogs the lead with 13:41 left in the first half.
The lead was short-lived as Alabama immediately answered with a touchdown to retake the lead at 10-7.
On second and five from the UA 25-yard line, Zow hit Alexander out of the backfield for a 37-yard gain to the MSU 38. On the next play, Milons ran a 25-yard reverse that gave the Tide the ball at the MSU 13. Two plays later, Alexander ran in from six yards out to put the Tide ahead for good. Pflugner’s extra point made it 10-7 with 11:46 to play in the half.
After an exchange of punts, the teams then traded interceptions as the half came to a close. MSU’s Barrin Simpson intercepted a pass at the Tide 31-yard line with 1:29 left in the half. On the very next play, Myles picked off a pass in the end zone to allow the Tide to run out the first half clock.
Both defenses were tough in the second half as well. Lewis’ interception of a pass at the MSU 40-yard line set up the only score of the third quarter. The Tide drove to the MSU 15-yard line with Zow completing an 18-yard pass to Milons and a 17-yard toss to Alexander before Pflugner’s 32-yard field goal made it 13-7 with 6:41 left in the third quarter.
Alabama sealed the game with a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter that put the Tide in front 19-7. Starting from its own 36, Alabama needed only six plays to cover the 64 yards for the game-clinching score. Zow teamed up with Shamari Buchanan for a 37-yard TD pass to put the Tide up by 12. Alabama’s two-point pass attempt failed, leaving the score 19-7.
After an exchange of punts, the Tide defense sealed the game in the final two minutes when Darius Gilbert intercepted a pass at the UA 44 yard line and returned the ball 26-yards to the MSU 30. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against MSU moved the ball to the 10 and the Tide ran out the final 41 seconds to secure the win.