Nick Saban, one of the great defensive coaches of all time, hasn’t been able to put a top-shelf secondary on the field for the last couple of years.
What we know: They’re good enough to win in Tuscaloosa.
But even if all of that happens and Alabama somehow winds up in the SEC Championship again, it will be defying the odds.
Ole Miss won the toss and deferred their option to the second half. Saturday marked the first start of Bateman’s Alabama career…. If they get there, it’s anyone’s game.
Going forward, the team should feel much worse about the way it played than where it stands. Ole Miss leads 30-17. Ole Miss has now scored at least 43 points in three straight games, another program first. Ole Miss as given up a few long runs between the tackles this season and they have to limit that against Alabama.
Now look, I’m not sitting here saying this Ole Miss team will win the West. I’m just saying that right now, they have to be considered the favorites.
The Rebels distribute the ball well on offense and lead the league in rushing.
Alabama began the second quarter with a second-and-7 from the Ole Miss 31. Cooper Bateman completed 11-of-14 passes for 87 yards and a pick. Adam Griffith made all the kicks he was asked to make, though strategic decisions made it more than evident that the coaching staff had no faith in anything more than chip-shot field goal chances.
Mississippi running back Jordan Wilkins, left, scores a touchdown during Mississippi’s 43-37 win at Alabama on Saturday. Coker was 21-of-45 for 201 yards with three interceptions and two touchdowns and ran for 58 yards and another score.
The Tide committed another critical error on the kickoff. Operating again Corey Clement takes over for Heisman finalist Melvin Gordon, and already with seven 100-yard dashing video games in his profession. Yes, it was only a 20-yarder but it could help him gain some confidence back. These are now question marks for the untested Rebels, with Hugh Freeze repeatedly claiming that he “doesn’t know” if his team is ready for conference play. Mayfield set a school record with 572 total yards. The Tide offense was a flawless 4-of-4 on third downs, including two conversions on third-and-10 or longer.
Presently the Ole Miss Rebels have a record of 9-4, and have placed a corresponding log of 8-5 against the spread. Kelly has been terrific and breakout stars like Quincy Adeboyejo have emerged.
Cook ended up throwing for 247 yards and four scores, and Aaron Burbridge caught eight passes for 156 yards and three TDs. Ole Miss has never beaten Alabama twice in a row. In receiving, Kenyan Drake had 91 yards and one touchdown in five receptions while OJ Howard had 68 yards in four receptions.
With Auburn and Arkansas struggling and Bama in the rearview, the Rebs look poised to make a run at the division crown. But they had to be in a position to capitalize and execute when they did get lucky bounces. Now healthy, Drake has been on fire in the first two games of the season. Now we’re starting SEC play.
Iowa 27, Pittsburgh 24 – Marshall Koehn kicked a 57-yard field goal as time expired to push the host Hawkeyes to their first 3-0 start in six years.
The Tide’s offense came to life on its next drive.
After the punt, the Tide took over at the Rebel 46. Kelly has averaged 278.5 passing yards a game, so far. Running back Derrick Henry had 127 yards on 23 carries with one touchdown.
Kelly and the Rebels quickly responded.
Ole Miss’s offensive line is also huge, weighing in at 1,563 pounds. It was the Tide’s second turnover off the night. On third-and-5 from the 29, Coker’s pass was picked off by linebacker C.J. Johnson and returned to the 31. The touchdown extended Wisconsin’s lead to 21-3 with 7:16 left in the third quarter. On the possession he had completions of 19 yards to Stewart, 11 yards to Mullaney on fourth down, and 24 yards to Howard. He was 24-of-25 for 330 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
Mangum threw a 42-yard Hail Mary to beat Nebraska on the final play in relief of the injured Taysom Hill, and his 35-yard TD pass in the final minute beat Boise State last week. That changed the way Alabama had to play, and was ultimately the difference on the scoreboard.
Of course, Wallace was aided by a stingy defense and a blind side protected by All-American LT Laremy Tunsil, whose eligibility remains in doubt in light of NCAA investigations. However, on the next play, he threw another interception on the next play. Each of the top five SEC rushers has a run of 50-plus yards and three have a 70-yard-plus run. Chad Kelly has taken over for Good Bo/Bad Bo and has been whipping the ball all around the field.