Bama’s “Hateful” Defense leads Tide to 51-3 Route of Mississippi State

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TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 12: Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes for a touchdown against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Bama’s “Hateful” Defense leads Tide to 51-3 Route of Mississippi State

After the LSU game Nick Saban referred to his defense as “hateful”. As usual, he may be onto something. Bama’s defense really got ticked off when they gave up a touchdown two weeks ago in the 2nd quarter of the Texas A&M game. Accordingly, it has now been 10 quarters since any team scored a touchdown against the Tide. That is about 150 minutes of football. And if not for Mississippi State’s 3rd quarter field, the statistic would be 0 points in 10 quarters. Moreover, the Tide defense has only given up three rushing TD’s all season.

Naturally, a letdown after the physical victory over LSU would’ve been understandable. Indeed Bama had not scored a first quarter TD following the LSU game in 15 years. But that came to an end today when Jalen Hurts found Calvin Ridley claiming a 10-0 lead.

Jalen Hurts’ Career Day

For 21 years, Saban did not have a QB who could throw and run for 100 yards in a game. Hurts has now succeeded in doing so four times this season. He is now less than 20 yards away from breaking Steadman Sheeley’s all-time Alabama rushing yards record for a quarterback in one season. Undoubtedly, Hurts would have broken the record had he not been pulled in the 3rd quarter.

Intermediate passes and seeing the entire field are areas where Hurts has needed to improve. Saturday, he excelled in both of these realms. Two consecutive passes exemplified this in his last series of the day. After hitting O.J. Howard deep, he then hit Ardarius Stewart for a touchdown. Both passes were over 20 yards.

Hurts completed 28 of 37 passes for 337 yards and three TDs, and one INT. He also added 100 yards and one touchdown on the ground. And that was with less than three quarters of work. Accordingly, he should have solidified another SEC Freshman of the week award. In fact, he is arguably the overall SEC player of the week.

One of Bama’s Most Complete Games of the Year

Alabama had already covered the 30 point spread by half-time. As such the Tide was able to play a number of non-starters. Yet this did not lead to drop in the caliber of play. One of the several young players to shine today was Bama’s standout freshman Trevon Diggs. The little brother of Vikings‘ stud Stephon Diggs, Trevon has taken over Eddie Jackson‘s role as punt returner. And today he scored his first of what ought to be a vast number of touchdowns for the Tide. 

Saturday was Bama’s 64th win in a row against unranked teams. The ability to take care of the teams they are supposed to is a key aspect of Coach Saban’s Process. But with 13 wins in a row versus ranked opponents, they also beat teams when the outcome is less certain.

The final score: 51-3 Alabama. This was probably the Tide’s most complete game of the year. And this was the Mississippi State team that took out #4 Texas A&M last week. This simply reiterates a key characteristic of the SEC. If a team fails to bring its A-game, it can lose any given week. That said, with Auburn losing to Georgia, Alabama has clinched the SEC West title. They have now locked up a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship. But do not count on any decline in the Tide’s dominance. Inherent to Saban’s Process is the 24 hour rule. No matter how bad the loss or great successful the win, after 24 hours it is back to work as if the previous game never happened. Saban first invoked the 24 hour rule in after his first career victory as coach of Toledo. Two hundred wins later the 24 hour rule is still imperative to his coaching philosophy.

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