Alabama vs.Mississippi

  Date: 10/10/2009  
  Score: 22-3  
  Alabama vs. Mississippi

OXFORD, Miss. – Alabama picked off four Jevan Snead passes and scored twice after special teams miscues to smother Mississippi 22-3. "This was the most complete win we’ve had all year, in a difficult situation," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "It’s like climbing a mountain. The higher you go the more treacherous it gets."

A strong defensive performance by Mississippi was negated by offensive mistakes and the Rebels never had the kind of consistency needed to rattle one of the nation’s top defenses. Alabama couldn’t generate much offense against the Rebels defense, but didn’t need it. Mark Ingram rushed for 172 yards and the game’s only touchdown and Leigh Tiffin hit five field goals, one shy of the school’s single game record.

The Alabama defense made it stand up, forcing Snead into the four interceptions. The Crimson Tide’s Cory Reamer also blocked a punt and recovered a fumble on a punt return. Snead completed 11 of 34 passes for 140 yards. Twice Alabama defenders ripped the ball away from Rebels receivers who were bobbling it.

Alabama defenders hit Snead on practically every pass attempt in the first half and it showed in the Rebels’ production. Alabama held the Rebels to 19 yards and one first down in the first half on the way to a 16-0 lead and allowed them past the 50 just four times overall.

The Rebels’ offense was in complete disarray in the first 30 minutes and some of the school-record 62,657 fans booed the home team as it ran off the field. Snead completed just 2 of 12 passes for 14 yards with two interceptions and Alabama held the run-happy Rebels to 5 yards on the ground.

It could have been worse had the Rebels defense not been so good after turnovers. The Rebels forced a field goal with a goal-line stand after Reamer’s blocked punt gave Alabama the ball at the 5. But with the Rebels’ offense holding the ball for just 8:57 in the first half, Alabama used 47 plays for 237 yards to tire out the Rebels. That helped Ingram score untouched from 36 yards out on fourth-and-1 with 55 seconds left in the half to make it 16-0.

The Alabama defense came up big again late in the third quarter after Reamer stripped Dexter McCluster on a punt return and recovered the fumble, giving the Tide the ball at the Mississippi 40. Ingram picked up its third fourth-down conversion, and then carried the ball to the 3 with a 24-yard run. The Rebels, however, held the Tide to Tiffin’s fourth field goal.

After Kareem Jackson returned an interception deep into Rebels territory in the fourth quarter, the Mississippi defense forced a fumble. Rebels defensive backs also knocked two passes away from Julio Jones in the end zone. Mississippi was the fourth of Alabama’s six opponents to be held under 88 yards in the first half. The five turnovers against Alabama were more than half Mississippi’s season total of nine entering the game.