TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama (7-0 overall; 4-0 in the Southeastern Conference) used a 24-point first half and just enough defense in the second half to keep its unblemished SEC record alive, winning 24-20 over Mississippi in front of a capacity crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The loss dropped Mississippi to 3-4 overall, 1-3 in conference play.
After Alabama scored 24 unanswered points to take a 24-3 lead, the Rebels came back in the second half, scoring 17 unanswered points of their own to draw to within four. After adding a field goal with 6:09 left in the game, the Rebels forced Alabama to punt and got the ball at its own 23-yard line with just over three minutes to play in the game and a chance to win. But after allowing the Rebels to drive the ball across the 50, the Alabama defense stiffened, holding Mississippi to its second consecutive unsuccessful fourth down try and preserving the win.
Alabama did all of its scoring in the first half, scoring its 24 straight points after falling behind 3-0, the first time the Crimson Tide had faced a deficit during the 2008 season. The Tide’s first points came on a 26-yard touchdown pass from John Parker Wilson to Marquis Maze to take a 7-3 lead with 4:10 left in the first quarter.
Alabama then poured it on in the second quarter, getting a 2-yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram before two forced turnovers led to 10 points to close the half. An interception by Justin Woodall set up a 41-yard field goal by Leigh Tiffin, and an interception by Rashad Johnson (his first of the year) led to a 30-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Mike McCoy.
Mississippi’s first touchdown of the second half came on a 9-yard pass on a fake field goal to pull to within 24-10. An 18-yard touchdown pass from Jevan Snead to Shay Hodge that was set up by an Alabama turnover made the score 24-17, and a late field goal added the Rebels’ final three points of the game.
Wilsonfinished the game 16-of-25 passing for 219 yards for the Tide, with two touchdowns and one interception. Tight end Nick Walker caught five passes for 65 yards and receiver Julio Jones caught three passes for 63 yards. McCoy had three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, Ingram finished with 17 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown, and Glen Coffee finished with 13 carries for 52 yards.
The Alabama defense forced three turnovers and sacked Snead twice, including once on Mississippi’s final drive of the game. Johnson finished with nine tackles, one interception and a forced fumble while linebacker Dont’a Hightower had six tackles.