Alabama vs.Mississippi State

  Date: 11/14/2009  
  Score: 31-3  
  Alabama vs. Mississippi State

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Quarterback Greg McElroy hit three passes of more than 40 yards, including two for touchdowns, to lead Alabama to a 31-3 win over Mississippi State. McElroy was 13 for 18 passing for 192 yards and no interceptions, throwing scoring passes of 45 yards to Darius Hanks and 48 yards to Julio Jones. Running back Mark Ingram ripped off a 70-yard touchdown run as the Crimson Tide (10-0, 7-0 SEC) improved to 10-0 for the second straight year, something that hasn’t happened since the 1973-74 seasons.

It marked the 30th time in Alabama’s 115 years of football the Tide has reached 10 wins, second only to Oklahoma’s 31. Alabama has done it four times this decade. With wins against Tennessee-Chattanooga and Auburn, the Tide could envision taking a 12-0 record into the SEC title game against Florida for the second straight year.

McElroy got the Alabama offense rolling in the second quarter when he found Hanks wide open near the left sideline about 20 yards downfield. Hanks broke a tackle about 10 yards from the end zone and scored. Mississippi State punted on its next possession, and Alabama drove for another score. McElroy’s 11-yard pass to Hanks converted a third down, and the Tide picked up a 1st-and-goal when Ingram ran three yards to the Bulldogs’ one-yard line. On the next play, Ingram stretched to get the ball across the goal line with 4:41 left as Alabama assumed a 14-0 lead.

Ingram had his helmet knocked off in the process, and with his head exposed, he was cut and remained on the field as trainers attended to him. But after a quick examination, he jogged off the field to be bandaged, and then returned to play in the second half.

Two one-play drives by Alabama ended any Mississippi State hopes. First, McElroy found Jones all alone around the 15 and hit him in stride for his second long scoring pass. Then on the ensuing drive, Ingram found an opening in the middle and accelerated untouched through the Bulldogs defense. The play highlighted an otherwise typically methodical performance by Ingram. In the second period, Ingram

scored on a one-yard run to give Alabama a 14-0 lead at halftime. He rushed for 149 yards.

Alabama had the only points of the third quarter, a 39-yard field goal from Leigh Tiffin on the opening drive of the half. Mississippi State got on the board in the fourth quarter, as Derek DePasquale kicked a 34-yarder to end a 15-play drive that consumed nearly seven minutes of game clock. The score came with 10:35 left, but just 17 seconds later, McElroy found Julio Jones for a 48-yard TD and a 24-3 Alabama lead.

The Crimson Tide defense came up with several big plays as well. Safety Mark Barron picked off his SEC leading fifth and sixth interceptions, ending two potential scoring drives. Cornerback Marquis Johnson batted away two potential touchdown passes to O’Neal Wilder, forced a field goal with another strong play in the end zone, and then picked off a pass.

The Crimson Tide defense held the Bulldogs to 83 first-half yards and 213 total yards on the night. Only running back Anthony Dixon had sustained success against Alabama with 140 all-purpose yards.