Alabama demolishes Ole Miss again

Published 10:47 pm Saturday, September 15, 2018

OXFORD (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns, Jerry Jeudy caught two scoring passes and No. 1 Alabama buried Ole Miss 62-7 on Saturday night.

Alabama (3-0) gave up a touchdown on the first play of the Southeastern Conference opener, but responded by scoring the next 62 points. The Tide’s offense had 516 total yards and was so effective that Tagovailoa’s evening was over by midway through the second quarter.

The left-handed sophomore completed 11 of 15 passes during his short time on the field. The Tide then turned to Jalen Hurts, who completed 7 of 10 passes for 85 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

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It was so lopsided that third-string quarterback Mac Jones was in the game before the end of the third quarter. Alabama coach Nick Saban — not known as one who gives out compliments easily — had no complaints about how his team handled its first road game in a hostile environment.

“I’m going to have to give us a good grade in all those areas,” Saban said. “I was pleased.”

Ole Miss (2-1, 0-1 SEC) suffered through a second straight blowout loss to the Crimson Tide. The Rebels fell 66-3 last year in Tuscaloosa. It had upset Alabama in 2014 and 2015 and taken a close 48-43 loss in Oxford in 2016.

Jordan Ta’amu completed just 7 of 22 passes for 133 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

The game was in doubt for about 11 seconds. That’s the time it took for Ta’amu to find D.K. Metcalf for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the game. Ole Miss had a 7-0 lead and a packed Vaught-Hemingway Stadium was rocking.

Alabama wouldn’t be fooled again.

“We don’t dwell on plays like that,” said Alabama defensive back Xavier McKinney, who returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and also forced a fumble. “When that happened, we weren’t down about it. We just kept going, kept playing and I feel like we did a great job.”

The Tide scored 49 points by halftime, doing whatever it wanted against the Ole Miss defense. There were plenty of clues the Rebels would struggle to slow down the Tide — including giving up 629 total yards to Southern Illinois last week — but the onslaught was still stunning.

Joseph Bulovas’ 20-yard field goal early in the third quarter made it 52-7 and put Alabama in the record books. It is the first team in SEC history to score at least 50 points in each of its first three games. McKinney’s interception and a 44-yard field goal by Bulovas in the fourth quarter pushed the Crimson Tide over the 60-point mark.

“We knew we’d have to capitalize off turnovers and execute to make it a four quarter game,” Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said. “We didn’t do that. We had chances early.”