Bama just too much for Mississippi State

Published 7:50 pm Saturday, November 10, 2018

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s offense didn’t put up the video game-like numbers that had seemingly become commonplace. The defense played so well, again, that it didn’t matter.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide had its second straight shutout in a 24-0 victory over No. 18 Mississippi State on Saturday, while Josh Jacobs ran for a touchdown and caught a scoring pass.

With quarterback Tua Tagovailoa still battling a gimpy right knee, the Tide (10-0, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) turned to defense for another vintage performance.

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Alabama matched the school record with its 24th consecutive home victory. The mark was initially set from 1971-74.

“I think in this day and age, you not only get judged on whether you win but you get judged on how you win,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “I never thought I’d ever be in position to say that you get style points but the way our system is, that may be the way it is.”

The offense had already banked plenty of style — and real — points along the way.
Alabama raced to a fast start but mostly stalled from there against the Bulldogs (6-4, 2-4) and the nation’s No. 2 scoring defense.

Tagovailoa started the fourth quarter on a stationary bike after getting his right knee checked out in the medical tent following a low hit. He didn’t return and wasn’t needed, mainly because of a defense that was overshadowed by an offense that had led the nation in scoring much of the season.
Saban said Tagovailoa could have returned if needed.

Fresh from a 29-0 victory over LSU, the Tide hasn’t allowed a point in nine-plus quarters. It’s the first time Alabama has had consecutive shutouts since 2012.

“It’s a great feeling,” Tide linebacker Dylan Moses said. “It means we got the job done.”

Alabama had five sacks and Mississippi State had four in a rough day for both quarterbacks against two talent-rich defensive lines.

Tagovailoa was 14-of-21 for 164 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also lost a fumble on a botched exchange with Damien Harris.

Jacobs ran for 97 yards on 20 carries for Alabama. He scored on a 1-yard run and a 14-yard catch.
The Bulldogs stuffed Harris on the goal line on a late fourth-down attempt.

Nick Fitzgerald was 11-of-20 passing for 125 yards for Mississippi State, which gained just 44 yards on 30 rushes. Alabama outgained State 305-169 in total yards.

“I think certainly, defensively, we continue to play well,” Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead said. “We continue to fight our tails off. We held them under 350 yards. It was most prominent bowing their back on that last drive and keeping them out of the end zone. That’s the type of pride and physicality we play with defensively. We certainly gave ourselves an opportunity with how we played.”