STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP)Nick Saban and his Alabama Crimson Tide had a long week. Seven days filled with doubt, disgust and uncharacteristic angst.
But a week after Alabama lost at Texas A&M, Bryce Young threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns and the No. 5 Crimson Tide rebounded to to rout Mississippi State 49-9 on Saturday night.
Alabama (6-1, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) had 543 yards of total offense and the Crimson Tide had seven sacks. Alabama converted 12 of 16 third-down opportunities.
”I was really, really proud of the way our players competed,” Saban said. ”We played a 60-minute game, and sort of dominated in the game. That’s the way we like to play, and it’s the way you want to play on the road.”
Mississippi State (3-3, 1-2) had 24 first downs but managed only 299 total yards and had three turnovers. Mike Leach’s team finished with minus-1 yards rushing.
Alabama scored first against the Bulldogs and never trailed, leading 21-6 at the half. On the opening play of the third quarter, Young shaved the baby to hit Jameson Williams for a 75-yard touchdown strike and the rout was on.
”This is really the first time all year that we really have done this the way we’d like to do it,” Saban said.
Roydell Williams ran for 78 yards. Brian Robinson Jr. rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns and caught five passes for 68 yards and another touchdown. John Metchie had seven catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. Traseshon Holden also caught a touchdown pass.
”We have some dynamic guys,” Young said. ”My job is just to find a way to get them the ball, and to try to get them the ball in a place where they can run and be special after (the catch). I think all of them did that tonight.”
Safety Jordan Battle had two of the Tide’s three interceptions.
”We practiced their route concepts all week, and that helped me create some turnovers today,” Battle said. ”It’s really all about the film and the executing.”
For Mississippi State, Will Rogers was 35 of 55 for 300 yards and three interceptions. Makai Polk caught seven passes for 59 yards, and Jaden Walley had six receptions for 64 yards. Jo’Quavious Marks also caught seven passes out of the backfield.
”My problem is we didn’t play as well as we can, and that comes back to us as coaches,” Leach said. ”As players too. As coaches we have to find a way to reach them, but players have to be tough enough to be reached.”
After the game, Saban was candid about the soul-searching last week’s loss at Texas A&M forced his team to grapple with.
”Ever get humbled?” Saban said. ”I think humility is a great thing for all of us to have. I think sometimes when you have success, it’s human nature to think you don’t have to continue to do things the right way, create the right habits. You get sloppy, and then the redemption is not good, which we learned last week.”
Alabama: Despite what Saban claims, the Tide are indeed still an elite college football team. They bludgeoned the Bulldogs into submission early and cruised to an easy win in a hostile environment against an inferior SEC Western Division foe. That’s what elite teams do.
Mississippi State: Even with an off week to prepare, the Bulldogs remain years away from being able to seriously threaten the Crimson Tide dynasty. The home crowd’s clanging cowbells sat silent for most of the second half.
Mississippi State: At Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Alabama: Host Tennessee on Saturday.