Three Tiders Cited For Academic Work

Alabama will be going to Mississippi State Saturday with three players who have been selected to the Capital One Academic All-District IV team. Those players and all others should be able to see that Saturday's game shapes up as a defensive battle.

Alabama, 8-1 overall and 5-1 in Southeastern Conference play and ranked fourth in the nation, will be at Mississippi State Saturday for a game that will kick off at 6:45 p.m. CST and have national television coverage by ESPN. Mississippi State is 5-4 overall, but only 1-4 in SEC games.

Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones, wide receiver Brandon Gibson, and defensive lineman Jesse Williams were selected to the Capital One Academic All-District IV team.

Jones graduated from The University in just three years this past August with a degree in accounting and a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He is a three-time first-team All-District IV selection and a two-time Capital One Academic All-America, earning first-team honors in 2010. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in accounting. He was a member of the 2009 SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll and the 2010 and 2011 SEC Academic Honor Roll.

He has started all nine games for the Crimson Tide this season at left tackle and 34 games overall on the offensive line. He is an integral part of the Tide's offensive success this season with the Crimson Tide averaging 439.56 yards per game to rank 23rd nationally in total offense and 21st in rushing at 214.44 ypg.

There is speculation that Jones, who injured an ankle in Bama's loss last week to LSU, may miss Saturday's game at Starkville.

The Capital One Academic All-District IV selection is the first for Gibson. A senior athletically, he has already earned his undergraduate degree in public relations and is currently working on a master's degree in sports administration. He was selected to the 2010 SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Gibson is a three-year letterman that has played in all nine games this season and 28 during his career at The Capstone. He has eight receptions on the season for 78 yards and one touchdown. Gibson is also a regular on special teams for the Tide, starting on the kickoff coverage unit where he has made seven tackles.

Williams joined the Tide program in January of this year and quickly made an impact. He has a 3.66 grade point average in financial planning and is on track to graduate on time. He earned an associate's degree at Western Arizona Community College in December of 2010.

Williams has started all nine games for the Crimson Tide at defensive end in 2011. He has 17 total tackles with four tackles for loss and half of a sack. He has two quarterback hurries and one pass breakup.

Members of the CoSIDA Academic All-District IV Team are eligible for CoSDIA Academic All-America recognition.

One doesn't have to be an extraordinary student to figure out that defense could be the name of the game at Mississippi State Saturday.

Alabama has not allowed an opponent to score more than 14 points during the first nine games of the 2011 season and 10 straight games dating back to the 2011 Capital One Bowl against Michigan State. The Crimson Tide defense leads the nation in scoring defense (7.1 points per game), total defense (187.0 yards per game), rushing defense (56.3 yards per game), pass efficiency defense (83.1 rating) and pass defense (130.7 yards per game).

The last time Alabama held its opponent to 14 points or less for at least 10 straight games was 1975-76 when the Tide did it in 14 straight games. The school record for consecutive games holding an opponent to 14 points or less is 31 from 1960-63. No other team in the nation has allowed an opponent to score no more than 14 points in every game this season.

But Mississippi State has been pretty good on defense, too.

The Bulldogs have given up only 17 touchdowns in nine games this season, which is tied for sixth nationally and third in the SEC. The Bulldogs have given up eight TDs on the ground and nine through the air. Alabama (6) and LSU (10) are 1-2 in least touchdowns allowed nationally this year.

Also on defense, the Bulldogs are tied for 26th nationally and tied for fifth in the SEC with 11 passes intercepted.

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