Alabama had been undefeated and ranked third in the nation by the Associated Press (and likely to go up at least to second with a win) and first in the Coaches Poll before making its first road trip of the year. That game at Ole Miss Saturday resulted in Bama squandering a fourth quarter lead and losing, 23-17.
Alabama is now 4-1 overall and 1-1 in Southeastern Conference games. The Tide will be at Arkansas next week.
Alabama and Ole Miss have now played 62 times and Bama has won 51 and tied two, losing nine, on the field. Bama had won 10 in a row and 27 of the last 30 games against the Rebels.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban fell to 11-2 against the Rebels, including a 7-1 record in his eight seasons at Bama.
With the loss, Alabama is 26-10 (.722) against the AP top 25, including a 16-6 (.727) mark against the AP top-10 teams since the start of 2008. The Crimson Tide was 3-2 in 2013, beating No. 6 Texas A&M, 49-42, in College Station, blanking No. 21 Ole Miss, 25-0, in Tuscaloosa and knocking off No. 10 LSU, 38-17. The Tide fell at No. 4 Auburn, 34-28, and then dropped a 45-31 decision to No. 11 Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama went 5-1 against the AP top 25 in 2012, with victories over No. 8 Michigan, No. 13 Mississippi State, No. 5 LSU, No. 3 Georgia and No. 1 Notre Dame, plus a loss to No. 15 Texas A&M. The Tide held a 4-1 mark vs. top 25 teams in 2011 and went 5-3 against the AP top 25 in 2010.
One of the worst things about the game was the Alabama injury situation. Tailback Kenyan Drake suffered an apparent broken leg and was taken to Birmingham for treatment before the game had ended in Oxford. Center Ryan Kelly suffered a sprained knee and linebacker Denzel Devall a high ankle sprain.
Junior Cyrus Jones’ 13-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter marked the 36th non-offensive touchdown of the Nick Saban era. Since Saban took over in 2007, the Crimson Tide has turned in 15 interception returns, nine punt returns, five kickoff returns, four fumble returns, and three blocked punt returns for a touchdown.
With 123 yards rushing in Saturday’s game, junior T.J. Yeldon moved into sixth place in the Alabama record book in career rushing yards. He now has 2,760 yards for his career and passed Johnny Musso (1969-71: 2,741) for sixth place. Trent Richardson (2009-11: 3,130) is ahead of Yeldon in fifth place.
Yeldon recorded the 14th 100-yard rushing game of his career.
Junior Amari Cooper moved into the No. 3 spot in career receptions during the third quarter at Ole Miss, passing Freddie Milions, who recorded 152 catches. Cooper finished the game with 9 receptions, giving him 156 for his career. He is now 24 receptions away from passing Julio Jones for second (2008-10: 179).
Alabama suffered a rare loss when rushing for at least 140 yards. With the loss to Ole Miss as the Tide rushed for 168 yards, the Tide is 64-2 since the start of the 2008 season when rushing for at least 140 yards. The only other loss was at Auburn in 2013 when the Tide went for 218 yards, but saw the Tigers gain 296 and score on the game’s final play.
In 76 total wins since the start of the 2008 season, Alabama has averaged 215.8 yards per game (16,400 yards).
With senior Blake Sims’ 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, Alabama has scored in 174 consecutive games – the longest streak in program history.
Much was made of the ESPN College GameDay show originating from Oxford Saturday. It was the first appearance of the show in the state of Mississippi. Alabama has now appeared in games on 31 occasions where GameDay was braodcast, including 22 in the Nick Saban era.
Attendance was 61,826, fourth largest crowd in Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium history.
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