Bama/MSU series notebook

After a much needed open date, the Alabama Crimson Tide (3-6, 1-4 SEC) returns to action this Saturday, Nov. 8 as they travel to Starkville, Mississippi to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-6, 1-3 SEC) in a Southeastern Conference Western Division matchup at Scott Field.

Both teams are coming off an open date. Alabama has not played since a heart-stopping, five overtime loss to Tennessee (51-43) on Oct. 25. MSU has not played since a 42-17 loss at Kentucky on Oct. 25. The Crimson Tide has lost five of its last six games entering the MSU game, including a two-game losing streak. After starting the season with an 0-4 slate, MSU has split its last four games, but is also riding a two-game losing streak.

The Mississippi State series is the longest series in the UA record book. This Saturday's game will be the 88th meeting between these two border rivals. This will be Alabama's first trip to Starkville since 2000 as the two teams played in Tuscaloosa the last two years due to a scheduling quirk.

Alabama/Mississippi State series notes

Alabama holds a 69-15-3 (.810) all-time lead over Miss. State in a series that dates back to the 1896 season.
  • The Miss. State series is the longest running series in the Alabama record book. The two border rivals will be meeting for the 88th time this weekend.
  • Alabama has more wins (69) over Miss. State than any other opponent on record.
  • UA and MSU first met in 1896 with the Crimson Tide posting a 20-0 win in Tuscaloosa. In fact, the first six meetings were all shutouts, including five by Alabama.
  • Miss. State did not post its first win until an 11-0 victory in Columbus, Miss. during the 1903 season.
  • The 2003 season will mark the 55th consecutive year these two teams have met on the gridiron, having played every year since 1948.
  • For the most part, the series has been dominated by Alabama. The Crimson Tide recorded a 12-game unbeaten streak from 1919-34, posting an 11-0-1 record during that span.
  • Alabama followed that up with a 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1) from 1942-53.
  • From 1958-79, Alabama posted a 22-game winning streak over Miss. State. The 22-game winning streak is the longest in series history.
  • Miss. State ended that streak with perhaps one of the greatest wins in school history when they upset No. 1 ranked Alabama, 6-3, on Nov. 1, 1980 at Mississippi Memorial Stadium in Jackson.
  • State's 6-3 win also snapped Alabama's school and SEC record 28-game winning streak.
  • Since that loss to Miss. State, Alabama has never been ranked No. 1 again at any time during the regular season.
  • The Crimson Tide rebounded from a three-point upset loss and won the next 15 games in the series from 1981-95.
  • In fact, Miss. State went a period of 19 quarters (1987-92) where they never ever had the lead in a game against Alabama.
  • The Bulldogs held an 18-14 fourth quarter lead in 1987 at Legion Field before losing 21-18 and did not take the lead again until the third quarter in 1992.
  • State ended that 15-game winning streak with a 17-16 win over Alabama on Nov. 16, 1996 at Scott Field.
  • The one-point win was MSU's first-ever on-campus win over the Crimson Tide and first in the state of Mississippi since the upset win in 1980.
  • MSU followed up that victory with two more wins in 1997 and 1998, giving the Bulldogs three straight wins over Alabama. The three-game winning streak from 1996-98 equaled the longest in series history by the Bulldogs. MSU also won three straight games from 1912-14.
  • Since then, Alabama has won three of the last four meetings with MSU's lone win coming here in Starkville (29-7) on Nov. 11, 2000.
  • Miss. State has won the last three meetings here in Starkville.
  • Alabama has not won in Starkville since posting a 29-25 come-from-behind win on Nov. 12, 1994.
  • Alabama enters the 2003 season having won the last two meetings with MSU and has not won three straight since 1992-94.

More series facts & figures

  • The 1922 Alabama-Miss. State game was the last game for Crimson Tide head coach Xen Scott. Bama won the game, 59-0.
  • Alabama recorded its first ever SEC win with an 18-0 victory over Miss. State in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 14, 1933.
  • The 1946 Alabama-Miss. State game marked the final game for Frank Thomas as head coach at Alabama. UA won that game 24-7 on Nov. 30, 1946.
  • Alabama's 13-12 win over Miss. State on Oct. 27, 1956 ended a school record 17-game losing streak for the Crimson Tide. The win over MSU was Alabama's first win since beating Tennessee 27-0 in Knoxville on Oct. 16, 1954.
  • The 1956 win over Miss. State also snapped a 20-game unbeaten streak for Alabama, who played back-to-back, scoreless ties with Georgia and Tulane in 1954.
  • The Crimson Tide's 21-10 win over State in 1975 was the school's 750th all-time football game.

UA-MSU have played at eight different sites

The Alabama-Miss. State series has been hosted at eight different sites, with the majority of the games taking place in Tuscaloosa. The two teams have met 45 times in Tuscaloosa, with UA holding a 37-7-1 lead.
  • Alabama and Miss. State are meeting in Starkville for the first time since Nov. 11, 2000. The two teams played the last two years in Tuscaloosa due to a scheduling quirk.
  • The 2001 and 2002 games in Tuscaloosa marked the first time since 1978-79 that MSU traveled to the state of Alabama in consecutive years to play the Crimson Tide. The two teams played in Birmingham (1978) and Tuscaloosa (1979).
  • The 2001 and 2002 games also marked the first time since the 1950s that Alabama and MSU played in Tuscaloosa in consecutive seasons. The Crimson Tide hosted the Bulldogs six straight years in Tuscaloosa from 1952-57.
  • Alabama holds a 12-3 (.800) series lead over Miss. State here in Starkville, but has lost the last three.
  • The Crimson Tide has not won a football game on the MSU campus since a 29-25 come-from-behind win on Nov. 14, 1994.
  • In games played in the state of Alabama, the Crimson Tide holds a 44-9-2 (.818) series lead.
  • In games played in the state of Mississippi, the Crimson Tide holds a 25-6-1 (.797) series lead.

Here is a look at the series record at various sites.
Tuscaloosa: UA leads, 37-7-1
Birmingham: UA leads, 6-2-1
Montgomery: UA leads, 1-0
Starkville: UA leads, 12-3
Jackson: UA leads, 9-1
Columbus: Series Tied, 1-1-1
Aberdeen: MSU leads, 1-0
Meridian: UA leads 3-0

Head coach notebook

  • Alabama head coach Mike Shula has never faced Miss. State as a head coach.
  • As an Alabama player, Shula was 3-0 (1.000) against the Bulldogs as the starting quarterback, leading the Crimson Tide to wins in 1984, 1985 and 1986.
  • Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill is a graduate of the University of Alabama, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration in 1966. While at Alabama, Sherrill played seven different positions for the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1962-65. He lettered three years at Alabama and played on the Tide's 1964 and 1965 National Championship teams. In 1966, Sherrill served as a graduate assistant coach on Bryant's staff.
  • Sherrill is 5-9 (.357) in his career against his alma mater, including a 5-7 (.417) record at Miss. State.
  • Sherrill was also 0-2 (.000) as head coach against Alabama while coaching at Texas A&M, losing in 1985 (23-10, Legion Field) and 1988 (30-10, College Station, Hurricane Bowl).

Magnolia State athletes playing for Tide

The Alabama roster contains only three players from the state of Mississippi, including Mike McLaughlin, PK Gautier; Thurman Ward, DB Starkville and Cornelius Wortham, LB Calhoun City.

Ward attended Starkville High School, where he played quarterback and defensive back. Ward replaced Freddie Milons under center and threw for 1,074 yards and rushed for 924 yards, leading SHS to an 8-3 record and the state playoffs as a senior. He recorded 25 total TDs. On defense, he had 75 tackles and three interceptions.

Alabama natives playing for MSU

The Miss. State roster lists seven players from the state of Alabama, including Brian Anderson, OL Butler; Lennie Day, DT Mobile; Avery House, OL Springville; Blake Jones, C Athens; Jason Jude, RB Athens; Carlton Rice, LB Huntsville and David Stewart, OL Moulton.

Assistant coach/Administrator Ties

  • The association of Dave Rader (Alabama Offensive Coordinator) and Rockey Felker (Miss. State Director of Football Operations) goes back to the playing days of Alabama head coach Mike Shula in the mid 1980s.
  • Rader and Felker were both on the offensive staff of Ray Perkins while Shula was the starting quarterback.
  • Felker served as receivers coach in 1983 and 1984 and was the offensive backfield coach in 1985, working with UA quarterback Mike Shula, now the Tide's head coach.
  • During those same three years, Rader served as Alabama's quarterbacks coach.
  • In 1986, Felker took the head coaching job at Miss. State and named Rader his offensive coordinator.
  • Rader left for Tulsa after one year and was named head coach in 1988.
  • The two were reunited in 1991 when Rader hired Felker as the Tulsa quarterbacks coach (1991) and wide receivers coach (1992). In 1991, the Golden Hurricane went 10-2 and defeated San Diego State in the Freedom Bowl.
  • MSU cornerbacks coach Curley Hallman is a former Alabama assistant coach under Paul Bryant (1973-76) and Gene Stallings (1996-97). A native of Northport, Ala., Hallman graduated from Tuscaloosa County HS and later played for Stallings at Texas A&M.
  • Alabama running backs coach Sparky Woods served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Jackie Sherrill at MSU from 1999-2002.
  • MSU fullback Nick Signiago (Collierville, Tenn.) began his playing career at Alabama before leaving the program to play for the Bulldogs.
  • Alabama Chancellor Dr. Malcom Portera is the former President at Miss. State University. Portera was named MSU's 16th president on Jan. 1, 1999 and remained in that position until accepting the post as UA's Chancellor during the summer of 2002.
  • Prior to his tenure at Miss. State, Portera spent more than two decades of his administrative life at the University of Alabama, where he worked in Alabama's offices of academic affairs and research and served as executive assistant to two president's before being named vice president.
  • Following his tenure at the University of Alabama, Portera served as Vice Chancellor of the UA system, representing the interests of three campuses in Tuscaloosa, Huntsville and Birmingham. Portera also earned his Ph.D. in political science from the Capstone.
  • Alabama kicker Mike McLaughlin played on the same high school football team (Gautier HS) as MSU split end Ray Ray Bivens and flanker Antonio Hargro.
  • Alabama receiver Thurman Ward and MSU defensive lineman Jason Clark were high school teammates at Starkville HS.
  • Miss. State freshman split end Tee Milons is the younger brother of former Alabama receiver Freddie Milons (1998-2001).
  • Alabama wide receiver Zach Fletcher and MSU offensive lineman David Stewart played high school football together at Lawrence County High School in Moulton.
  • Alabama offensive lineman Mark Sanders and MSU offensive tackle Avery House played on the same high school team at Springville HS.

Tide/Bulldogs Stat Notebook

  • Alabama ranks 11th in the SEC in passing offense, averaging 187.6 yards per game.
  • Mississippi State ranks 11th in the SEC in passing defense, yielding 289.5 yards per game.
  • Alabama ranks 11th in the the SEC in total offense, averaging 359.8 yards per game.
  • The Crimson Tide is 11th in the league in pass efficiency offense with a 113.0 rating.
  • MSU is 12th in the league in pass efficiency defense, allowing a 149.3 quarterback rating.
  • Mississippi State ranks 11th in the SEC in total defense, allowing 476.4 yards per game.
  • The Crimson Tide ranks 76th nationally in total offense, while the Bulldogs are 112th in total defense.
  • Alabama is third in the SEC with 21 sacks this season.
  • Miss. State is 11th in the SEC in sacks allowed with 25 through eight games.

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