Mississippi State let the air out of the ball in the fourth quarter when Alabama's defense needed a stop the most. The Bulldogs bled five minutes and 32 seconds off the clock on the final drive, moving 39 yards in 12 plays. Mississippi State had the ball for 10 minutes and 12 seconds of the fourth quarter, while Alabama had just 4 minutes and 48 seconds of possession time when needing a touchdown and two point conversion to tie the game.
Freshman fullback Baron Huber was not dressed for Saturday's game. Huber had played in all nine previous games this season, mostly on special teams. Tim Castille was in Huber's normal spot in kickoff return.
Rashad Johnson had injury added to insult during Saturday's game, with a gaff on a kickoff return resulting in poor field position, and later by suffering a sprained ankle which forced him to the sideline. After Mississippi State's first touchdown, Johnson let Adam Carlson's kickoff bounce at the two yard line instead of catching it in the swirling wind. Freshman Javier Arenas scooped up the loose ball and took it to the 9-yard line.
Alabama suffered its first turnover in more than three games when John Parker Wilson threw the second-quarter interception at the Mississippi State 49-yard line, which Mississippi State's Quinton Culberson returned 51 yards for a touchdown. It was Bama's first turnover in 232 offensive snaps, dating back to the third quarter in the Duke game, and it ended a streak of 104 passes without a pick for Wilson.
There were a few rarely seen calls in Saturday's game by Rocky Goode's officiating crew. The crew called two penalties for an illegal blow to the head – one on each team – at different points in the game. The refs also called a clipping penalty way away from the play. Alabama was penalized six time for 45 yards, while Mississippi State have five penalties for 58 yards.
"It's tough to put a guy in who's not been practicing, but we thought they could possibly come in and give us a little bit of a spark," Mike Shula said. "It's hard to put a guy out there that hasn't practiced much during the course of the week and that's why we didn't play them early."
Johns got a concussion to go along with his hurt ankle after coming into the game when he got hit on kickoff coverage in the third quarter.
"He got hit pretty hard," Shula said. "They said toward the end of the 3rd quarter he could have been ready to go back in."