Alabama has won seven of its last eight games, dating back to the 2001 season. The Crimson Tide's 3-1 start is the best start since opening the 1999 season with a 3-1 record.
Alabama/Southern Miss game notes
The Crimson Tide leads the all-time series with Southern Miss, 31-6-2. In addition, Alabama has won 10 of the last 11 meetings dating back to the 1991 season.
Alabama improves to 16-2 (.857) all-time in night games here at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide is 2-0 at night this season and the North Texas and Southern Miss games are the first back-to-back night games in the stadium's history.
The Crimson Tide improves to 7-0 all-time in games played on Sept. 21. The Crimson Tide's first win on this date was a 89-0 victory over Delta State in Montgomery. The last time Alabama played on this date was a 17-7 win at Arkansas in 1996.
The Alabama defense held its third straight opponent to less than 100 rushing yards. In those three games, the Crimson Tide has allowed only 72 total rushing yards against Oklahoma (-23 yards), North Texas (50 yards) and Southern Miss (35 yards).
The Southern Miss game marks the seventh time under coach Dennis Franchione that the Crimson Tide defense has held an opponent to less than 100 rushing yards. UA held four opponents under 100 yards last season and the last three opponents this season.
Southern Miss entered tonight's game averaging 237.1 rushing yards per game, second-best in Conference USA.
The Crimson Tide held Southern Miss tailback Derrick Nix to 101 rushing yards below his season average. Nix, who leads Conference USA and is second in the nation with 158 rushing yards per game, managed only 57 yards on 14 rushing attempts against Alabama. Earlier this year, Alabama held the nation's leading rusher Quentin Griffin (Oklahoma) to three rushing yards on nine attempts. Griffin entered the UA game with an NCAA-leading 237 rushing yards per game.
Alabama has allowed only 245 rushing yards in its four games this season, an avergae of 61.25 rushing yards per game.
In the last 10 quarters, the UA defense has allowed only 361 total yards offense, an avergae of just over 36 yards per quarter.
The Alabama defense did not allow a point tonight against Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles lone score came on a 54-yard interception return by Michael Boley, cutting UA's lead to 14-7 with 27 seconds left in the third quarter. Last week against North Texas, the defense allowed only one touchdown after an Alabama fumble at its own six-yard line. UNT scored three plays later.
In the last two games, the Alabama defense has allowed only seven points, an average of 3.5 points per game. In addition, UA opponents have scored 14 total points in those two games. The 14 points are the fewest points allowed in back-to-back games by Alabama since holding Arkansas (Sept. 21) and and Kentucky (Oct. 5) to seven points each in 1996.
Alabama's defense forced seven fumbles in the game against Southern Miss. Senior defensive tackle Kenny King forced two fumbles, sophomore defensive end Antwan Odom and redshirt freshman cornerback Charlie Peprah added one each. Alabama forced four of those fumbles in the first quarter. Of the seven forced fumbles, Alabama recovered four.
The Crimson Tide forced five turnovers in the game, including three in the second half. BYU was the last Alabama opponent to fumble five or more times in a game, losing two fumbles in the Crimson Tide's 38-31 win in the 1998 season opener here at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Strong safety Waine Bacon recovered two fumbles in the game against Southern Miss. The senior recovered his first fumble at the USM 27-yard line in the first quarter, but after a penalty and sack UA was forced to punt. Later in the half, Alabama recorded its second interception of the season and that drive resulted in a missed field goal. In the third quarter, Bacon recovered a USM fumble at the Crimson Tide 36-yard line before UA was forced to punt. Bacon has recovered two fumbles this year and three in his career.
Peprah recorded his first career interception for the Crimson Tide in the second quarter of tonight's game. The Plano, Texas native picked off a USM pass at the UA 38-yard line and added a seven-yard return to the UA 45-yard line. Alabama followed with a six-play, 35-yard drive, but missed a 37-yard FG attempt.
Alabama has scored on its opening possession in all four games this season after senior tailback Ahmaad Galloway scored on a six-yard run with 6:44 left in the first quarter. Galloway's TD run capped an 11-play, 89-yard drive and gave the Crimson Tide a 7-0 lead.
Galloway's six-yard TD run gives him at least one rushing touchdown in six consecutive games dating back to the 2001 season. The senior leads Alabama with four rushing TDs this season. He also has 17 career rushing TDs in his four-year career.
Junior A-back Shaud Williams had his best game at Alabama, rushing 21 times for 135 yards in the win over Southern Miss. The 135-yard effort was his fourth career 100-yard rushing game, including three as a freshman in 1999 at Texas Tech. The 21 rushing attempts equaled the second-most by Williams in his three-year career. Williams also had 21 rushing attempts against Colorado (230 yds, 2 TDs) and Iowa State (148 yds, 2 TDs) in 1999 at Texas Tech. The most rushing attempts by Williams was 24 carries against North Texas (151 yds, 2 TDs) also in 1999 while at Texas Tech.
In addition, Williams eclipsed with the 1,000-yard rushing mark in his career with a 43-yard run in the first quarter. Williams 43-yard run was his first rushing attempt of the game and set up the Crimson Tide with a first-and-goal at the USM six-yard line. Through 26 career games, Williams has 197 rushing attempts for 1,119 yards and seven TDs. The bulk of those numbers came in his two-year career at Texas Tech, where he rushed 167 times for for 884 yards and six TDs. In four games this season, Williams has 30 rushing attempts for 235 yards and one TD.
As a team, Alabama ran the ball 64 times for 351 yards and two TDs. Alabama averaged 5.48 yards per rushing attempt against USM. The Crimson Tide had 58 rushing attempts for 336 rushing yards in last week's 33-7 win over North Texas.
In its last two games, Alabama has rushed for 891 yards (122 attempts), accounting for over 90 percent of its rushing yards (977 yards) this season.
Alabama senior quarterback Tyler Watts sprained his left foot on the Crimson Tide's opening possession and did not return to the game. The senior from Pelham, Ala., completed two of three passes for 12 yards and ran two times for six yards against Southern Miss.
Watts completed one of two passes on that opening drive for six yards, tying Joe Namath (1962-64) for 10th place on the school's all-time passing yardage list at 2,714 career passing yards.
Senior punter Lane Bearden had his second rushing attempt of the 2002 season, recording a 19-yard run in the third quarter. With Alabama facing a fourth and one at its own 35-yard line, Bearden ran 19 yards for a first down after a bobbled snap to give UA a first down at the USM 46-yard line. Bearden's other rushing attempt this season resulted in a three-yard TD run on a fake punt in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma.
Redshirt sophomore Brian Bostick (Cullman) made his Alabama debut against Southern Miss and capped a 12-play, 39-yard drive with a 39-yard field goal to give the Crimson Tide a 17-7 lead with 10:06 left in the game. The 12-play scoring drive included 10 rushing plays by the Bama offense.