Wide Receiver, DB Spark Mississippi Win

Mississippi jumped on top of Alabama 20-0 early and never looked back on the way to victory.

Mobile, Ala.--An opportunistic defense and a strong running game made all the difference for Mississippi on Monday night as they dominated Alabama 26-7 to win the annual All-Star Classic game.

Defensive back Alonzo Lawrence was named the game's MVP as he returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown and put the clamps on Julio Jones the entire night, holding the talented receiver to just one reception for nine yards.

Alonzo Lawrence was impressive at cornerback for the Mississippi squad.

Mississippi wasted little time in getting the ball rolling on a cold Monday night at Ladd-Peebles Stadium as Darius Barksdale was the workhorse for the blue team. In a drive that covered 77 yards on 14 plays and ended with a Brett Jeffcoat pass to Chris Lofton for 10 yards for the first score of the game, it was Barksdale that got the job done. Carrying the ball five times for 29 yards, Barksdale and the Mississippi line set the tone for the game early. He would finish with 15 carries for 73 yards on the night.

The blue defense then followed suit as Prattville's Casey Weston got the starting nod for the Alabama team and completed his first two passes for a total of four yards before a third-down scramble netted just three yards. A 13-yard punt set up the Mississippi offense in good field position at the 50-yard line and it took just one play for DeAndre Brown to make his presence known.

Following a false start, Jeffcoat dropped back to pass and hit Brown crossing over the middle from the left. Splitting the seam and racing all the way across the field, Brown picked up a block and scored the touchdown to give Mississippi a commanding 14-point lead. He finished with two catches for 62 yards and says this game was one he and his teammates were really looking forward to.

"The whole week of practice was really like a game-type situation," Brown says. "Everybody came out and played hard. We put it together and used everything in the past as motivation as far as Mississippi being the down team the last couple of years. A lot of these guys aren't going to get to play football again so we wanted to leave out of here with a win."

The two teams traded punts, before Alabama finally got a break late in the first quarter. Holding the Mississippi offense and forcing a punt from the 37, a bad snap gave Alabama the ball at the 20-yard line where Auburn commitment Barrett Trotter entered for his first series. Unfortunately it didn't turn out well for the Briarwood standout as a second down pass intended for Jones was tipped into the air and intercepted by Charles Mitchell. It would be the first of three hard luck interceptions on the night for Trotter as he finished 11-15 for 117 yards and a touchdown.

Trotter throws a deep out to Dekendrick Moncrief.

Alabama's defense finally held Mississippi following the Trotter interception and forced a punt from the 34-yard line. Brett Baer boomed the ball over the head of Burton Scott and it finally rolled dead at the Alabama two-yard line. Trotter's rough first half continued as he was hit on a two-step drop and the ball went directly into the hands of Mississippi's Charles Rancifer. He walked into the endzone for a score to put Mississippi up 20-0. Perhaps the only bright spot of the half for Alabama came when the extra point was wide left.

Starting at its own 30 on the next drive, Auburn commitment Reggie Hunt raced around right end for 13 yards. It was the biggest gain of the half for Alabama to that point and moved the ball out to the 43. Weston followed with a seven-yard gain and just like that the offense was getting things going.

Later in the drive Weston hit Scott for 16 yards to push it to the 29. That's when the Mississippi defense stiffened as a 12-yard sack of Weston by Trevor Stigers put the offense in a hole. Alabama eventually went for it on fourth and 15, but Weston's scramble for no gain gave the ball back to Mississippi with just over five minutes left in the half. That's how the first half would end with Alabama trailing by 20.

As bad as the first half was, the Alabama offense came out smoking in the second half behind the play of Trotter. Taking over on its own 41-yard line following a 37-yard kickoff return by Scott, Alabama went to work as Trotter hit DeKendrick Moncrief for nine yards and then Courtney Upshaw for an eight-yard gain. Following a three-yard gain by Hunt, Trotter connected with Julio Jones for nine yards to move the ball to the Mississippi 30-yard line. One play later Trotter dropped back to pass and lofted a perfect strike to Moncrief in the endzone for a touchdown.

Now back in the game, Alabama got the ball back right away as Barksdale fumbled on his own 38 after a hit by Jerrell Harris. Picking up where he left off, Trotter again marched Alabama into scoring position as he hit Hunt out of the backfield for a 21-yard gain down to the 18. Hunt finished the game with 15 yards rushing to lead the Alabama squad and also added 32 receiving yards. After a one-yard gain on first down, Trotter again hit Hunt out of the backfield. Bouncing outside, Hunt raced into the endzone, but the play was called back for illegal motion.

Reggie Hunt looks for running room.

It proved to be a huge play in the game although Alabama would recover and pick up the first down thanks to a heads up play by Trotter. Flushed out of the pocket, Trotter flipped the ball underhand to Anthony Landrum for 12 yards. An offsides penalty then gave Alabama the first down and set up the play of the game. On first and goal from the five Trotter looked to Jones on the left side only to have Lawrence step in front of the throw and take it 95 yards the other way for the score.

"We had a z-screen called which is just a turn-around for Julio on the outside," Trotter says. "I should have checked off the play because the coverage they had I didn't know if it was necessarily going to work. I thought I would see what happens because they could have been doing it for a particular reason. The guy came up and made a good play. Other than catching it and throwing it there's not much to it on that play and the defensive guy made a good play on it."

That basically put an end to the contest as both teams failed to get on the scoreboard any more to make the final score Mississippi 26 and Alabama 7. The loss ends a two-year winning streak for Alabama in the game.


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