MS/AL All-Star Classic Update

MOBILE - Mississippi was literally decapitated in the 15th Annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic.<P> In the game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday, the Alabama team never gave up a sack, never had to punt and never saw Mississippi drive the ball with any effectiveness on offense.<P> "The streak is now at four," sighed Mississippi coach Greg Wall, referring to the number of games Mississippi has now lost in the series.

Wall's troops, led by 12 Mississippi State signees, actually scored first in the game as the Alabama stars botched a Statue of Liberty play on their first possession.

Mississippi recovered a fumble and scored on its first play, with Hernando runner Kevin Dockery reversing direction on a sweep play for a 3-yard score. Scott Shurden booted the extra point kick to make to make the 7-0 lead an all-MSU production.

The lead was short-lived, though, as Alabama drove for two scores on its next two possessions and took control of the game.

Alabama quarterbacks Graeme McFarland and Brandon Cox combined for 16-of-23 passing numbers and 155 yards.

Running back Lee Baker and Kenneth Darby spearheaded a 155-yard ground night for the Alabama stars, who outgained Mississippi in total offense by a 224-50 yardage comparison.

Mississippi coaches chose Aries Nelson and Ken Topps as quarterbacks for the game but inserted Brett Morgan as the starter once the week of practices arrived. All three are ticketed to attend school and play at MSU.

"The other two had been primarily shotgun quarterbacks in high school and they had trouble taking snaps under center when practice started," Wall said.

Morgan was 3-of-8 passing in the game and didn't come out until less than six minutes remained in the second quarter.

Nelson entered the fray and threw complete on his first pass, but the late Mississippi drive looked stalled until the final play of the half. Nelson took the final snap and eluded a heavy rush, criss-crossing through a field of would-be tacklers for a 39-yard score.

Shurden had booted a field goal and Mississippi trailed by just 21-17 at the break. The Magnolia Staters would score no more points, though, as Alabama commanded the final two quarters.

Nelson's seven carries for 50 yards represented the only Mississippi runner with more than 10 yards. Darby and Baker combined for 26 carries and 115 of Alabama's 155 ground total.

Eight Alabama receivers caught passes and Cox was named the Alabama MVP.

MSU signee Darren Williams, with four tackles, two receptions and an interception was named the Mississippi MVP.

Southern Miss signee Jermaine Williams of Durant led the Mississippi defense with eight tackles while MSU recruit Kenny Kern of Clarksdale had seven. Kinji McNair and Jayme Mitchell also had seven each.

The Alabama defense was paced by Auburn signee Tyrone Martin's eight stops. Mississippi gave up five sacks and yielded a safety when Morgan was pinned down in the endzone early in the third period.


Pat Wright is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page.

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