It has been many/many years since Mississippi and Alabama played their annual All-Star contest with each state's best against best. In fact, it had gotten so bad that last year only 19 of the original 37 players who were selected from the Magnolia state played in the game.
The result was that both states agreed to move the game to Mid-December to remove all of the issues. It also gave the kids a chance to play right after their season was over so they were in "game day" shape and give the college scouts a chance to see what the top players could do in an all-star setting.
This year, 36 of the 37 players from Mississippi who were originally selected to play in the game participated. 34 of the 37 players from Alabama played.
Best against the best. Finally.
What transpired was something not many were expecting, considering Alabama had won 8 out of the last 10 contest. Mississippi thoroughly dominated the game and won 26-7.
It all started on the opening drive when Mississippi received the ball to start the game and had a masterful 17 play/77 yard drive that ended in a 10 yard TD reception to 2 star WR Chris Lofton from 2 star Bret Jefcoat (La Tech commit).
There was one consistent on that drive, and that was to get Tig going and for him to run behind the rear of their top offensive lineman, Quinn Sanford (Ole Miss commit), as they ran behind him on 9 of the 12 rushes on the opening drive.
And just like that, the tone had been set. Mississippi was coming with its best this year, unlike the past years.
Alabama went three and out and things turned for the worse when they shanked the punt for 13 yards to midfield. After a false start, Bret Jefcoat threw a dart down the middle of the field to his 5 Star WR DeAndre Brown and the 6' 6", 220 blew past the defenders for a 55 yard TD.
Alabama went three and out again on their next possession but forced Mississippi to kick the ball after they could not continue a nice 7 play drive they had going, which included five rushes from Tig Barksdale.
|WR #84 DeAndre Brown|
For all practical purposes, the game was over after that play, but Alabama did muster up a nice drive for a 59 yard TD to start the 3rd quarter. They added to the momentum by forcing a fumble from Tig Barksdale on the next possession. But again, Mississippi's brightest stars shined the brightest as Scout.com #8 CB, Alonzo Lawrence, returned a pick 94 yards for a TD. Alonzo cut right in front of Scout.com's #1 rated WR, Julio Jones, and took it to the house. In fairness to Jones, he was playing with a turf toe, but in this foot race between the two down the field, Lawrence left some dust in Jones' face.
The score was now 26-7. Game/set/match.
If you want to look at where they game was won, some could point to the two defensive touchdowns that Mississippi produced, but the game was won on the line of scrimmage.
Alabama rushed the ball 22 times for 22 yards. On Mississippi's side, they ran the ball 35 times for 107 yards with Barksdale leading the way with 73 yards on 15 carries.
The other starter at defensive tackle was Ole Miss commit, Willie Packer (2 1/2 tackles for losses, 6 hurries) , who is rated the #32 defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com. Packer was the most explosive defensive tackle on the field, as his quickness allowed him to fly by every would be defender all night long. Andre used his brutal strength and high motor to disrupt his side while Packer simply just blew by his defenders. These two defensive tackles were the key to the whole game, as they were able to shut down the running game and put pressure on the QB.
On the outside, Mississippi had studs left and right to put pressure on the QB as they went with Ole Miss commit Marlon Walls (2 solo's, 1 sack, 7 hurries) who is rated as Scout.com's #15 SLB. Marlon lined up opposite of another Ole Miss commit in Scout.com's #77 DE Josh Tillman (5 hurries), MSU commit and Scout.com's #70 rated DE Trevor Stigers (3 hurries) and 2 star Terrance Pope (2 hurries) were also in the rotation and four wore down the Alabama offensive linemen and harassed their signal caller all night.
The defensive backfield benefited from the constant pressure that the defensive line was able to muster but their two corners, Alonzo Lawrence (2 solos, 1 assist, 1 int for 94 yards) and 2 star Ole Miss commit Derrick Herman (2 solos and 1 int), were what you term "shut down" corners.
Alonzo had the focal matchup of the night, as he went head to head all night with Scout.com's #1 ranked WR, Julio Jones. Lawrence simply shut him down as Jones finished the night with 1 catch for 9 yards.
In a reverse trend from what we have seen in recent years, Mississippi was simply too talented along the defensive line and secondary while the playmakers on offense were too good for Alabama to overcome.
**To view the 55 yard TD reception from DeAndre Brown, watch below.
**To view highlights from the game's MVP, Alonzo Lawrence, watch below
**To watch the video interview with Alonzo Lawrence after the game, click below.