Tide Rolls

Thanks to an inept Ole Miss offense against an Alabama defense touted as one of the country's best, the Crimson Tide basically wrapped up a win before halftime in a national headline showdown that turned out to be anything but.

Final score: Alabama 22, Ole Miss 3.

The Rebels, once ranked fourth nationally before losing at South Carolina 16-10 on Sept. 24, will most likely fall out of all polls for the first time this season. Last week they were 16th in the USA Today coaches' poll and 20th in the Associated Press poll.

But that isn't the worst part of the story. It's the standings.

A team with preseason hopes of a trip to Atlanta in December for the Southeastern Conference championship game now finds itself with a losing conference mark heading into a non-conference game next Saturday night against UAB in Oxford.

The Rebels fell to 3-2 on the season and 1-2 in Southeastern Conference play. Third-ranked Alabama improved to 6-0, 3-0.

Ole Miss had 19 total yards in the first half and trailed 16-0. Jevan Snead was 2-for-12 for 14 yards. Ole Miss had five yards rushing and one first down. Alabama had 11 first downs.

The Rebel defense stood tall and drew ovation after ovation in the first half from those UM supporters among the largest crowd in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium history (62,657).

For the game, the stats were a lot closer than the contest itself. Ole Miss wound up with 212 yards to Alabama's 354.

Snead was a dismal 11-for-34 with four interceptions and 140 yards through the air.

The Rebel rushers accounted for 72 yards on the day. The Tide, rushing for 200 yards, had 17 first downs to Ole Miss' 12.

The dagger was a fourth-and-1 pitch to Alabama running back Mark Ingram that all but sealed the Rebels' fate with 55 seconds to go - before halftime, that is - his 36-yard run to the southeast corner of the end zone giving his team a decided edge in this one at 16-0. The Tide was comfortabely in control.

Alabama placekicker Leigh Tiffin was the game's leading scorer with five made field goals and an extra point for 16 points. Tiffin surpassed his dad, Van, to become the third all-time scoring leader in Alabama history.

Ole Miss at long last got its only points with 7:49 to go in the third quarter, a 26-yard field goal by Joshua Shene when a drive stalled at the Tide 7. That cut the UA lead to 16-3.

Tiffin added two more field goals - 21 and 31 yards - to account for the final score.

The Rebels had five yards of total offense in the first quarter. Alabama, meanwhile, had only three points in the opening period on a 25-yard Tiffin field goal, capping a drive that started at its own 34 and stalled on the Rebel 8.

The Rebels' initial first down of the game came following an Alabama punt on a Snead to Shay Hodge 13-yard pass to the Rebel 34. But the drive wound up stalling shortly thereafter.

Ole Miss had a chance to trail just 6-0 at halftime, but Alabama got 10 more before the break.

After a made Tiffin field goal gave his team the six-point lead, the Rebels were flagged for holding on the kickoff return, pinning them back at their own 6. Four plays later Alabama's Cory Reamer burst through and blocked a Tyler Campbell punt that gave the ball to the Tide at the 5.

But that vaunted Ole Miss defense stood tall again, and four plays later Bama was still at the 5. Tiffin made it 9-0 on 22-yard a field goal with 3:56 left before halftime.

But it was the Alabama defense that came right back and held Ole Miss to three downs and a punt. And six plays later on that fourth down jaunt by Ingram, the Tide was rolling on to victory.

In the second half, Ole Miss actually got deep into Tide territory a couple of times. One was the Shene field goal, and another drive was stopped on one of Snead's four interceptions.

The Rebels were at the Crimson Tide 10 with second and goal, but Snead's pass that was intended for Shay Hodge was picked off in the left flat by Kareem Jackson and returned 79 yards deep into Ole Miss territory. Snead was the last man standing and knocked Jackson out of bounds to prevent a Tide touchdown.

The Tide's Trent Richardson fumbled it right back to Ole Miss on the very next play.

"Alabama is an excellent football team," said Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt. "Our defense was outstanding. They played so hard."

Offensively the Rebels' four interceptions, blocked punt, and one fumble lost all were heavy contributors in the loss.

"You can't have that against a good football team," Nutt said. "It's just too big a mountain to climb when you do that."


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