Happy Monday, everyone. Only two more games remain in an Alabama season that uncharacteristically will not include an early December game in Atlanta. The Tide had a successful Saturday, even if it wasn’t as dominant as many fans would have preferred.
Saban said after the game that he challenged the team and they responded. He was particularly pleased in the running game.
Saban said he challenged his team before the game to “play to the standard” and “take it personal.”
“I think that’s the big thing that we wanted to get our players to do is, you’re responsible for the identity that you create and it’s personal in terms of how you play and how you compete in the game to try to dominate the guy you’re playing against,” he said. “And I saw a lot of that in the second half.”
Saban said he was proud of the hard running by Jase McClellan, who had to shoulder more of the load with Jahmyr Gibbs injured. McClellan accounted for 84 yards on 19 carries.
Blake Byler at SI wrote about the final stand by the defense. Byron Young shut down the QB draw on second down, then got the critical sack on third to make it a very difficult situation on fourth.
Now getting desperate to pick up some chunk yardage, Ole Miss lined up for third-and-long with an empty backfield. the Rebels put two wide receivers to the boundary, with three receivers out to the wide side of the field.
Alabama kept its look of four men on the line of scrimmage, three down and outside linebacker Dallas Turner in a two-point stance on the edge.
The Crimson Tide’s seven men in coverage drop back into a zone, and the pass rush of Alabama rushed hard, quickly enclosing the pocket around Dart. Dart got impatient and tried to escape the pocket through a small hole on the left side but it closed quickly — leading to a sack from none other than Byron Young.
Mike Rodak covered that first half gaffe on fourth down that could have been disastrous.
Logic suggested Alabama was trying to draw the Rebels offsides and would punt after the quarter flipped. But as tight ends Cameron Latu and Kendall Randolph both motioned and before Bryce Young was ready for the ball, center Seth McLaughlin snapped it. Young ran into a wall and Alabama’s once-mighty offense had officially run into a ditch.
CBS cameras showed a fiery Young — playing one of his final games in an Alabama uniform — gathering his teammates in a sideline huddle after the play. He was joined by Nick Saban for a tame-by-his-standards message to the offense.
To his credit, Lane Kiffin wasn’t hearing any moral victories.
“I don’t really give a shit about how many yards we had or how close the game was,” Kiffin said. “We didn’t win the game. Two years ago they walked off this field and I said we didn’t come here to cover spreads and come here to play what at the time was the No. 1 team in the country close. So all these things about what you did this good, and freshman running back rushing it, it doesn’t matter. We didn’t win the game. Maybe at some other places that’s good. or it’s been good here the past. It ain’t good enough. We came here to win, to beat Alabama and we didn’t do it. So we’re 0-1 today.”
Oregon lost to Washington on Saturday and is now out of the College Football Playoff race.
TCU’s magical run continues. The No. 4 Horned Frogs beat Texas 17-10 to improve to 10-0 and clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game. More importantly, TCU’s playoff chances are very much alive with two games to go.
No. 25 Washington stunned No. 6 Oregon 37-34 in Eugene, ending any hope the Ducks had of making the the College Football Playoff. It was a thrilling back-and-forth battle between two stellar offenses, and it came down to a Huskies field goal in the final seconds.
And in Pac-12 After Dark action, another playoff contender saw its hopes go down the drain when No. 12 UCLA lost 34-28 to Arizona in Pasadena.
There is a scenario where Alabama could win out and force the committee to choose between them and a two-loss Pac 12 or Big 12 champ, but even if this highly unlikely situation unfolded, it would be a tough sell. Saturday’s win in Ole Miss is the only one on Alabama’s resume that anyone can point to as a feather in the cap. They lost to the other two quality opponents, albeit close and on the road.
In short, it ain’t happening, but I doubt anyone thought it was.
In NFL news, Tua Tagovailoa lit it up yet again. Check out this smooth pump fake.
All he did on Sunday was lead a blowout win with 78% completions, 285 yards and three touchdowns.
Last, Najee Harris has been maligned this season in Pittsburgh, but he answered the bell yesterday with 99 yards on 20 carries, highlighted by this one.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.
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