De­fense pow­ers No. 1 Alabama

The Sun Herald (Sunday) - - Sports - BY JOHN ZENOR

TUSCALOOSA, ALA.

Josh Jacobs ran for a touch­down and caught a scor­ing pass and No. 1 Alabama had its sec­ond straight shutout in a 24-0 vic­tory over No. 18 Mis­sis­sippi State on Satur­day.

With quar­ter­back Tua Tagovailoa still bat­tling a gimpy right knee, the Crim­son Tide (10-0, 7-0 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence, No. 1 CFP) turned to de­fense for an­other vin­tage per­for­mance.

The of­fense raced to a fast start but mostly stalled from there against the Bull­dogs (6-4, 2-4) and the na­tion’s No. 2 scor­ing de­fense.

Tagovailoa started the fourth quar­ter on a sta­tion­ary bike after get­ting his right knee checked out in the med­i­cal tent fol­low­ing a hard hit. He didn’t re­turn and wasn’t needed, mainly be­cause of a de­fense that was over­shad­owed much of the sea­son by an of­fense that had led the na­tion in scor­ing much of the sea­son.

Fresh from a 29-0 vic­tory over No. 9 LSU, the Tide de­fense hasn’t al­lowed a point in nine-plus quar­ters.

Alabama had five sacks and Mis­sis­sippi State had four in a rough day for both quar­ter­backs.

Tagovailoa was a 14-of-21 pass­ing for 164 yards with a

touch­down and an in­ter­cep­tion. He also lost a fum­ble on a botched ex­change with Damien Har­ris.

Backup Jalen Hurts missed his sec­ond straight game with an an­kle in­jury.

Jacobs ran for 97 yards on 20 car­ries as Alabama. He scored on a 1-yard run and a 14-yard catch.

The Bull­dogs stuffed Har­ris on the goal line on a late fourth-down at­tempt.

Nick Fitzger­ald was 11 of 20 for 125 yards for Mis­sis­sippi State, which gained 44 just yards on 30 rushes.

Alabama scored touch­downs on its first two drives, con­sum­ing more than 10 min­utes com­bined with 156 yards. The Bull­dogs mostly held the Tide’s pro­lific of­fense in check after that.

Alabama out­gained Mis­sis­sippi State 305-169 in to­tal yards.

The Tide’s third TD was set up by a fum­bled punt re­turn at Mis­sis­sippi State’s 27 in the sec­ond quar­ter.

THE TAKE­AWAY

Mis­sis­sippi State: Penal­ties helped cost op­por­tu­ni­ties to make this game close as Bull­dogs couldn’t cash in on sev­eral promis­ing drives. Kylin Hill had a 38-yard run but the run­ning game couldn’t get much go­ing be­yond that. Alabama: No play longer than 25 yards on of­fense. De­fense had 10 tack­les for loss and Alabama didn’t have a penalty.

HOME STREAK

Alabama matched the school record with its 24th con­sec­u­tive home vic­tory. The mark was ini­tially set from 1971-74 at Le­gion Field and Bryant-Denny Sta­dium.

RODGER MALLISON rmalli­son@star-tele­gram.com

Dez Bryant suf­fered an in­jury in his sec­ond prac­tice with New Or­leans this week and will not play for the Saints this sea­son.

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