2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 7 - Alabama at Ole Miss
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Oct. 15 Alabama 52 … at Ole Miss 7
CFN Analysis: Everything worked to perfection against an awful Ole Miss team, but don't take it for granted. This is the type of game that some teams would lose focus and struggle, but Bama didn't have any problems led by Trent Richardson's wild four-touchdown day, highlighted by a 76-yard third quarter touchdown dash capped off by a hesitation move that'll be played over and over again on any Heisman-talk highlights. AJ McCarron was terrific, completing 19-of-24 passes for 224 yards and a score. It was all helped by an O line that did a great job of paving the way for the running game while keeping McCarron clean on the way to 615 yards of total offense. Next up is a punchless Tennessee team before getting two weeks off to prepare for LSU. The goal will be to keep everyone healthy and move on.
Ole Miss doesn't have much of an offense and it didn't have any prayer of moving the ball on the Bama defense, gaining just 141 yards with nine first downs. Not having Brandon Bolden didn't help the cause, but the running game wasn't going to go anywhere. Randall Mackey gave it a shot, running 12 times for just six yards, while completing a mere 10-of-21 passes for 113 yards and a pick, but he didn't get any room to breathe and no one was making plays. With Arkansas up next, the beleaguered defense has to be far better up front and has to generate more pressure than it was able to against the Tide. If the defense isn't coming up with a slew of turnovers, the offense isn't going to do much.
(AP) OXFORD, Miss. -- Trent Richardson rushed for 183 yards and a career-high four touchdowns and No. 2 Alabama's defense smothered foundering Mississippi in a 52-7 win on Saturday night.
Richardson put the Rebels (2-4, 0-3 SEC) away with an electric 76-yard run midway through the third quarter and now leads the nation with six straight 100-yard games. He's scored 16 touchdowns this season for the Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0) and displayed his rare combination of power and speed as he tossed aside Rebels with ease.
It was the most-lopsided defeat since a 49-3 loss to Florida in 1981 for Ole Miss, playing the first of three straight games against ranked opponents. The Rebels have lost eight straight to Alabama.
Alabama (6-0) at Ole Miss (2-3) Oct. 15, 6:00, ESPN2/ESPN3
Here's The Deal … Alabama has beaten Ole Miss seven times in a row and is almost certain to make it eight without a major upset and a major gag. The Tide is playing better than any team in America, and that includes LSU and Oklahoma, but it's getting a break to gear up for LSU with a 34-0 win over Vanderbilt and with a date against Tennessee after this week's apparent layup. At the moment, it's all LSU, LSU, LSU, and the Tide has to try to keep its head on straight and focused on taking one step at a time and to keep improving.
The No. 1 scoring defense in America has allowed a grand total of 42 points and hasn't been pushed by anyone on the slate, and Ole Miss isn't likely to give any sort of a shove.
The Rebels stepped up against Fresno State cranking out 38 points, but the offense is 114th in the nation and doesn't have any sort of a passing game to test an air-tight Tide secondary. With nothing to lose, Ole Miss can let it rip and take several big chances to try to do to Bama what it did to Florida in 2008, but this Rebel team doesn't have the same talent or the same consistency.
Call this a test of focus. If Alabama can be sharp and plays up to its capabilities, it'll come up with an easy blowout, but there are still things to work on. The pass rush can still be better and the passing game could be more effective, and this is the tune-up game to keep improving.
Why Alabama Might Win: The Bama defense is playing at another level of greatness. To do anything against it, an offense has to either have a power running game that isn't afraid to get physical and bullish, or it has to have a balanced offense with a passing game able to hit on the short to midrange throws on a consistent basis to keep the linebackers off the line. Ole Miss can't do either of those things.
The Rebels aren't doing much of anything on the ground, and the passing attack is 114th in the nation in efficiency. This year Ole Miss has rushed for eight touchdowns with four coming against Southern Illinois and four last week against an awful Fresno State run defense. That's it, while the quarterbacks haven't hit the 50% mark for the year. Ole Miss is 109th in the nation in third down conversions, and Bama is a killer at getting off the field allowing opponents to convert on 28% of their chances. The Rebels aren't going to go on any long marches.
Why Ole Miss Might Win: The secondary hasn't been all that bad. The Rebel defensive front might be a disappointment, but it's come up with seven sacks in the last three games and is starting to do a better job of applying pressure. The Rebel defensive backs made four picks against Southern Illinois and have eight on the season, and no one has been able to bomb away with too much effectiveness. Fresno State's Derek Carr threw for 281 yards and lost, and Georgia's Aaron Murray threw for 68 yards and two scores in a fight.
The Ole Miss special teams need to come up with a big play or three, especially in the punting game. Jeff Scott leads the nation averaging over 20 yards per punt return, and he's been solid on kickoff returns, too. Tyler Campbell is an All-America caliber punter bombing away for close to 47 yards per kick, and he has to own the field position battle by keeping the Tide pushed back deep. Bama's return game is terrific, but the punting game is mediocre
What To Watch Out For: Ole Miss junior Charles Sawyer has been one of the most consistent playmaking defensive backs in America with a pick in four of the five games to go along with 28 tackles. He started out the year with a 96-yard pick six against BYU, and last week he came up with a key interception in the win over Fresno State. The 5-11, 174-pounder still needs to be more of a lock-down corner, but he's making enough plays to keep teams from staying away from him.
Because Alabama hasn't been good enough, and Ole Miss isn't going to have a hard enough time, now it's looking more and more like the Tide will get back two of its most explosive players. Linebacker C.J. Mosley injured his elbow against Arkansas, and it looked like he'd be out for a while, but instead it wasn't nearly as bad as originally feared and he's expected to return. Eddie Lacy was the team's best home run hitter over the first five games, but he had a problem with a toe injury and was out for Vanderbilt. He wasn't needed, and he's probably not going to have to do too much this week. However, he'll be back in the mix as a nice complement to Trent Richardson.
What Will Happen: Once again, Alabama will be able to roll without much of a problem using its blend of power running game and nasty defense to win in a walk. It'll be a big deal if Ole Miss is able to get anything going through the air, while the ground game will hit a brick wall against the nation's No. 1 run D.
CFN Prediction: Alabama 37 … Ole Miss 6
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