Alabama’s struggling run game finally got going as the No. 1 Crimson Tide blanked No. 21 Ole Miss on Saturday, 25-0.
The Tide entered the contest last in the SEC in rushing yards per game, but tailbacks T.J. Yeldon (121 yards) and Kenyon Drake (99 yards) helped pace a ground attack that piled up 254 yards while averaging 6.4 yards per carry against the Rebels.
Meanwhile, the Alabama defense befuddled Ole Miss, holding the Rebels to 46 rushing yards and 205 total yards while forcing two turnovers. It was the fifth shutout by the Bama defense in its last 17 games and the first shutout of Ole Miss since 1998.
The first half wasn’t pretty for the Tide. Quarterback A.J. McCarron dinked and dunked his way down the field while the rushing attack gained just 36 yards, so all Bama could manage was three field goals to take a 9-0 lead at the half.
Eventually, Alabama’s talent turned things around. Yeldon made a nice spin move on a 68-yard touchdown run to make the game more comfortable for the Tide. Later, Drake added a 50-yard burst to finish off the scoring. The other two points came on a sack of Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace by C.J. Mosely.
The hurry-up offense of Ole Miss was largely ineffective and couldn’t convert the few times it had a chance to score. The Rebels advanced as far as the Alabama 7-yard line in the third quarter, but Wallace’s 4th and 2 pass fell incomplete. Wallace finished 17 of 31 for 159 yards.
McCarron went 25 of 32 for 180 yards and an interception. Not very flashy, but his precision passing helped Alabama hold the ball for 38 minutes.
But the story of this game was the Alabama running attack. It if truly is back again — and here’s betting it is — this team will once again be very hard to beat.