If you’re a fan of offensive football, move on. There’s not a whole helluva lot to see here.
In what has been the dictionary-definition of a defensive slugfest, the visiting Alabama Crimson Tide out-slugged Ole Miss defensively in taking a 14-3 lead into the locker room. The first touchdown of the half came on a Blake Sims one-yard touchdown run with just over four minutes remaining in the second quarter.
That was just the third touchdown Ole Miss’ defense has surrendered this season, and its first since Sept. 13.
The second touchdown, appropriately enough, was a defensive one as the Tide’s Alab Cyrus returned a fumble 13 yards for the score with just under a minute left in the half. The touchdown should’ve been called back, however, as Cyrus Jones was shown clearly on the replay committing a facemask penalty as he knocked the ball out of I’Tavius Mathers‘ left arm.
The Tide had 176 yards of offense, 68 of which came on the drive that was capped by Sims’ short scamper off a play fake. The Rebels, meanwhile, were held to 100 first-half yards and converted one of their seven third-down attempts. The visitors weren’t much more successful in the latter category in converting three of nine.
A microcosm of the defensive dominance came in the form of Amari Cooper. The Tide wide receiver came into the game leading the country in receiving yards per game (163.8) and second in receptions per game (10.8); he was held to four catches for just 22 yards in the first two quarters.
Unfortunately, the game also featured a horrific leg injury suffered by ‘Bama running back Kenyan Drake very early in the second quarter. Drake, who leads the Tide with four rushing touchdowns, was taken off the field on a cart with an injury that very much has the look of a season-ending one. Just one piece of advice: if you haven’t seen a replay of the injury, continue doing so. Not only for the sight of it but for the sound of Drake’s screams. You’ll thank me later, trust me.