EditorsNote: Edit 1: Corrected stat in Graf 2.
Running back Josh Jacobs scored two touchdowns and Alabama’s defense racked up five sacks in harassing the Mississippi State offense as the No. 1 Crimson Tide shut out the No. 16 Bulldogs 24-0 on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Alabama (10-0, 7-0 SEC), which entered the game averaging 565 yards of total offense, picked up only 305 on Saturday, thanks in part to the Bulldogs’ defense, which entered allowing only 12.3 points and 278 yards per game, second- and sixth-best in FBS, respectively.
The Bulldogs (6-4, 2-4) forced two Crimson Tide turnovers and sacked quarterback Tua Tagovailoa four times, once sending him hobbling into the injury tent late in the third quarter, but they couldn’t overcome the Tide’s overwhelming first quarter.
Tagovailoa, who passed for 164 yards and a touchdown, appeared to take a hit on his injured right knee on a sack by Cameron Dantzler. He emerged from the tent, rode a stationary bike for a while, and didn’t return. Mack Jones finished at quarterback.
“He just got beat up a little bit. I think he’s fine,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said of Tagovailoa in a postgame interview with CBS.
Alabama, which hasn’t lost a home game since September 2015, looked dominating at the outset, scoring on its first two possessions. The Crimson Tide went 74 yards in nine plays, with Damien Harris running the final yard for a touchdown.
After Mississippi State went three-and-out, the Tide marched 83 yards on 13 plays in almost six minutes, capped by Jacobs’ 1-yard run. He finished with 97 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Alabama sacked Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald twice in the next series, another three-and-out.
The Tide held the Bulldogs to 13 yards of total offense in the quarter.
Fitzgerald, the dual threat quarterback, finished with 125 yards passing and minus-23 yards rushing. The Bulldogs had only 169 yards of total offense, and only six first downs to 23 for the Tide.
When Mississippi State fumbled an Alabama punt in the second quarter, the Tide took over at the Bulldogs’ 27 and needed only three plays to score, on a 14-yard swing pass from Tagovailoa to Jacobs to make it 21-0.
Then the Bulldogs’ offense came to life. Running back Kylin Hill ran 38 yards to the Alabama 33-yard line, and two plays later, Aeris Williams caught a 23-yard pass from Fitzgerald to the 12.
Two plays later, it appeared Hill had a 12-yard touchdown catch, but the Bulldogs were called for a block in the back that a replay showed didn’t happen. On the next play, an apparent scoring toss to Williams was called back by a delay-of-game penalty.
Finally, Jace Christmann missed a 41-yard field goal as time expired.
Alabama’s Joseph Bulovas added a 49-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
—Field Level Media