Top-ranked Alabama put forth a dominant effort in its last contest and looks to ride the momentum when it hosts Ole Miss on Saturday in SEC play. The Crimson Tide outgained Vanderbilt 677-76 during a 59-0 trouncing and look to remain unbeaten against the Rebels, who had a bye last weekend.
Alabama set a program record with 38 first downs against Vanderbilt but coach Nick Saban expects a tougher battle against well-rested Ole Miss. “This is a team that has beat us two out of the last three years, and we’ve played some shootout kind of games with them,” Saban said at a press conference. “They’ve had two really good wins this year. They’re fourth nationally in passing, and they make a lot of explosive plays.” The Rebels, who are averaging 427 yards per game through the air, average 36 points per game and aim to continue the assault against an Alabama defense tied for fourth in scoring defense (10 points per game) and tied for seventh in total defense (248 yards per game). The Crimson Tide have yet to commit a turnover this season and have gone 30 consecutive quarters without one dating back to last November.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Alabama -28
ABOUT OLE MISS (2-1, 0-0 SEC): Sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson has passed for 1,281 yards and 11 touchdowns against four interceptions through the first three games with his lowest-yardage outing being a 363-yard showing in a loss to California. Sophomore A.J. Brown is the best of the receivers but the player with 16 receptions for 389 yards and four touchdowns is a game-day decision due to a sprained MCL in his left knee. Senior outside linebacker DeMarquis Gates leads the defense with 25 tackles but the unit is waiting for top-notch senior defensive end Marquis Haynes (25 career sacks) to pick up the pace — he has just half a sack this season.
ABOUT ALABAMA (4-0, 1-0): Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts has passed for 550 yards and four touchdowns but continues to make his biggest impact as the team’s leading rusher with 360 yards. Junior running back Damien Harris has 309 yards and six touchdowns after piling up a career-best 151 against Vanderbilt, while junior receiver Calvin Ridley (20 receptions, 262 yards) is tied for third in school history on the all-time receptions list (179) with current Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones (2008-10). Junior free safety Ronnie Harrison and senior linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton share the team tackle lead with 20 apiece.
1. Alabama recorded a 48-43 victory over Ole Miss last season after the Rebels prevailed in each of the previous two seasons.
2. The Crimson Tide rolled up 496 rushing yards in the demolishment of Vanderbilt.
3. Rebels junior C Sean Rawlings (left ankle) underwent surgery during the bye week and is unlikely to play.
PREDICTION: Alabama 45, Ole Miss 27