(2) Alabama 52

(7-0, 4-0 SEC)

Ole Miss 7

(2-4, 0-3 SEC)

Coverage: ESPN2

6:00 PM ET, October 15, 2011

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Oxford, MS

1 2 3 4 T
#2ALA 7 10 28 752
MISS 7 0 0 07

Top Performers

Passing: A. McCarron (ALA) - 224 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: T. Richardson (ALA) - 17 CAR, 183 YDS, 4 TD

Receiving: N. Brassell (MISS) - 4 REC, 101 YDS

Alabama-Mississippi Preview


Although Alabama's offense revolves around Trent Richardson and the ground game, it has proven that it can also rely on quarterback AJ McCarron's arm.

Mississippi also feels like it has found some chemistry in a balanced offense behind quarterback Randall Mackey and running back Jeff Scott, but it has yet to face a defense as stingy as the Crimson Tide's.

Coming off its second shutout, second-ranked Alabama looks to frustrate the retooled Rebels offense and win its eighth straight in the series Saturday in Oxford.

Richardson ranks fifth in the FBS with 729 rushing yards, is tied for third with 11 TDs on the ground and has surpassed 100 yards in each of his last five games. If he can reach the 100-yard mark against a Mississippi team that is 10th in the SEC against the run, allowing an average of 193.0 yards, he'll match the Alabama record of six in a row, set by Shaun Alexander in 1999.

Richardson ran for 107 yards with a touchdown on 19 carries in last Saturday's 34-0 win over Vanderbilt, but that was hardly the story of the game.

McCarron completed 23 of 30 passes and threw for career highs of 237 yards and four touchdowns against a Commodores defense that came in with an FBS-best 14 interceptions. The sophomore had thrown four TD passes in his first five games while averaging 183.8 yards.

"I definitely think we are an offense that can run and pass at will when we are clicking on all cylinders," senior tight end Brad Smelley said. "I think we showed that if you try to load the box, we can definitely make plays over the top and find the zones and the spaces that are open in there. We are a two-phase team so we can run and pass."

Alabama (6-0, 3-0 SEC) can also shut down its opponents' running and passing efforts.

The Crimson Tide limited Vanderbilt to 190 yards in the game, and just 48 yards and two first downs after halftime. They rank first in the FBS in scoring defense at 7.0 points per game, third in total defense with an average of 191.3 yards allowed and expect to have starting linebacker C.J. Mosley back after he missed the past two games with an elbow injury.

"I think this defense is unique," linebacker Nico Johnson said. "There's a lot of leadership on this team. Everyone wants to get the job done."

It's next test comes against a Mississippi team that has had some extra time to fine-tune its offense, which finally seemed to find its groove in its last game.

The Rebels (2-3, 0-2), losers of five straight to ranked foes, have been off since beating Fresno State 38-28 on Oct. 1. They entered that game ranked 118th out of 120 FBS schools in total offense with 236.5 yards per game, prompting coach Houston Nutt to make a second change of the season at quarterback, starting Mackey in place of the struggling Zack Stoudt.

Mackey proved to be up to the challenge, passing for 214 yards with a touchdown, while Scott rushed for a career-high 138 yards.

"This is how you anticipated it the first of the year, an offense much more together," Nutt said. "It seems like we've been just trying to find the right chemistry, didn't have a running game, didn't have a passing game, just didn't look like much of anything the first few weeks. I hope we can really build on this."

That task became more difficult Thursday when Nutt suspended four players, including starting running back Brandon Bolden and center A.J. Hawkins, for breaking team rules. Bolden, who had been slowed by an ankle injury early this season, rushed for 43 yards and two touchdowns against Fresno State.

Wide receiver and kick returner Philander Jones and offensive guard Alex Washington were also suspended for the game, making moving the ball against Alabama likely more difficult.

"You're looking at one of the best teams in the country," Nutt said prior to handing out the suspensions. "Defensively, there have been very few teams that have been able to move the ball against Alabama. They have outstanding quickness and toughness. They fly around to the ball, create problems and cause turnovers."

The Tide held Ole Miss to 243 total yards in last season's 23-10 home win, their seventh straight in the series since a 43-28 loss Oct. 18, 2003.


Passing Leaders

B. Sims64.534872810
J. Coker64.440340
B. Wallace60.131942214
D. Kincade80.012710

Rushing Leaders

D. Henry1729905.811
T. Yeldon1949795.011
J. Walton1065865.55
J. Wilkins523616.91

Receiving Leaders

A. Cooper124172713.916
D. White4050412.64
V. Sanders3969617.86
E. Engram3866217.42