Building the Ole rivalry

Building the Ole rivalry
CW File

On Sept. 29, 2013, Alabama hosted Ole Miss and put on a defensive showcase, shutting out the then No.21 Rebels. That day the Crimson Tide defense held Bo Wallace and company to just 205 yards total and only 159 passing yards.

Since then the two have met three times, ending in spectacular fashion every time.

In 2014 with both teams undefeated, No. 3 Alabama traveled to Oxford to take on No. 11 Ole Miss. Trailing by six points with two minutes left in the game, Alabama started to march. It went 65 yards in 1:23. Blake Sims took the snap and lofted a pass to OJ Howard in the end zone. Instead Senquez Golson caught the pass falling out of the end zone for a touchback, sealing the upset win for Ole Miss.

Ole Miss traveled to Tuscaloosa in 2015 with one plan: defeat Alabama back to back games for the first time ever. Coach Nick Saban made a quarterback change to try and spark the offense. The plan backfired leaving Alabama trailing 17-3 when Jake Coker entered the game on Alabama’s last drive of the first half.

Alabama started the half with a tip drill play gone wrong, as a high snap caused Chad Kelly to just throw a ball up into double coverage. Kelly’s pass tipped off both Alabama defensive backs and landed in Quincy Adeboyejo’s hands for a 66-yard touchdown. The Rebels added a pair of field goals to go up 20, from which the Crimson Tide would never recover, losing 43-37.

The teams would combine for 80 points, 45 first downs and 936 yards.

In 2016, Alabama was on its third quarterback in three years. This time Jalen Hurts led the Crimson Tide to Oxford to end the Rebels’ streak.

Trailing 24-3 late in the second quarter, Calvin Ridley took the jet sweep six yards to score Alabama’s first touchdown. Alabama would score about a minute later on Eddie Jackson’s 85-yard punt return to go into the half down a touchdown. Alabama took a 34-27 lead on its last play of the third quarter when Bo Scarbrough ran in a 1-yard touchdown. It never lost the lead from there, building an 11-point lead after Jonathan Allen returned a fumble 75-yards, winning 48-43.

The two combined for 92 points, 1,014 yards and 45 first downs last year.

Saban realizes the offense has been the key to winning the last couple years. With the dynamic Shea Patterson leading the Rebels, Ole Miss is the best passing team in the SEC with 1,281 yards through three games. 

"The guy has great arm talent,” Saban said. “He's very instinctive. He's a very good athlete. He can scramble and extend plays, and they've made a lot of big plays on that part of it. Their offensive system and scheme is very spread-oriented.”

Ole Miss was the last team to defeat Alabama at Bryant Denny Stadium, but Alabama isn't that focused on the past.

"I mean, we always want to hold our home down, but at the same time, I’m not really focused on the past, for real," Hootie Jones said. "I’m trying to focus on this year and go out there and dominant with me and my teammates.”

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