Rolling with the Tide: Alabama overcomes scare from Mississippi StateBy Matthew Speakman | 11/12/2017 8:59pm
For the first time all year, an Alabama victory was in doubt. The Crimson Tide trailed Mississippi State in the fourth quarter before scoring 14 unanswered points to take the lead. Alabama remained undefeated, and extended its winning streak over the Bulldogs to 11. The Crimson Tide also set itself up for a winner-take-all matchup with Auburn in two weeks. The winner will advance to the SEC Championship.
Players of the game: Jalen Hurts
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts kept an unsurprisingly cool demeanor as the momentum began to tilt in favor of Mississippi State. Hurts went 10 of 19 for 242 yards and a touchdown. He also converted a crucial fourth down play that led to Alabama drawing level in the game. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley had five catches for 171 yards, including a big third down conversion on Alabama's game-winning drive.
Ridley said he and Hurts were ready to handle any situation that was thrown at them.
“He definitely was very poised,” Ridley said. “We’ve been in situations like this, like last year versus Clemson and other games. We practice against that type of stuff. We just made some great plays right then.”
Play of the game
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts found wide receiver DeVonta Smith for a 26-yard touchdown with 25 seconds left. It was the game-winning score for Alabama.
“I walked onto the field and looked at the scoreboard to see how much time was left, and saw there was 1:09 left,” Hurts said. “I couldn’t help but think about the National Championship game. It kind of showed up last year when Deshawn Watson had 1:09 left in the game … He [Smith] did a good job catching the ball, and made someone miss.”
Key to the game: Fourth quarter performance on defense
For most of the game, Alabama looked flawed on defense. Mississippi State put together multiple long drives that left a depleted defense winded. Still, when Alabama needed its defense to make a stop, it delivered. After tying it up, the Crimson Tide forced Mississippi State to punt after only giving up 18 yards. Then, Alabama missed a field goal, giving the Bulldogs another chance. The defense once again stepped up, forcing a three-and-out that would lead to the game-winning drive for Alabama. Mississippi State's two drives to take the lead resulted in only 19 yards.
“We’re all about finishing this year,” cornerback Anthony Averett said. “This game was just like last year, what happened with Clemson. This game kind of took a lot, but we have to finish. We finished today.”
(Passing) Jalen Hurts- 10 of 19, 242, 1 TD
(Rushing) Damien Harris- Eight carries, 93 yards, one TD
(Receiving) Calvin Ridley- Five catches, 171 yards
(Passing) Nick Fitzgerald- 13 of 24, 158 yards
(Rushing) Aeris Williams- 22 carries, 97 yards, two TDs
(Receiving) Deddrick Thomas- two catches, 30 yards