What is college football without a few upsets towards the end of the season?
This weekend, Nick Saban shows yet again why he is regarded as one of the best college coaches of all time. Knocking the #1 Mississippi State Bulldogs from their top spot, and for most of the game shut down Heisman contender Dak Prescott. The first half was all Alabama, leading 19-3 at the end of the 2nd quarter, Dak Prescott was unable to throw the ball effectively. Being constantly pressured by the Bama front four, and whenever they went to the ground all the holes were filled it seemed like Miss. State had nowhere to turn. At the same time, Blake Sims was the unsung hero for the Tide. With only one touchdown it doesn’t seem like much, but he was very quick on his feet, providing a spark for this team when they needed it. Throwing for 211 yards with no interceptions went a long way in not putting #4 Alabama in a bad spot.
The story of this game was how suffocating the Alabama defense was. Coming out firing early, Alabama forced a Mississippi State safety for the first points of the game. That play really set the tone for the rest of the game. Allowing only 37 rushing yards out of Josh Robinson took away a huge part of the Bulldogs’ offense. Their staunch D made plays when they needed to, picking off Dak Prescott three times total and one time in the end zone, there was no beating this defense on Saturday. Not allowing the Bulldogs to score on their first 5 drives including a Dak Prescott Interception really showed Mississippi States weaknesses. if you take Prescott out of the game, they don’t have much to lean on. Their defense isn’t strong enough to stop players like Armani Cooper and TJ Yeldon.
The Bulldogs were able to make it a game in the second half. Prescott made some plays, ending the game with 290 yards, but throwing two picks late in the game was too much to handle. Personally, watching the first half and Prescott playing as bad as he did I thought he wasted away his Heisman votes, but his surge late in the game left me some faith. However he can’t play the way he did in the first half ever again. His team leans on him for so much, and he just did not come to play.
My takeaway from this game was that I personally believe Alabama has the best Defense in the nation. Their Lineman/Linebacker core absolutely stifles teams chances to run. They just absolutely dominate opposing teams offensive lines, plugging every gap. No wonder why Josh Robinson had less than 40 yards. At the same time their secondary can hang with the best of them putting players like Cyrus Jones and Landon Collins, the Tide isn’t scared of anyone. On offense, having superstars like Yeldon and Cooper, with Blake Sims under Center, there is not much for Saban to mess around with. On the other side it brought to light Mississippi State’s weaknesses. They don’t have a defense that can take control of a game, they need help from the O. It is simple, when Prescott doesn’t produce Mississippi State doesn’t produce, just look at that first half. At the same time, Prescott is a player that can get hot at any point and if he brings his A-game, good luck. He got hot in the second half recording two touchdowns, so if you give him time, he can make you pay. If Prescott brings it the rest of the year, we could see these guys match up again. When it was all said and done, the game ended up being close, so if they do meet again I am sure Prescott will not have another half like he did the first half, and this could be a battle of Goliaths.
Currently both teams are still in the playoff picture and both remain in the top 5 in the polls, so even though the Bulldogs aren’t perfect, their national title hopes are still alive and well. We all know how tough Bama is down the stretch, so watch out. This playoff scenario is getting intense and I can’t wait for it to unfold.