After a week that saw plenty of wailing, and even more gnashing of teeth, Alabama came out and took care of business 25-0 over the Ole Miss Rebels. The shut-out marks the Tide’s ninth shut-out in the past five seasons, which leads all of the FBS in that span. Let’s get right into some Good, Bad, and Ugly from the game.
Alabama Defense – This one is a bit cheap since it encompasses such a huge part of the game, but any time a shut out is kept intact the entire defense deserves a nod.
A’Shawn Robinson – A true freshman monster for Alabama. He is already squarely among the best players on the team to push the pocket and rush the passer on the defensive line. As the Alabama defense swarmed Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, Robinson was regularly around the quarterback.
Eddie Jackson – He may be the answer to which corner starts opposite Deion Belue, even if he’s only a true freshman. Eddie Jackson did get burned for a 26 yard completion, but he immediately responded by picking off a half-back pass the Rebels tried to run to take advantage of the cornerback’s youth. Expect some hiccups from someone that is so young, but his performance against the Rebels is heartening and helps shore up an early season weakness.
The Second Half – The second half saw the offense wake up and play a brand of physical football that has been somewhat lacking in Alabama’s other three games. It is tough to say specifically what clicked except that backup center Chad Lindsay entered the game after starter Ryan Kelly was lost with an MCL problem. Kelly will miss a week or two getting healthy, so there will be plenty of time to see if it was Lindsay’s presence, or some other factor, which sparked over two hundred rushing yards in the second half of play.
The First Half – As good, and refreshing, as the second half was, the first half was a nightmare for the Bama offense. The Tide had thirty-six yards on the ground in the first half, and AJ McCarron could not challenge the Ole Miss secondary anywhere beyond eight yards. Yes, he did have a 78% completion percentage, but he only averaged 5.6 yards per completion.
Ole Miss Offense – Everything the Rebels tried was utterly futile, save a 38 yard pass on the first play from scrimmage, and a 26 yard completion right before Ole Miss threw an interception. Alabama stopped their vaunted offense cold. For the purpose of illustration, not to mention amusement, this bullet is called ‘The Pitiful.’
Targeting Rule – This rule has been talked about ad nauseum by everyone who has even the slightest interest in college football. It is exceedingly difficult to justify the structure of the penalty. It can be reviewed, but only the ejection can be overturned, but in order to overturn the ejection, the booth has to decide it isn’t targeting, but the fifteen yards is still assessed. The penalty is a convoluted mess.
Booing After Injuries – There was a specific sequence in the second half of the game where Ole Miss went tempo, and Alabama’s Brandon Ivory got injured. Some of the Ole Miss visitor’s section booed. It isn’t fair to paint the entire fan base with that brush, but it was certainly a black mark. There is no place for that sort of behavior.