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STEPHEN’S REPORT: Focusing on the Performance of the Players

Special Teams–Overall [D]

JK Scott [A]-  Scott was the lone positive on Alabama’s special teams Saturday. The atmosphere inside Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium had no effect on him. Scott recorded six kicks for 311 yards, including a 64-yard bomb. He averaged 51.8 yards per punt. Of Scott’s six punts, three of them pinned Mississippi inside its 20-yard line.

Adam Griffith [D]- He’s relatively young, but Alabama expects consistency from Griffith. Griffith missed two field goals (46, 51) and struggled on kickoffs. He averaged 55.2 yards per kick, but didn’t register any touchbacks. None of Griffith’s four kicks reached the endzone on kickoff.

Coverage [D]- Mississippi had good field position on most of its drives because of Alabama’s kick coverage. The Crimson Tide continues to struggle on tackling in space.

Summary: Alabama’s special teams has seen better days, but Saturday wasn’t one of them. JK Scott excelled, but everyone else took a step back. Christion Jones tried to do too much in the return game. He collected 75 return yards, but had a costly fumble in the second half. Adam Griffith made one field goal (44 yards), but Alabama would have won the game if he’d made all three.

Quarterback Play–Overall [C]

Blake Sims [C]- Crowd noise makes it very tough to win on the road. Sims did some good things at Oxford, but there were some passes that he could have placed better. Delay of game penalties result from lack of concentration. Sims must improve on managing the play clock better. He used his feet to avoid pressure, but Sims got anxious a lot and was inaccurate with the ball. Sims displayed a couple of deep passes, but Mississippi did a good job of forcing him to go underneath. Overall, Sims completed 61.3 percent (19/31) of his passes for 228 yards, one touchdown (rushing) and one interception.

Summary: The full blame shouldn’t be placed on Sims for the loss, but a team needs to have a effective quarterback on the road. Making smart decisions is what separates good quarterbacks from great ones. Sims has to start going through his progressions and build chemistry with other receivers.

Receivers–Overall [B]

Amari Cooper [A]- He didn’t get 100 yards receiving, but Cooper was still a factor Saturday.  His longest catch was 30 yards, but Cooper totaled nine receptions for 91 yards. Ole Miss contained him for much of the first half, but Cooper got it going in the second half. He was the lone receiver that was consistent in catching pass from Sims.

O.J. Howard [B]- First, let’s start with the good. Howard was targeted more times Saturday than any other game this season. He created matchup problems for Mississippi’s linebackers and secondary. Howard had three catches for 81 yards, including a 53-yard reception in the third quarter. Now, the bad. Howard had two critical drops in the contest. Both passes were placed in the right spot, yet Howard could come down with a reception. He was penalized twice, including a holding call on Alabama’s final drive.

Summary: Amari Cooper got his stats. O.J. Howard contributed, but no one else seemed engaged. Chris Black had two catches for 19 yards. Christion Jones collected one reception for 17 yards. Cooper and Howard provided Sims with a target, but there are more play makers on this team. All receivers need to get involved.

Defensive Play–Overall [C]

Defensive Line [B]- Alabama’s defensive line played its heart out in the first half, but it didn’t do much in the second half. Jonathan Allen led all defensive linemen with five tackles. A’Shawn Robinson recorded three tackles. Jarran Reed put in two tackles. The Crimson Tide’s defensive line did a nice job of filling in gaps in the run game. Mississippi rushed for 72 yards, but averaged 2.2 yards per carry. Ole Miss did not register a rushing score.

Linebackers [B]- D.J. Pettway had one good series, but Xzavier Dickson put in a complete game. Dickson sacked Bo Wallace twice and collected six tackles. Pettway had one tackle and a pass breakup. Reggie Ragland led all linebackers with nine tackles. Trey DePriest tallied six tackles and a pass breakup.

Secondary [D]– It was exposed against West Virginia, but Alabama’s secondary was torched against Mississippi in the second half. Alabama held Laquon Treadwell to 19 receiving yards in the first half. Cody Core was the Rebels leading receiver at halftime with 24 yards. Bo Wallace and company shredded the Crimson Tide in the second half. Wallace tossed for 251 yards and three touchdowns. Evan Engram burned Alabama for 71 yards on three receptions. Nick Perry led all defensive backs with 10 tackles.

Summary: It stood its ground in the first half, but Alabama’s secondary struggled in the second half. Tony Brown was given a tough assignment (defending Treadwell), but he handled it well in the first half. Brown ended with four tackles and a pass breakup, but his best play came in the fourth quarter. Brown blocked Mississippi’s extra-point attempt. Even Landon Collins was exposed Saturday. Engram ate Collins up on a few crossing patterns. Collins finished with six tackles. Cyrus Jones was burned a lot, but he made a special play in the second quarter. Jones stripped the ball away from Ole Miss’s running back I’Tavius Mathers and returned it for a 13-yard touchdown.

Offensive Line–Overall [C-]

Summary: It’s unusual to see, but this year’s offensive line has been penalized more than recent teams. Of Alabama’s eight penalties, some were on its offensive line. It’s very difficult to focus in a hostile environment, but the offensive line has to be more in tune with Sims’s snap count. Alabama did well in pass protection, but didn’t dominate Mississippi’s defensive line in the run game. The backs were stuffed for negative gains on numerous possessions.

Running Backs–Overall [B]

T.J. Yeldon [A]- Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry are good backs, but Mississippi got a heavy dose of Yeldon Saturday. Yeldon totaled over 100 yards rushing for only the second time this season. He ran with determination and vision. Yeldon secured the football and didn’t try to do too much. He collected 123 yards rushing on 20 carries and averaged 6.2 yards per carry.

Summary: With Drake hurt and Henry ineffective, Yeldon was the star in the backfield. He had a productive game on the ground. Henry totaled 17 carries for 37 yards.

 Aftermath

Moses parting the Red Sea was great. The breaking of the Berlin Wall was cool. Seeing Mississippi fans storm the field and tear down a goal post? Priceless.

Bo Wallace had the best game of his career Saturday. He didn’t turn the ball over. Wallace made smart decisions and put Mississippi in a good spot to pull an upset.

Many factors contributed to Alabama loss, but turnovers, penalties, dropped passes, crowd noise and injuries were the main ones. The Crimson Tide had two turnovers, eight penalties, numerous dropped balls and three injuries.

Kenyan Drake broke his leg in the second quarter. He tried to cut up field after catching a 10-yard pass from Sims and snapped his leg. Drake was carted off the field and taken to a hospital.

“Drake is expected to need surgery and is likely done for the season,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

Linebacker Denzel Devall went down with a high ankle sprain in the first half. He will had a MRI done today, gauging how much damage has been done. Center Ryan Kelly sprained his knee late in the game.

Alabama loss, but its more concerned about the injuries. It hopes to have Devall and Kelly back for its matchup against Arkansas next Saturday.

The latest AP top 25 poll has the Crimson Tide ranked No.7. A lot of football is still left to be played. How will Alabama respond from this loss?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSLrd8la2BM

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