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Alabama’s run defense will be the X-factor in matchup against Ole Miss

Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins (#4) runs the ball against Texas A&M in matchup with Aggies.
Daniel Dunn - USA Today Sports

Alabama football is 1-2 in its three road games against Southeastern Conference opponents.

The Crimson Tide’s run defense was an issue in its two losses.

RELATED: Nick Saban highlights Ole Miss’ QB Jaxson Dart and what makes him a challenge

Alabama allowed 182 rushing yards versus Tennessee and 185 yards against LSU. Both teams totaled two rushing touchdowns apiece. Arkansas lost to the Tide at home; however, the Razorbacks collected 187 yards rushing with two scores. Alabama enters Saturday’s meeting with Ole Miss carrying a poor output in its SEC road games against the run, allowing 185 yards per game.

Mississippi, on the other hand, carries the SEC’s No. 1 rushing offense with 267.4 yards per game. Quinshon Judkins, a native of Pike Road, Ala., is having an impactful freshman season. He leads the Rebels with 1,034 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.

The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder has six 100-yard rushing performances, including a 200-yard outing in Ole Miss’ 31-28 victory against Texas A&M. Judkins has four 100+ yard games versus SEC schools. The Rebels also have Zach Evans that has seven rushing touchdowns. Lane Kiffin enjoys taking deep shots in the passing game, but now he has a run game to offset opponents.

Coach Saban wants to see fire and intensity from the Tide on the road.

Alabama has not performed well away from Bryant-Denny Stadium in two years. The Crimson Tide’s defensive front must shoot gaps and get Ole Miss behind the sticks early in their possessions. If Mississippi’s run game becomes too much to handle, it could be another week of struggles for Alabama. The Tide has to set a tone of toughness, execution, and finishing plays this weekend.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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