OXFORD, Miss. — Here are five of the biggest highlights in Alabama’s 62-7 clobbering of Ole Miss to open SEC play.
1. The situation: Alabama’s offense was behind schedule, facing third-and-nine in a 7-7 game in the first quarter.
What happened: The Ole Miss defense showed only one safety lined up deep despite the obvious passing down. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa found sophomore wide receiver Jerry Jeudy coming out of the slot for a 79-yard touchdown pass. It was the longest pass of Tagovailoa’s career and the longest catch of Jeudy’s. That play was part of a first quarter that included four touchdowns and 243 offensive yards for Alabama as it raced ahead.
2. The situation: Ole Miss had second-and-10 on the Alabama 47, driving in the first quarter while trailing 14-7.
What happened: Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu took off up the middle with some open field ahead. He was close to picking up a first down when safety Xavier McKinney tackled him and knocked the ball loose. Defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis recovered the fumble, setting up a scoring drive that was capped by a touchdown run from Najee Harris. Ole Miss had two more drives in the first half that crossed midfield, but didn’t cross the Alabama 40-yard line the rest of the game.
3. The situation: Ole Miss had a fresh set of downs at its own 24 while trailing 52-7 in the third quarter.
What happened: The game was well in hand for Alabama at this point, but McKinney made sure he’d be all the highlight reel when he intercepted a Ta’amu’s pass and took it 30 yards back for a touchdown. That was Alabama’s fourth non-offensive touchdown of the season and its third interception returned for a touchdown. “Anything we can do to get points up on the board and get the ball back to our offense, that’s what we try to do,” McKinney said.
4. The situation: Ole Miss had first-and-10 on the 25 for the game’s opening play from scrimmage.
What happened: Ole Miss won the coin toss and wanted the ball to start the game. Ta’amu connected on a deep pass to the left to wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, who burned past Alabama cornerback Saivion Smith for a 75-yard touchdown pass. “We were in bump-and-run and the guy got beat,” coach Nick Saban said. Ole Miss took a 7-0 lead, though it wouldn’t last long. Ta’amu completed just 6 of 21 passes for 58 yards the rest of the way with two interceptions and lost one fumble.
“We changed the corners around and put a bigger guy on him,” Saban said. “Patrick (Surtain Jr.) did a good job against him and we put Trevon on him and he did a good job on him. We didn’t give up any more big plays after that.”
5. The situation: Alabama had first-and-10 on the Ole Miss 42 with a 28-7 lead in the second quarter.
What happened: Tagovailoa completed a 35-yard pass Jeudy on the left sideline. Jeudy was inside the 10 and had one defender to beat. He stopped on a dime, then cut around the defender and appeared to stretch across the goal line for a score. Officials called it a touchdown, then reviewed the pay and ruled that had had narrowly stepped out of bounds. It didn’t stop Alabama, though. Josh Jacobs capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Jeudy got his second touchdown of the day on a 22-yard pass from Jalen Hurts on the next drive.
Reach Ben Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0196.