The Call

By Edwin Stanton

Advantage: Alabama
Alabama is No. 2 in the SEC in total offense, averaging 562 yards and 50 points per game. Although Najee Harris and the run game have been slow to get going, the Tide has the passing game to back it up. With 453 yards and 33 points per game Southern Miss is no slouch, but doesn’t have the firepower like UA.

Advantage: Alabama
The Crimson Tide showed some vulnerability last week with younger players being out of position a few times. Veterans like Trevon Diggs and Anfernee Jennings will have to step up to lead the way. The Golden Eagles have some vulnerable spots as well, allowing 276 passing and just over 100 rushing yards per game.

Advantage: Southern Miss
Southern Miss has a dangerous return man in Jaylond Adams, who has three touchdowns already through three games. Alabama is still dealing with punting issues and still has work to do with field goals.

Advantage: Alabama
Each week we see something different with Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. What’s up his sleeve today? Regardless, he’s got the Alabama passing game looking in top form. Jay Hopson enters his fourth season with Southern Miss. He’s had winning season all three years.

Advantage: Alabama
Alabama is riding a 27-game home win streak and has won 42 of its last 43 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium. UA has also won its last six meetings with the Golden Eagles. The last non-conference loss for Alabama at home was 2007 against Louisiana Monroe.

Alabama 49, Southern Miss 10
Does anyone remember the last time an Alabama offense was superior to the defense? We are talking way superior. This isn’t a bad Crimson Tide defense, it’s just not the dominating destructive force we are used to seeing in the Saban era. As long as the offense is doing its thing, there shouldn’t be an issue today.

Staff Picks

Tommy DiConstanzo
Alabama 55,
Southern Miss 10
The Golden Eagles can only beat Bama at the beginning of a decade, with their last wins coming in 1990 and 2000. In 42 games between the teams since 1947, Southern Miss has only won five times. Not even Brett Favre could save them in this one.

Brett Hudson
Alabama 42,
Southern Miss 10
What’s the higher number: Tua Tagovailoa touchdown passes or Alabama rushes of 10+ yards? Keep along at home, folks, because that may be more entertaining than the real game.

Cecil Hurt
Alabama 48,
Southern Miss 17
The Golden Eagles might have a more dynamic offense than South Carolina but I’m giving them touchdowns on a punt return and a kickoff return. Urgent that Alabama sets its alarms to be awake by 11 a.m.

Tyler Martin
Alabama 48,
Southern Miss 7
The morning start will not make a difference in this one. The attendance will continue to be a topic of discussion, while the Crimson Tide rolls over the Golden Eagles.

James Ogletree
Alabama 52,
Southern Miss 14
The Golden Eagles’ special teams will make some big plays – if they don’t reach the end zone, they’ll give an explosive passing offense a short field. Alabama’s defense has question marks in the front seven with at least three freshmen, possibly four, slated to start.

Carey Reeder
Alabama 52,
Southern Miss 14
This game will be decided in the secondary. The experienced corners for Southern Miss matching up against the dynamic wide receivers for Alabama. Those receivers haven’t been stopped yet, Saturday should not be any different.

Michael Southern
Alabama 51,
Southern Miss 10
With concerns about the defensive front seven and the offensive line, this is not your typical Alabama season. Expect the defense to have a better performance against Southern Miss, but a lot of development is needed for the young players before the heart of the SEC schedule hits.

Katie Windham
Alabama 52,
Southern Miss 10
Nick Saban expressed concern about how many plays the defense was on the field in the win against South Carolina. Along with the explosive plays from the receivers, expect Alabama to try and establish the run game to control the ball and give the defense more time to rest, especially in the scorching heat.

Players to watch

By Carey Reeder

Major Tennison
Positon: Tight end
Height: 6-5
Weight: 248
Class: R-Sophomore
Key Stat: Caught his first career touchdown in week one against Duke; three catches for 40 yards this season
Buzz: Coming into this season, the tight end position was the biggest question mark for Alabama’ offense. Tennison should have been awarded his second touchdown of the year against South Carolina as he tight-roped the sideline, but was ruled out-of-bounds. However, the replay later showed the Flint, Texas native did stay inbounds. Tennison will look to make that right on Saturday.

Patrick Surtain II
Position: Defensive back
Height: 6-2
Weight: 203
Class: Sophomore
Key Stat: The fifth-leading tackler for the defense with 13; one interception and one forced fumble
Buzz: Surtain has established himself as one of the premier corners in the nation in just two years in Tuscaloosa. The flexibility to play man-to-man coverage and come to the line of scrimmage to make a stop Surtain has will need to be on display Saturday against Southern Mississippi. Surtain will have the job of slowing down 2018 first-team All-Conference USA selection wide receiver Quez Watkins.

Keilan Robinson
Position: Running back
Height: 5-9
Weight: 190
Class: Freshman
Key Stat: Third-leading rusher for Alabama, leading the running backs with an 8.8 yards per run average
Buzz: Robinson has used his opportunities early this season to assert himself as a valuable asset to the Alabama running back room. The 74-yard touchdown run he had against New Mexico State showed he has the speed and elusiveness to help the Crimson Tide’s offense for years to come. Currently, learning more behind Najee Harris isn’t a bad thing to do while you wait your turn.

Jordan Mitchell
Position: Wide receiver
Height: 6-3
Weight: 202
Class: R-Senior
Key Stat: Leads the Golden Eagle’s with 295 yards receiving; 16 catches and two touchdowns this season
Buzz: With Watkins on the other side of the field demanding the most attention, Mitchell has excelled this season. Mitchell’s 37 catches, 351 yards and three scores last season are on pace to be blown away this year. Alabama’s secondary will have to be ready for the challenge of having two playmaking receivers on either side of the field.

D.Q. Thomas
Position: Defensive back
Height: 5-10
Weight: 200
Class: Senior
Key Stat: Leads Southern Miss in tackles with 24; two sacks and an interception
Buzz: Thomas is a hard hitting corner that’s not afraid of sticking his nose in to make a tackle. Thomas’ coverage skills are not something to be taken lightly either, recording an interception against Alcorn State. Thomas will be asked to cover one of Alabama’s dynamic receivers, which will be one of his hardest assignments he’s had in his two season at Southern Miss.

Ky’el Hemby
Position: Defensive back
Height: 6-1
Weight: 195
Class: R-Junior
Key Stat: Second-team All-Conference USA selection last season; second-leading tackler this season with 23
Buzz: Saturday’s game will be decided in the secondary. Hemby will line up opposite side of Thomas in hopes their experience and play making ability will be enough to slow down the Alabama passing attack. Hemby picked off six passes last season but hasn’t recorded one yet this season, a stat the Abingdon, Maryland, native hopes to change Saturday.