Third down was not kind to Southern Miss.
Actually, Alabama was downright nasty on third down.
The Golden Eagles had 11 third-down opportunities against No. 2 Alabama on Saturday and converted just twice in the Crimson Tide’s 49-7 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
In the other nine chances Southern Miss hit a Crimson wall with Alabama holding the Golden Eagles to negative yardage three separate times, including a Trevon Diggs interception.
Alabama brought pressure and sealed the edge, forcing a few three-and-outs and limiting Southern Miss to just 58 total plays. Last week Alabama’s defense was on the field for 86 plays against South Carolina.
“Last week we didn’t execute like we wanted to and this week we were better prepared and tried to execute all the calls,” Diggs said. “The main thing was we just wanted to get off the field on third down.
Other than a 37 yard completion, Southern Miss totaled minus 9 yards on third down.
“The plays that they made on us today were things we didn’t execute well,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I think we played better. We were simpler in the adjustments that we wanted to make in the game, which I think helped the young players especially.”
Overall, Alabama allowed just 226 yards, including 52 rushing yards.
“I think the defense played well early in the game and got some stops,” Saban said. “The only negative is we didn’t finish the first half. We had a couple of three-and-outs and then let them go two-minute to score.”
Reach Edwin Stanton at firstname.lastname@example.org, 205-722-0226 or via Twitter, @edwinstantonu2