STARKVILLE, Miss. —With Auburn’s win over Georgia earlier in the day, Alabama’s Iron Bowl visit to Auburn in two weeks sets up a winner-take-all Iron Bowl on Nov. 25. The winner will take the SEC West title.

The Tigers will enter the contest with one conference loss against LSU and one out-of-conference defeat to Clemson.

The last Iron Bowl that determined the SEC West occurred in 2013.

Rush defense

When Mississippi State rushed for a touchdown in the first quarter, it was just the fourth rushing touchdown Alabama had allowed all season and the second in two weeks.

The Bulldogs’ two rushing touchdowns in the first half marked the first time this season that the Crimson Tide has given up two scores on the ground.

The last time Alabama had given up two rushing touchdown was in the Jan. 9, 2017, College Football Playoff Championship against Clemson in Tampa. The last time UA had given up two rushing touchdowns in the first half of a game was in 2015, when Ole Miss ran for two first-half scores.

New guard

Ross Pierschbacher who has been a stalwart at left guard for three seasons, was replaced on the Crimson Tide’s second offensive drive by J.C. Hassenaeur.

Pierschbacher, a redshirt junior, walked under his own power to the locker room.


Senior linebacker Rashaan Evans recorded a sack for his fourth game in a row.

The streak began against Arkansas with two sacks. It continued against Tennessee and LSU with one in each game. His sack of Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald in the first quarter on the game’s first possession resulted in a loss of 10 yards.

Through halftime of Saturday’s game, Evans has five sacks on the season.

Ridley rising

Calvin Ridley’s two catches for 124 yards in the first half marks the seventh time in his career the junior has topped 100 yards receiving, which ranks No.4 all-time at Alabama. Julio Jones (2008-10) is third on the UA career list with eight 100-yard games.

Time out

Alabama trailed, 7-0, against Mississippi State during the first quarter. It took 1:27 of game clock for Alabama to tie it up. The Bulldogs scored again to take a second-quarter lead, but this time the Crimson Tide used even less time (1:13) to even it out. The score remained there, tied at 14-14, come halftime.

Only two other teams this season, so far, have been able to pull ahead of Alabama.

During the season opener, Florida State led, 7-3, early in the second quarter. Within 2 minutes and 13 seconds, Alabama reclaimed the lead and never let it go. Then, on Oct. 10, Texas A&M put points on the board before Alabama with a field goal. The Crimson Tide responded within 13 seconds with a touchdown.

Familiar voices

A pair of former Alabama national champions were on the call of the game Saturday night against Mississippi State.

Greg McElroy, UA starting quarterback for the 2009 BCS National Championship team, was on the ESPN broadcast of the game serving as the color commentator. McElroy has been a regular on the SEC Network.

Barrett Jones, a former Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy winner, was on the ESPN radio broadcast serving also as the color commentator. Jones is one of the most decorated offensive linemen in program history.


Junior defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne, senior safety Hootie Jones and senior center Bradley  Bozeman served as game captains…Alabama won the toss and elected to defer until the second half…Keith Holcombe started at inside linebacker for the injured Shaun Dion Hamilton and Minkah Fitzpatrick started at the Star defensive back position after suffering a hamstring injury last week against LSU…

Reach Aaron Suttles at or at 205-722-0229.