No. 1-ranked Alabama hosted 16th-ranked Mississippi State on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Here are four key questions that were answered:
1. Can the defense keep it up?
After some early-season inconsistency, Alabama’s defense has steadily been getting better. After shutting out LSU last weekend in Baton Rouge, La., the Crimson Tide shut out another ranked SEC opponent in holding Mississippi State scoreless. The Bulldogs missed a field goal on the last play of the first half to blow their best chance to score.
2. How beat up is Alabama?
UA came into the game with several players hurting and left with even more. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was knocked out of the contest and did not return. His backup, Jalen Hurts, wasn’t available off the bench as he’s still recovering from an ankle injury. Having the Citadel visiting schedule next week comes as a welcome schedule respite for some banged-up starter.
3. Is the running game rounding into form?
Alabama came out running and rammed the ball down Mississippi State’s throat, amassing 83 rushing yards in the first quarter. It was hard sledding against a tough MSU defensive front after that as UA finished with just 142 total yards on the ground. Alabama’s line wasn’t able to manhandle the Bulldogs.
4. Will Alabama have an LSU hangover?
Coming off an emotional and physical victory over LSU last weekend, Alabama came ready to play. The Crimson Tide scored on its first possession and played its best ball in the first period. Mississippi State adjusted defensively and was able to keep UA from pulling away, but the Crimson Tide defense dominated for 60 minutes on a cold Saturday.