Alabama football plays angry, pounds Mississippi State 49-9 with a vengeance
STARKVILLE, Mississippi — Unfortunately for Mississippi State, Alabama's Will "The Terminator" Anderson Jr. will be back.
As a sophomore, he won't be draft-eligible this offseason. So the Bulldogs will face him again next year.
Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers might have nightmares about him until then. By the end of the third quarter, Anderson tallied four sacks.
He spent most of Saturday's game in the Bulldogs' backfield as he and the defense led the No. 5 Crimson Tide to a 49-9 victory over Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium.
Here are our observations and takeaways:
Interceptions spark Alabama
Mississippi State didn't have trouble driving the field at times in the first quarter, but Rogers showed a propensity for giving the ball to Alabama defensive backs.
First, Josh Jobe picked off Rogers on the opening drive to set up Alabama's first offensive touchdown, a 46-yard pass from Bryce Young to John Metchie III.
Then, Jordan Battle made things even easier on the offense on his interception. He took the ball 40 yards for the score after picking off Rogers. Battle ran through Rogers to get into the end zone.
Alabama pass rush returns after a week off
Welcome back, Alabama pass rush.
After producing minimal pressure in the loss to Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide's pass rush returned in a big way. By the end of the first half, Alabama tallied four sacks. Against the Aggies the previous Saturday, Alabama had zero sacks.
And those sacks don't include the other instances where pressure affected Rogers. The Mississippi State offensive line struggled to block Alabama. On one drive in the second quarter, the Bulldogs' offensive line got called for four penalties, two of which were holding penalties on the same pass play.
That pressure was key in slowing down Mississippi State's offense, considering Rogers was hurting. After just about every throw, Rogers was grabbing his throwing shoulder. He appeared to injure it in the first quarter.
Anderson led the way in causing backfield chaos. He tallied two sacks in the first half and frequently chased Rogers.
Alabama red zone running proves crucial
When faced with a goal-to-go situation, Alabama took a different path than the one in a similar situation a week earlier.
Instead of passing for three straight plays within the 10 like it did against Texas A&M on one drive, the Crimson Tide ran for three straight plays. And it worked.
Brian Robinson Jr. put Alabama up 21-3 in the second quarter as he ran off the left side on third-and-goal from the one.
The score capped a 16-play, 93-yard drive that lasted 7:17. It was much-needed for an Alabama offense that had only three first downs up to that point.
Jameson Williams is still fast
In case anyone forgot, Jameson Williams can take what looks like a solid gain and turn it into a home run.
On the first play of the second half, Williams caught a first-down pass from Young over the middle. Several defenders were in the area, but within a second or two, Williams darted up the left sideline and ran past defenders. Even with solid angles of pursuit, Mississippi State defenders couldn't track down Williams.
He rocketed past them for 75 yards. One play. Touchdown.
Cowbells didn't ring quite as loud after that one, putting Alabama up 28-6. His dash all but halted any hope the Bulldogs had for a second-half comeback.