All Dixieland, no Delight: No. 6 Alabama rolls over No. 24 Mississippi State

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.  The Mississippi State University football team dropped their third conference road game of the season on Saturday, as the University of Alabama rolled to a 30-6 victory.

The Bulldogs attempted to establish the ground game early with junior running back Woody Marks, but Bryant-Denny Stadium was roaring and the Crimson Tide forced the Bulldogs to punt on their first drive. The Bulldogs defense followed that by forcing a three-and-out against junior quarterback Bryce Young and the Crimson Tide offense.

Junior quarterback Will Rogers drove the MSU offense downfield on the Tide defense with authority on the second drive of the game. However, the momentum was short-lived, as the Crimson Tide forced a turnover-on-downs.

The MSU defense allowed Alabama signal caller and Heisman Trophy winner Young an extensive amount of time in the pocket and could not find ways to put pressure on the talented gunslinger. This resulted in a 31-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wideout JoJo Earle on the Tide's second drive of the game. From that point forward, Alabama's offense found ways to create explosive plays due in-part to the performance from the Crimson Tide's offensive line.

After Saturday night's loss to the Tide, Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach gave his evaluation of the team's performance.

"I didn't think we played well at all," Leach said. "We've got some guys that are afraid of the jersey that says Alabama. We spent a lot of time frightened of their jerseys."

MSU's kicking woes continued against the Tide via a missed 43-yard field goal from graduate senior kicker Massimo Biscardi. The Bulldogs defense struggled to apply pressure on Young in the first half, which allowed him time to find his targets. Young finished the first half with 15 of 20 for 175 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.

MSU could not slow down the Crimson Tide's offense, and the Bulldogs' offense let the early success slip away. Alabama's secondary found ways to force incompletions and apply pressure on Rogers. The Crimson Tide held Rogers to a 41% completion in the first half. Rogers' completion percentage was also due to a plethora of dropped passes from the wide receiving corps.

In the postgame presser, graduate senior Austin Williams discussed the problems MSU faced offensively.

"We have a standard level of execution we expect from everybody, myself included," Williams said. "We just didn't do what we needed to do."

Penalties also haunted the Bulldogs, especially on defense. The Bulldogs were penalized five times in the first half  four of which were on the defense.

The Crimson Tide defense refused to let up pressure on Rogers in the second half. MSU's offense had an opportunity to score, but junior wideout Tulu Griffin dropped a wide-open touchdown pass. One play later, the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs again.

One improvement for MSU in the second half was the pressure applied to Young. The Bulldogs defense came up with two huge sacks in the third quarter, which put the offense back on the field and gave them another opportunity to score their first points of the game.

Overall, the Bulldogs played better in the second half  holding Alabama to only six points. The MSU offense found their way into the end zone as time expired via a rushing touchdown from Marks.

In the end, the moment was too big for the MSU Bulldogs. The No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide rolled to their seventh win of the season and will head into their bye week 7-1 (4-1) before playing at Louisiana State University Nov. 5.

For the Bulldogs, the team is headed into a much-needed bye week with a record of 5-3 (2-3). After the week of rest, MSU will be back in Starkville to face the Auburn University Tigers Nov. 5.

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