Alabama survived an Ole Miss team that didn’t quit. What are the 5 Things That Matter about the Crimson Tide’s 48-43 win?
Alabama 48, Ole Miss 43: 5 Things That Matter
The Crimson Tide gave up 43 points
It was the SEC opener, and from the looks of the post-game comments, Nick Saban seems happy to get out with a win on the road no matter how it happened. But the defense that can be so devastating at times got ripped up by Chad Kelly allowing 421 passing yards while struggling to put the game away.
The two takeaways were vital – especially the Jonathan Allen pick size that turned out to be the game-winner – but there should never, ever be a time when Alabama with this D is worried about holding on when up 18 with five minutes to play.
Chad Kelly’s redemption
Mocked after the team’s meltdown against Florida State, Kelly looked like the star quarterback he is hitting 26-of-41 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns with a not-really-his-fault interception, while also running for a team-leading 48 yards to help out the ground game that, predictably, wasn’t there. He’s not a Manziel-like baller, but he never quit, kept pushing the Crimson Tide defense, and brought the team back to at least be within one defensive stop of having a shot at going for the win.
Jalen Hurts didn’t make the massive mistake
The guy just doesn’t play like a freshman quarterback.
Hurts threw for 158 yards on an okay day, but it was his team-leading 146 rushing yards that kept the Ole Miss defense on its heels all game long. He didn’t have to bomb away, and he didn’t have to press at all, but he also kept his cool when the Crimson Tide got down early, took what was there, and again, he didn’t screw up. On the road in the SEC with a team around him as good as Alabama’s, that’s enough.
Only this year, Alabama is winning because of its quarterback.
When push came to shove …
How did Alabama get back in the game after getting down big in the first half? It kept on pounding and pounding and pounding, and it paid off for a ground game that averaged seven yards per carry and finished with 334 yards.
The defense didn’t seem to have an answer for Kelly and the Ole Miss offense early or at the end, so when the Bama O had to take control of the game, it counted on the line to get it done.
Forgetting the scary moment when the ball was put on the ground late, and there were plenty of problems early, but Hurts and the backs got it done because Alabama had the front five to get them moving.
What Does This All REALLY Mean?
Is Alabama really the No. 1 team in the country? It probably shouldn’t be after the way Louisville blew away Florida State, but who cares? All that matters is that the Crimson Tide got past one of its three brutal road games with Tennessee and LSU still to deal with. Survive and advance – and no one knows this better than Alabama. To go Butch Jones, you don’t apologize for a win, especially on the road at Ole Miss.
The Rebels might be 1-2, but there’s obviously no apologies for losing to Florida State and Alabama. However, they had both the Noles and Crimson Tide down big, and couldn’t do anything with the leads. Now they’ve got to beat Georgia to avoid an ugly 1-3 star with road games at Arkansas and LSU coming up next in SEC play after Memphis.