Alabama’s 43-37 loss to Ole Miss can best be summed up by the number five.
Alabama had five turnovers. The first one was within five seconds of the start of the game.
Those turnovers turned into 24 out of 43 points for Ole Miss in its victory over the Crimson Tide.
“Turnovers just kill you,” coach Nick Saban said. “I don’t know if there’s anybody we can beat if we give away  points.”
Within the first half, Alabama had three turnovers, and Ole Miss cashed all three of those turnovers in for all 17 points Ole Miss went into halftime with.
It all started during Alabama’s kickoff return. ArDarius Stewart fumbled the ball and A.J. Moore recovered it for Ole Miss. Four plays later, Ole Miss had three points on the board.
“I think if you’re going to be a great competitor, you got to take what you want,” Saban said. “You got to compete that way. You can’t give the other team 24 points off of turnovers from the 30-yard line in.”
Cooper Bateman started as Alabama’s quarterback but was taken out after he threw an early second quarter interception off a deep pass. Soon after, Ole Miss was at the Alabama 1-yard line. Defense tried to hold the Rebels there, but Jordan Wilkins found an open path to the end zone for the first touchdown of the game.
Jake Coker played as Alabama’s quarterback for the remainder of the game.
“There was a bunch of ups and downs within the game, but we kept fighting,” Alabama wide receiver Richard Mullaney said.
Ole Miss kicked off and running back Kenyan Drake received and then fumbled the ball for Alabama. That was turnover number three. Another Ole Miss touchdown followed.
Ole Miss scored all 17 of its first half points off of turnovers. Thankfully for Alabama, that was the last turnover within the first half.
“There were just a lot of things we did that allowed them to dig, put us in a hole in the game,” Saban said.
The two remaining Alabama turnovers of the game were interceptions thrown by Coker, and both occurred in the fourth quarter. Only one led to another Ole Miss touchdown, however, for a grand total of 24 points from Alabama turnovers.
“Ole Miss played great, but it’s going to be hard to win a game when you have five turnovers,” Mullaney said.
Although defense came out onto the field more than it would have liked due to the circumstances, defensive back Cyrus Jones said the defense has to be prepared to do its job, no matter how tough.
“We have each other’s back,” Jones said. “We have the offense’s back when we need to have theirs, and they have our back when we need them to have ours. It’s a team effort.”
Five turnovers or not, Jones isn’t blaming the offense for the loss. Ole Miss did not have a turnover the entire game.
“We’re not going to sit here and point our fingers at nobody,” he said. “We didn’t play like we needed to play on either side of the ball.”
Last year, Alabama also lost by six, 23-17, and last year Alabama also lost the turnover battle. The Crimson Tide had two turnovers while Ole Miss had only one.
“I think [Ole Miss] deserved to win this game,” Saban said. “They just outplayed us. That’s just a fact of the matter.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports