By: Garrett Franks
OXFORD, Miss. – Behind the heroics of Bryce and Byron Young, the Crimson Tide prevail in a 30-24 slugfest against Ole Miss.
A theme throughout this whole season has been the inconsistency on offense. Whether it was mental errors such as penalties, or missed assignments, this team has had plenty of up-and-down moments.
Tonight was no different, as Alabama went scoreless in the first quarter definitely didn’t help the narrative around the offense. The tide only amassed 22 total yards on 13 plays in the first quarter.
It took a passionate Bryce Young led speech on the sideline to get his guys going. Young engineered a magnificent seven play – 80 yard drive which resulted in a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Burton.
Later on in the second quarter the tide faced a difficult 17-7 deficit when Ole Miss Running Back Quinshon Judkins punched one in for six. After a Zach Evans fumble, the Tide were gifted a short field with 2:23 left in the half. Young, like he has so many times, delivered an excellent ball down the middle of the end-zone to Tight End Cameron Latu. With an effective pass rush, Ole Miss forced Young out of the pocket on multiple occasions.
But like a magician, he would pull something out of nothing.
He capped off his night with five yard touchdown pass to Ja’Corey Brooks to tie the game up at 24. Young finished the game with three touchdowns, 209 yards on 21 completions.
Another player who stepped up when it mattered most was Running Back Jase McClellan. After suffering a terrible leg injury last season, Jase has been a dependable RB2. But with a tough game from Jahmyr Gibbs, who only carried the rock six times, McClellan’s number was called. Jase ran like a man with conviction, carrying the ball 19 times for 84 yards.
“Coaches needed me, so I stepped up,” said McClellan.
Jase had multiple big time carries where dragged two to three Rebels down the field with him.
Bama’s Front Seven
The defense has drawn the ire of many Alabama fans off the heels of some tough performances against LSU and Tennessee.
Things didn’t look great after the first quarter for the Tide. The Rebels moved the ball effectively with the dangerous duo of Evans and Judkins. Both guys cut through the Alabama defense with very little resistance.
Quarterback Jaxson Dart linked up multiple times with Malik Heath six times for 123 yards. Heath becomes the second wide-receiver to post over 100 yards against the Tide.
It was the second half where the Bama defense stepped up. It was none other than Mississippi Native Byron Young.
After the game quarterback Bryce Young joked that Byron was the better “B-Young.”
Bryon was absolutely brilliant, finishing with 11 total tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 tackles-for-loss. the last sack was deep in Alabama territory on a third and ten with only 53 seconds remaining. It forced Ole Miss into an uncomfortable fourth and sixteen, which resulted in a turnover on downs.
In his post game presser, Coach Nick Saban mentioned how you could tell Byron was amped to play against his home state.
A player who didn’t pop off on the stat sheet but was critical for the Tide’s win was red-shirt freshman Deontae Lawson. While only getting six total tackles, he was most utilized as a spy on Dart. Lawson did a good job containing the elusive quarterback which led to a total of three sacks and seven tackles-for-loss.
Alabama will be back at Bryant-Denny Stadium as they welcome the Austin Peay Governors.
The game will air on ESPN+ and the SEC Network + at 11 am CT.