STARKVILLE, Miss. – Even 30 minutes before kickoff, you could hear the cowbells from miles away.
By the time kickoff rolled around and the paratroopers had landed on the Mississippi State logo, the roar was deafening. For Jalen Milroe’s first SEC road test as Alabama’s starting quarterback, you couldn’t ask for a tougher environment.
But Milroe took yet another step in his development on Saturday night, proving that he’s an entirely different player than the one seen just a few games ago against USF.
The redshirt Sophomore finished his night early in the fourth, resting his helmet after completing 10-12 passes for 164 yards. 12 passes is a continued decline from his 23 attempts against Ole Miss, but one that appears to be intentional. The passing game was rarely needed on the road, as the Crimson Tide finished with 193 yards on the ground, scoring all three touchdowns on runs. It was certainly not the driving force behind the offense early, as Milroe’s first pass attempt didn’t come until the second quarter.
Two of the aforementioned rushing touchdowns were scored by Milroe – including the first touchdown of the game where the young Texan torched two Bulldog defenders in a race to the endzone on a 53-yard score.
Milroe’s decision making also continued to improve, as he threw no interceptions in the noisy road environment, nor did he throw any near-interceptions. Alabama’s offense as a whole also limited mistakes – save for a mistimed snap that hit the quarterback in the side while making adjustments.
Defense continues to dominate
Alabama’s offense came out slow on the road, but the defense kept the Bulldogs in a cage until the Crimson Tide was able to strike first.
Punter James Burnip and the coverage team were able to pin Will Rodgers on the one-yard-line to start his first drive, and the vaunted Crimson Tide secondary allowed just four yards in three plays before forcing a punt.
The second defensive series was much-alike, as Alabama forced another punt after Rodgers was sacked on third down by Trezmen Marshall. On the night, they would record five quarterback hurries.
They were also able to prevent Mississippi State from reigniting their passing game – which carried them against South Carolina the week prior – picking off Rogers three times. One of the interceptions came just before halftime and allowed the Crimson Tide to take a three-score lead into the locker room.
While they did allow a relatively easy drive out of the locker room from Rodgers and the Mississippi State offense, they’d seal the game with their third and final interception of the night with 9:04 remaining in the game.
Alabama will continue its road streak as it takes on Texas A&M inside Kyle Field. Kick is set for 2:30 p.m. CT and the game will air on CBS.
Nicholas Pursley is the Sports Director for WVUA-FM and covers the Alabama Crimson Tide football program. He also co-hosts The Low Tide on 90.7 FM from 7-8 p.m. CT in Tuscaloosa, also available for download on voices.ua.edu, Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can follow Nicholas on X @nicholaspursley.