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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — After a sluggish start, No. 13 Alabama rolled in the second half to a 24-10 victory over No. 15 Ole Miss on Saturday.
Alabama didn’t score its first touchdown until the middle of the third quarter when quarterback Jalen Milroe threw a spectacular pass to tight end Amari Niblack in the back of the end zone. After Ty Simpson made a two-point conversion on a quarterback rush, the Crimson Tide led, 17-7.
The Rebels led 7-6 heading into the half, with Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart tallying the Rebels’ lone touchdown of the day on a 10-yard run. Though the Tide were sacked four times in the first 30 minutes, Alabama generated enough offense to keep it in the game.
After making halftime adjustments, the Tide showed who was in control at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In the second half, Alabama outgained Ole Miss 241-148 yards and allowed no sacks. Running back Jase McClellan tallied the Tide’s second touchdown on an eight-yard rush early in the fourth quarter.
Alabama is now 3-1 overall with a 1-0 conference mark.
Offense has its moments but still makes miscues
Milroe’s final statistics were respectable, as he completed 17 of his 21 passes for 225 yards. He also carried the ball 28 yards.
Ten Tide players caught the ball during the contes, with receiver Jalen Hale securing a team-high 63 yards. Alabama receiver Jermaine Buron recorded a 54-yard reception to start the second half.
The redshirt sophomore made a poor choice in the second quarter on a third-and-goal from Ole Miss; nine-yard line. Instead of directing his pass to Burton, who was standing at the four-yard line, Milroe threw the ball into the end zone toward receiver Ja’Corey Brooks. Ole Miss secured a touchback after cornerback Zamari Walton intercepted the pass.
A 21-yard McClellan rushing touchdown was wiped out because of holding early in third quarter, leading to the Tide scoring three points instead of seven on that drive. Alabama committed another holding infraction and an illegal shift during the game.
Defense follows up with another solid performance
After allowing three points to South Florida last week, the Tide defense carried its momentum into Alabama’s SEC opener.
Tide defensive back Terrion Arnold snatched an interception at Alabama’s four-yard line and ran it back for 37 yards to end Ole Miss’ first second-half possession. The Tide tallied five sacks, including two from linebacker Dallas Turner.
The Rebels were held to 56 yards on the ground, though the Tide surrendered 245 yards through the air. Ole Miss found the red zone four times but came out with just 10 points.
Special teams do their job
Alabama wide receiver Brooks blocked a Rebel punt in the Ole Miss end zone with about 7:45 left in the first half. The ball went out of bounds at the Rebel 1-yard-line, though the Tide settled for a 40-yard field goal from Will Reichard after losing yards on its three offensive plays of the drive.
That was the fifth-year senior’s second field goal make of the day after connecting on a 48-yard attempt in the first quarter for the game’s first points. That first conversion gave Reichard his 450th point of his career. The second field goal put him the top 13 of the NCAA’s all-time career points list. Reichard went 3-of-3 on the day.
Tide punter James Burnip averaged 48.3 yards on three punts.