In the previous 38 match-ups between these two programs, Bama had won 37 of them. The lone victory for State: the legendary 1980 game. Now, Jackie Sherrill (who played on some of those Tide teams that beat MSU during that stretch) had spent five years building up to this glorious moment: defeating Alabama.
Mississippi State vs. Alabama, 1996 (via BulldogOzzy)
Other than this game, '96 was a down year for State as they ended 5-6. But this win proceeded the four consecutive winning seasons from '97-'00. During this stretch, MSU beat Bama 4 out of 5 times - and the only loss in 1999 featured some questionable officiating in Tuscaloosa that brought back a couple of Bulldog touchdowns.