Mississippi State hung tough with the No. 1 team in the country, but in the end, the Bulldogs dropped a 20-7 decision to Alabama.
Tyler Russell, who drew the start with Dak Prescott out with a shoulder injury, played a very smart and safe game, throwing for 144 yards on 15 of 24 passing attempts. While those stats seem modest, the Bulldogs found little success all on night on the ground. LaDarius Perkins continued to struggle and stay on the field all game. The lone touchdown of the night came when Russell fumbled the football and Charles Siddoway recovered the ball in the end zone.
The defense played its best game of the entire year, keeping Alabama to its lowest final score of the season. The Bulldogs kept pressure on A. J. McCarron all night, routinely leaving Alabama in third and long situations.
The Bulldogs forced four turnovers throughout the game; including two in the forth quarter when the game looked to be slipping away. That was the story of the game, the defense carried the team all game. The defense gave relentless effort throughout the game and forced timely turnovers. However, the offense turned the turnovers into only seven points. The only knock on the defense came when the team struggled to finish out the half for another game when they gave up a touchdown twenty seconds before halftime.
Damien Williams finished out the game for the Bulldogs after Russell apparently injured is shoulder following an interception return and could not return. Being led by a true freshman, the offense had trouble moving the ball once Russell exited the game. The Alabama defense keyed in on the run, and Williams finished the game with five incomplete passes, although his receivers dropped three passes, one being a sure-fire touchdown pass to De'Runnya Wilson that would have cut the score to 20-13.
The Bulldogs played great for all four quarters and gave the Crimson Tide one of their hardest games of the season. Dan Mullen should be encouraged in the effort his team gave the number one ranked team in the country.
Mississippi State will have to continue to play at a high level for the next two weeks. The Bulldogs will face the Arkansas Razorbacks and Ole Miss Rebels, and they need a win over both teams to secure a trip to a fourth straight bowl game.