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Alabama’s Terry Grant (29) rushed for 62 yards in a 27-24 win over Ole Miss.
AP photo by Bruce Newman
Alabama’s Terry Grant (29) rushed for 62 yards in a 27-24 win over Ole Miss.

Another 4th-quarter rally for Tide
That’s twice in one season for Alabama

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com · 340-2460

TUSCALOOSA — When a possible game-saving catch for Ole Miss was ruled illegal, and Alabama had clinched a 27-24 victory Saturday, one small facet was lost in the moment.

Maybe it was almost losing to a Rebels team that rests at 0-4 in SEC play or the crazy nature of Ole Miss’s final play, but twice in one season, Alabama coach Nick Saban has accomplished something his his predecessor couldn’t do in four seasons at Tuscaloosa.

The Crimson Tide’s victory over Ole Miss was yet another fourth-quarter comeback win. Alabama also rallied from behind in the final period for a victory over Arkansas this year.

Before this year, the last time Alabama overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win a game was the 2001 Independence Bowl, when the Tide beat Iowa State 14-13.

“I’m really pleased and happy and proud for our players,” Saban said following the win over Ole Miss. “I thought they did a great job of competing today for 60 minutes in the game.

“That’s something we wanted to create: an identity where we can do that. (We want to) overcome adversity in the game and we certainly did that.”

Saban has preached overcoming adversity, and throughout the year so far, the Crimson Tide has dealt with several close games.

Excluding Alabama’s 52-6 first game blowout of Western Carolina, the Crimson Tide’s average margin of victory for its other four wins has been 6.5 points.

Alabama’s last two Southeastern Conference wins against Arkansas and the Rebels were each by three points.

“We’re not going to execute perfectly on every play, but we’re going to try to be as consistent as we can,” Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson said. “We had a great week of practice and won the game and got a big win.”

The 2007 Tide is starting to look similar to the 2005 version.

While that team did not have any fourth-quarter comebacks — and started the season with nine straight wins — it had its fair share of tense moments.

That Alabama team needed last-second field goals against Tennessee and Ole Miss to win those games. It also relied on a last-second field goal in the Cotton Bowl to defeat Texas Tech.

Cornerback Simeon Castille said that as he was waiting for the call to come down from the replay official on Saturday, he had a weird sense of déjà vu. Castille made an interception in the end zone on the last play of Alabama’s 30-24 win against Houston a week earlier.

“I was just thinking, ‘Here we go again,’ ” Castille said. “I can’t let them score.”

As is always the case with Saban, he spent much of his postgame news conference talking about what his team could do better.

He discussed a few missed interceptions, running back Glen Coffee’s fumble in the third quarter and the blocked punt the Tide allowed.

“Those are big swings in the game,” Saban said. “The good news is our team overcame them and I’m proud of that but we need to get those things fixed so we can do a better job of executing down the road.”

Alabama Monday Playback

Three points Alabama should remember after its 27-24 win over Ole Miss.

You’re in first place: Can you believe it? You are in first place in the SEC Western Division. Imagine what happens next weekend if you beat Tennessee and Auburn defeats LSU? That could set up a meaningful Iron Bowl.

Defensive improvements: You gave up 420 yards to Ole Miss. That’s close to double what Louisiana Tech allowed to the Rebels a week earlier, and it’s not a good sign with Tennessee coming up on the Tide’s schedule.

You almost lost: That win was nice, but the disputed final play would have been a moot point if Alabama’s Marcus Carter and Lionel Mitchell did their jobs and covered Ole Miss receiver Shay Hodge.

Josh Cooper

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