Brown dominates Tide
STARKVILLE, Miss. — During the week leading up to Saturday’s game between Alabama and Mississippi State, Bulldogs defensive end Titus Brown said that whenever he plays the Crimson Tide, he wants to show the school that it made a mistake in not recruiting him.
Well, the Tuscaloosa native did it Saturday in MSU’s 17-12 win. He made two big plays against the Tide. First, Brown pressured Tide quarterback John Parker Wilson into throwing an interception at the end of the first half, which MSU returned for a touchdown.
Brown also sacked Wilson on the final play of the game on the Alabama 44-yard line, ending the Tide’s hopes of a comeback.
“It felt good,” Brown said. “The game was finally over, and we finally came out with a win at the end against Alabama.”
Brown said that on the interception before halftime, he knew Alabama was going to pass because it was “third and kind of short, and I knew they were going to take a shot at the end zone.”
Brown said that a big hole opened up when “everybody blocked down” enabling him to get to Wilson.
If there is one positive that Alabama can take from this loss, it has to be place-kicker Leigh Tiffin. He made all four field goal attempts against Mississippi State on Saturday.
Tiffin stayed out on the field warming up almost right up until the beginning of the game. According to Tiffin, he was nailing practice kicks of close to 60 yards.
His second field goal was 51 yards, and his fourth was 50.
“I’ve had games where I actually felt more confident,” Tiffin said. “On certain days, things just go your way, and you just don’t miss.”
Hall having problems
Alabama record-setting wide receiver DJ Hall hasn’t had too much to brag about the past two weeks.
Against Mississippi State, Hall caught five passes for 46 yards and didn’t show the type of game-breaking ability he had earlier in the season.
According to Alabama coach Nick Saban, the Bulldogs focused on Hall and defended him the way LSU did the previous week when he had two catches.
“A lot of roll-up coverage,” Saban said. “Not all the time, but we have to read and trust and believe what we’re supposed to read, and the last couple weeks, we haven’t done that on a consistent basis, and it affects our ability to be consistent.”
In his first prolonged action of the season, Alabama’s Chris Capps played right tackle on Saturday.
With B.J. Stabler nursing an undisclosed injury, starting right tackle Mike Johnson moved to right guard to make room for Capps.
Stabler came back later, moving Johnson back to right tackle, but it was Capps’ longest action since last year’s Iron Bowl.
“I thought Chris Capps did a pretty good job, for the most part,” Saban said.
“We weren’t calling his name out as if he wasn’t getting his job done.”
With running back Roy Upchurch hurting because of an undisclosed injury and running back Glen Coffee suspended because of Alabama’s textbook probe, Jonathan Lowe became an important part of Alabama’s backfield for the second straight week.
At times, he was the Tide’s most successful running back.
While Terry Grant had some trouble getting yards against Mississippi State’s defense — 19 rushes for 75 yards and a 3.9 average a carry — Lowe often found his way knifing through the Bulldogs’ front.
He finished with 40 yards on seven carries, which equated to a team best 5.7 yards a carry.
Lowe transferred from Mississippi State in 2006 and sat out last year because of NCAA transfer rules.
As he watched last year’s game, he couldn’t help but think he brought Alabama bad luck. He said he sort of felt the same way this year.
“In the midst of the game, I kind of thought about that,” Lowe said. “But that has nothing to do with it.
“To be honest, it’s just about how they played and how we played and who executed the best. And those guys executed better than we did.”
Scoreless streak still on
You have to go back to 2004 to find the last time Alabama’s offense scored a touchdown against Mississippi State.
In Alabama’s 30-14 victory over the Bulldogs, Le’Ron McClain caught a 4-yard pass from Spencer Pennington for the game’s last score with 5:28 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Grading the CrimsonTide
Decatur Daily Sports Writer Josh Cooper grades Alabama’s performance in Saturday’s 17-12 loss to MississippiState, giving the CrimsonTide a letter grade from A+ to F in four categories.
The Crimson Tide garnered only 274 yards, and it couldn’t move the ball when it needed to do so. An interception when you’re knocking on the Mississippi State goal line with time running out in the first half is a cardinal sin.
When your defense holds the opposing team to 215 yards, the grade should be higher than the one you see on this page. But Mississippi State’s last drive ate enough time to give Alabama no chance when it got the ball back.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A
Look at how far place-kicker Leigh Tiffin has come. Two field goals of 50 or more yards? That’s a long way from his struggles against Arkansas last year.
THE BIG PICTURE:C-
Say goodbye to the Outback, Cotton or Capital One bowls. Once again, Alabama needs to beat Auburn in two weeks to have a successful season.
Best and worst
Best last play against Alabama: What a way for Tuscaloosa native Titus Brown to end his career against the Crimson Tide — A sack of John Parker Wilson to finish off Alabama.
Best noise: Well, if you’re a Bulldogs fan. The cowbells made Davis-Wade Stadium the loudest atmosphere in which Alabama had played all year, even if it is the second smallest facility in the SEC.
Worst consecutive losses to a program: Last year’s loss to Mississippi State changed the landscape of Alabama football. What will this year’s do? Nick Saban won’t be fired for this, but the loss has to hurt.
Worst time for an interception: If you’re Mississippi State’s Wesley Carroll, it happened Saturday. He was one attempt away from setting the NCAA record for attempts without an interception for a freshman starting his career. Then Carroll hit Alabama’s Rashad Johnson over the middle for an interception.
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