Rebs’ trash talk may have sealed their fate
Nick Saban was one happy fellow when he spoke to the media after his team shut out Ole Miss 25-0 before a sold-out Bryant-Denny Stadium and national cable audience. “Our players did a great job of competing in the game,” he said. “For us to shut them out was a great job by the defense. They got critical fourth down stops and did a good job on third down. We got some turnovers when we needed them.”
One big reason for that seemed to be what’s commonly called “trash talk.” At various points during the week before the game, various Ole Miss players had things to say about the Tide and its personnel. That pre-game chatter apparently backfired, and not just during the game. It carried over to the Tide practice field leading up to the contest.
“It fired us up, a lot,” said junior safety Ha-ha Clinton-Dix, who played one of his better collegiate games with eight tackles and two pass break-ups. “We set the tempo. Ole Miss had been talking a lot of smack during the week. We came out and practiced hard all week, and we showed them on the field.”
Senior linebacker C.J. Mosley (seven tackles, one break-up) agreed. “When somebody calls you out, you’re going to put a little extra into practice that game week. Our scout team gave us great looks, and our coaches gave us a great game plan.”
The game statistics bear that out, as Alabama outgained the high-octane Ole Miss offense, 434 yards to 205, and limited the visitors to but 4-of-14 on third down conversions. On fourth down, the Rebs went 1 for 4. Chalk that up to what some said was the Tide’s best week of practice all season. Ole Miss’ pre-game remarks were duly noted.
“We heard about the things they were saying,” said defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan. “It got our attention. We took it to heart. We really had to show them we take pride when we’re dominating.”
“They were going so fast, we just had to line up and react. C.J. Mosley played a great game. He was giving us all the (defensive) calls. He had a lot of freedom to set our defense.”
The Alabama offense was jump-started by T.J. Yeldon’s 68-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the second half that gave the Tide a 16-0 lead. “The center (Chad Lindsey) and guard (Anthony Steen) made good blocks. I cut back, hit the hole, and made a spin,” said Yeldon. “It picked the whole team up.”
Lindsey was in the game because starter Ryan Kelly stretched his MCL and will miss 2-3 weeks. “I feel like Chad did a great job,” Yeldon said, after running for 121 yards on 17 carries.
“It was great to have a chance to get out there and compete,” said Lindsay, a redshirt junior. “When you get your opportunity and chance, you’ve got to be ready to go.”
Lindsey, a Texas native, said adding to a 9-0 lead at the half was paramount to start the third quarter. “We came in at halftime as an offensive line, and looked each other in the eyes and said, ‘We’ve got to do this.’ It was a huge lift. It definitely swung the momentum in our favor. It was a great way to start the second half.”
Alabama (4-0, 2-0 SEC) will host Georgia State for homecoming next Saturday, with kickoff on the SEC Network set for 11:21 a.m. CT. The annual Homecoming Parade starts bright and early at 7:00 a.m.
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