A few thoughts from the early aftermath of Alabama's 30-10 victory over Mississippi State:
- From the outset I suppose it should be noted that yesterday was a bit of a bittersweet day because the Auburn victory over Georgia ended any chances of Alabama returning to Atlanta for the third year in a row, but having said that we can do nothing else but beat those teams that are ahead of us, and to that end securing a relatively easy victory over Mississippi State should not be overlooked. After playing poorly last weekend in Baton Rouge, I think quite a few people -- myself included -- were worried that this game could easily result in a loss, so to be coming off of that setback, to respond relatively well and secure a victory over a top twenty team while never being put in any legitimate fear of a defeat is no minor accomplishment. The overall performance was far from perfect, but no one can reasonably complain about the final result.
- In the end, the 2010 Alabama v. Mississippi State game seemingly picked up right where the 2009 game left off. One year ago in Starkville, MSU played hard and played a relatively even game with us only to ultimately see that contest turn into a landslide thanks to a handful of key lapses that resulted in big plays for the Crimson Tide. The same basic story repeated itself last night, as the Bullies allowed two short throws to turn into long touchdown passes while also allowing a jet sweep to Julio Jones -- a play that we've tried four times earlier in the year with no real success -- to turn into a 56-yard touchdown run. Give Dan Mullen and company credit for showing up prepared to play, but for the second year in a row a handful of key lapses cost them an otherwise solid performance.
- Twenty-two minutes into this game Alabama was clinging to a narrow 6-3 lead in a closely played contest, and the total yardage numbers were almost precisely even. Consider that temporary status to be the result of very poor play by the 'Bama lines on both sides of the football. Our offensive line was simply dominated in the trenches for much of the one-third of the game, and the defensive line fared little better. The line play improved in the second half as we seemingly wore down the Bullies over the course of four quarters, but the point remains that the early returns were very discouraging. Perhaps no other factor explains the drop-off from the 2009 Tide to the current version than the poor play at the point of attack on both sides of the football. I don't care what happens at the skill positions, no football team will ever play at a consistently high level when getting dominated in the trenches like we were for much of the first half last night.