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Jumbo Package: Saban “Proud” After Hard-Fought Road Victory

Time will tell whether Saturday night’s game was a harbinger of things to come or merely another footnote in a championship run.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. The Alabama women’s basketball team hosts Utah tonight at 7pm CT, broadcast online only at WatchESPN. The ladies opened the season Friday night with a 90-32 victory over Alabama A&M.

Your Mississippi State recaps:

We’re not often privy to what happens in Alabama’s locker room postgame, but Alabama’s video department has done a nice job of giving those who follow the program a look behind the curtain.

In the video below, you can hear Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans yelling “I love y’all boys” and “they got ice water in their veins.”

It was a huge win for Alabama. Saban said these are the types of wins that bring a team closer together when they are able to fight through adversity.

“We got 24 hours to enjoy this, and I’m proud as hell of ya,” Saban said as the players cheered on.

Ranked first nationally in a number of categories after October, the Crimson Tide are just top five in most. It still leads the country in scoring defense by allowing 11.2 points a game. That comes after giving up a season-high 24 in a win at Mississippi State on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs pushed Alabama to No. 3 in rushing defense after giving up a season-high 172 yards on the ground.

On Alabama's first possession of the second half, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll made an adjustment.

On a ten-play drive, he dialed up three passes that were either thrown behind the line of scrimmage or traveled mere feet beyond it.

"We talked about at halftime, getting back to running some catch sweeps, and even when we weren't running them to use them as sort of eye candy for the defense," Saban said.

Alabama went to Jacobs on the first two plays of the second half -- the jet sweep and then on a fake jet sweep that ended with Jacobs catching a pass from Jalen Hurts and doing more of what he did on the previous play.

Jacobs stiff-armed a Mississippi State defender to the ground at the line of scrimmage and barreled over another player before being knocked out of bounds. Just a 6-yard gain but the type of play that will further energize a team, especially after the previous play.

Then, with Alabama trailing 24-17 early in the fourth quarter, Jacobs broke off runs of seven, 13 and 11 yards during a 10-play, 82-yard drive that ended with a game-tying touchdown.

Eventually, it had to happen. No matter what anyone tries to tell you, playing on the road in the Southeastern Conference isn’t easy, even if Alabama has made it look easy. The environment in Starkville on Saturday night could not have been better, or louder. Dan Mullen is a good coach. Mississippi State had a solid plan. The Bulldogs were strong at the line of scrimmage. If you could find a negative about the Bulldogs, perhaps it was this: When winning time came in the fourth quarter, MSU seemed to look for a path to overtime instead of keeping the gas pedal pressed firmly to the floor.

Still, it was enough to scare Alabama. The question now is whether it will make Alabama ready for scarier locations still to come.

I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes we tend to lose perspective as football fans. Each sixty minute game is unique, has different matchups, random occurrences, and bounces of the football. Without question, some concerning weaknesses showed up on Saturday that we are unaccustomed to seeing as Alabama fans, and we certainly aren’t used to seeing Mississippi State have offensive success against Alabama. That said, what we saw on Saturday does not necessarily mean that things will get worse as we play better teams.

Mississippi State had a great plan, as Saban mentioned. They attacked the backfield on defense, and kept coming even after Calvin Ridley torched them twice. On offense, they took the air out of the ball. The plan was obvious: keep the Alabama defense and its depleted linebacker corps on the field for as long as possible. If Alabama was to score, they wanted it to happen quickly.

It nearly worked. Alabama’s inexperienced linebackers did not play the run very well. The good news is that, for the first time in their careers, there will be a full game tape for them to evaluate their own performances with the coaches and hopefully learn from it. Going forward, expect to see more of Moses on the standard downs and Holcombe on passing downs. That obviously won’t prevent both players from having to play against both the run and pass, but it is a timeshare that makes sense. Moses has all of the physical tools but isn’t yet mentally ready to play the pass on a full-time basis.

Bottom line, Saban is proud of the team for the way they competed in a bad situation. In 2014, they barely survived Arkansas the week after losing in Oxford. In 2015, they very nearly lost to Tennessee. In 2016, LSU was a nail biter. All of those seasons ended with SEC championships and playoff appearances. Without question, the Tide will need to try and put up more points on offense to help its depleted defense, but there are plenty of weapons. Hopefully the Tide will be able to make the necessary adjustments and come out firing on all cylinders in Auburn.

One thing’s for sure. These guys continue to have fun:

This team has been a blast to follow.

Hey, guess what? Somebody got hurt again.

Alabama starting left guard Ross Pierschbacher is expected to miss two to four weeks with a high-ankle sprain, a source told ESPN.

Pierschbacher suffered the injury during the first quarter of Saturday's 31-24 win over Mississippi State and was unable to return to the field.

Saban said that he has lost more starters to injury this season than at any time in his entire coaching career. Add Ross Pierschbacher to the list. The saving grace here is that there is a junior backup in J.C. Hassenauer who has proved capable in previous game experience.

Beat writer Aaron Suttles is tired of getting questions about Ben Davis:

Recruiting rankings aren’t an exact science, and they measure potential as much as anything. Ben still has a whole career in front of him.

It’s very early yet, but Saturday’s results certainly tightened up the Iron Bowl spread:

This one should be a classic. Hope for the best.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.