The University of Alabama Football and Crimson Tide Sports Source
January 19, 2017
November 11, 2016
Can he do it again?
Only once since Nick Saban has been at Alabama has the Tide finished the season undefeated. The 2009 team defeated Texas in the Rose Bowl to take the BCS National Championship. Saban’s teams have won three more national championships but each team had one loss. The Tide has three games left before it enters the post-season. Can it finish unblemished?
Mississippi State proved that it could beat a good team when it defeated Texas A&M in Starkville last week. The Aggies came into Starkville ranked number four in the first round of playoff rankings and laid a mighty egg in Mississippi.
The Bulldogs have improved steadily over the course of the season and could create some serious buzz if they could come into Tuscaloosa and knock off the number one ranked Crimson Tide. Back in 1980, Mississippi State knocked off then undefeated number one ranked Alabama, which had won 28 straight games. A game that any State fan who was alive at the time remembers fondly.
That was then and this is now. Over the history of this series Mississippi State has had a habit of playing Alabama tough. It would not be far-fetched for the Tide to have a let-down after the game in Baton Rouge last weekend. In fact, many pundits are saying just that. Alabama will likely come out flat against the Bulldogs, as they look ahead to Auburn.
That is a possibility. Though, State does present an opportunity for the Alabama passing game to improve. The Bulldog’s passing defense in not very good. The Alabama passing offense is seen by many as the Tide’s Achilles’ heel. LSU employed a strategy last week of crowding the edges and making Jalen Hurts stay in the pocket and beat them passing. It almost worked.
That said Mississippi State is not LSU. They simply do not have the defense to do what LSU did to Alabama. They, no doubt will try, as will everybody else from here on out. Hurts passing game is not great. It’s OK, it needs to improve and it probably will and the Bulldogs with their porous secondary provide an opportunity for Hurts to gain some confidence.
The other factor in this game is State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Much has been written about him. He’s a big kid; he can run and pass and he is being compared to Tim Tebow, who Bulldog coach Dan Mullen coached at Florida. Perhaps someday Fitzgerald will be Tim Tebow, but not Saturday. Texas A&M has a good defense. Alabama has a really good defense, perhaps the best in college football. If Fitzgerald can get the kind of yardage nearly 400 yards rushing and passing he racked up against A&M in Tuscaloosa State could come home victorious.
I honestly believe that someone has pointed out Fitzgerald to the Alabama defense. I do not expect them to take a week off. Look for Alabama to shut down State’s running game and get after Fitzgerald. He will be under constant pressure all day. Alabama’s offense may start slow but it will pick up and put the Bulldogs away.
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