By JOHN ZENOR, AP Sports Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Bryce Young threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns and No. 6 Alabama’s defense continued to dominate No. 24 Mississippi State in a 30-6 victory Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) bounced back from their first loss of the season, a 52-49 loss to No. 3 Tennessee. The Alabama defenders earned a measure of redemption after giving up more points than any other Alabama team since 1907.
The Tide seems to return to normal after the loss, especially the defense.
“For me, that’s a start,” Tide trainer Nick Saban. “It is time to answer the bell and now the challenge is that we must build on that.”
Will Rogers and the normally prolific Bulldogs (5-3, 3-3) couldn’t get to the end zone against Alabama until the very last play. It was the first touchdown Mississippi State had against the Tide in three games under coach Mike Leach, being outscored (120-15).
Rogers completed 30 of 60 passes for 231 yards. Jo’quavious Marks scored on a 1-yard run to end the game. Young completed 21 of 35 passes with a pair of long passes, including a 31-yard touchdown run to JoJo Earle.
This didn’t turn into a star quarterback matchup, however, but rather a statement game for the ‘Bama defense. The Tide, who first started LSU transfer cornerback Eli Ricks, had 15 pass breakups and four sacks after falling victim to the Volunteers.
Ricks, who did not play against Tennessee, and fellow Kool-Aid cornerback McKinstry each broke up four passes.
Alabama has won the last four meetings at Bryant-Denny Stadium by a combined 136-9.
Mississippi State has now lost two straight games. The Bulldogs had missed Tide’s 15 fourth-down calls and their own 30 in the first half. They tried it on fourth down six times, converting three.
Alabama: The Tide cleaned up their act after scoring a school record 17 times against Tennessee. Alabama committed three penalties for 20 yards. But the Tide only gained 29 yards on 27 carries, including sacks.
The state of Mississippi wore “SW 78” decals on its helmets in honor of Sam Westmoreland, a freshman offensive lineman who died Wednesday. There was a moment of silence before the match. The coroner said no foul play was suspected, but did not release details.
Alabama defensive tackles DJ Dale and Jaheim Oatis watched the game in street clothes, with Dale wearing a boot on his left leg. Linebacker Deontae Lawson also didn’t play. However, wide receiver Jermaine Burton opened after Alabama investigated a postgame incident in which he appeared to hit a Tennessee fan walking off the field in a wild scene.
Saban said they have him in a counseling program, emphasizing that it’s not about anger management but “having proper respect for other people. I didn’t think it was necessary to suspend the guy.”
Alabama visits LSU on November 5.
Mississippi State hosts Auburn on November 5
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