How Alabama beat Mississippi State

And now, a look at my game story from Saturday’s affair:

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The defensive struggle continued Saturday night.

Snapping out of a late-season slumber, Alabama found enough offense to escape Starkville with slim title hopes intact.

A 24-7 win over Mississippi State was hardly a masterpiece, but one wasn’t necessary with the Crimson Tide defense on the field.

The Bulldogs mustered just 131 yards — 12 on the ground thanks to five sacks — as the guests responded swiftly to the 9-6 overtime loss to LSU a week earlier. It was still a bit of an adventure for the No. 4 team in the nation.

Tide kickers missed their first two field-goal attempts after a stagnant start for the offense that lacked rhythm in the first half. There was an interception and long kickoff return, but Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy helped the team break out of the funk to some degree after halftime.

“We didn’t play a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination,” coach Nick Saban said. “We had too many mistakes. We played extremely well defensively and made enough plays on offense, but we should have finished a few more drives and scored some more points early in the game.”

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