Alabama tight end Brian Vogler (84) dives for the end zone on Alabama’s first touchdown of the game against Mississippi State.--John Michael Simpson
Alabama tight end Brian Vogler (84) dives for the end zone on Alabama’s first touchdown of the game against Mississippi State.-- John Michael Simpson

Alabama survives scare from Mississippi State

Published 12:21am Sunday, November 17, 2013

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Alabama looked lethargic, uninspired, sloppy and downright ordinary against a middling Southeastern Conference team on Saturday.

And the top-ranked Crimson Tide still found a way to win by nearly two touchdowns.

T.J. Yeldon rushed for 160 yards and A.J. McCarron threw two touchdown passes as Alabama overcame four turnovers to beat Mississippi State 20-7 on Saturday night.

“We typically struggle here and we did again tonight,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “But give Mississippi State credit, they had a good gameplan. They played very physical and we couldn’t control the line of scrimmage.”

It was the lowest scoring game of the season for Alabama (10-0, 7-0 SEC), which led 10-7 midway through the third quarter before pulling away.

Alabama has seemed invincible over the past two months, winning seven straight games by at least three touchdowns. But that aura wasn’t anywhere to be found at Davis Wade Stadium, with Saban’s bunch looking curiously mortal after last week’s emotional victory over LSU.

“We came out sluggish and we were sluggish to the end.” Alabama receiver Kevin Norwood said.

Mississippi State (4-6, 1-5) kept the game far closer than most anticipated, but couldn’t take advantage of Alabama’s mistakes. Tyler Russell started for the injured Dak Prescott and completed 15 of 24 passes for 144 yards and an interception before leaving with a shoulder injury when the Bulldogs were trying to rally.

Although the Crimson Tide play Chattanooga next week, Alabama’s win solidified that the winner of this years Iron Bowl Nov. 30 will win the SEC West.

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