Things back to normal in T-Town

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 14, 2002

Perkuns on Bama

By William Perkins / Selma Times – Journal

Things are finally back to normal in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide’s 28-14 victory over Mississippi State Saturday improves their overall record to 8-2 for the year. In addition, Alabama goes to 5-1 in the SEC and have won seven of their last eight conference games dating back to last season. They are ranked 10th in this weeks A.P. poll.

Alabama’s rivalry with the Bulldogs has been anything but normal recently. Alabama has dominated the last 45 games, winning 40 and losing only 5. Unfortunately 4 of the 5 MSU victories have come since 1996 ( 1996,1997, 1998, 2000).

Alabama was able to win this game by doing what Mississippi State has done to them the past few years. Bama controlled the line of scrimmage offensively and played hard nosed defense to get victory.

Tyler Watts completed 16-of 22 passes for 223 yards and a career high 3 touchdowns to spark the offense. Tyler’s performance helped him surpass the 4,000 yard total offense mark in his career. He moves ahead of Jeff Rutledge (1975-1978) and Mike Shula (1981-1986) into 7th place for total offense in school history.

Triandos Luke is emerging as the go to guy at receiver. He hauled in 7 catches for 128 yards and 2 touchdowns. The week before he caught nine passes for 103 yards against Vandy. He and fellow receiver Dre Fulgam have added the deep threat to Alabama’s potent running game.

The defense was tough as usual. Despite a sluggish first half, they stiffened to pitch a shutout in the third and fourth quarters. After starting the season with two questionable outings against MTSU and Oklahama the defense has allowed only 12 points per game on average.

Ironically, it was in last year’s game with MSU that Alabama’s fortunes began to change for the better. Alabama was 3-5. Doubt and criticism of the team, the direction the program and the new head coach was rampant. Alabama came back from a fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Bulldogs 24-17. Since that game Alabama is 12-2 and that loud noise you hear in T-town are all those critics jumping back on the Bama bandwagon.

Mississppi State is now assured of having its second losing season in a row. There is a lot of speculation that Coach Jackie Sherrill will be forced out at the end of the season. The chance of that happening are about as good as mine and Andy Stewart’s are to win a Pulitzer Prize.

People forget that Mississippi State was basically on the same level as Vanderbilt as the doormats of the SEC prior to Sherrill’s arrival. 3-8 seasons were the rule rather than the exception. Unless major infractions are found by the NCAA, Sherrill will leave on his own terms.

Alabama travels to Baton Rouge this week to take on LSU. LSU currently sits atop the SEC West with only one conference loss. A victory over Alabama would put the Bengal Tigers in the drivers seat to get to the SEC Championship game.

LSU has developed a reputation of being nearly unbeatable in Tiger Stadium. Especially at night. Unfortunately for them that reputation is nothing but a myth.

The Crimson Tide should pay property taxes on Tiger Stadium, because they own it. They have only lost there one time since 1969. Alabama is 13-2-1 all time in those &uot;magical&uot; night games in Baton Rouge as well.

Lets hope Alabama continues their dominance over LSWho this week.

The game kicks off Saturday at 8:00 P.M. and will be televised by ESPN.