No. 1 Alabama ‘can’t let up’ vs. Southern Miss
Alabama got tested last Saturday against Florida on the road, emerging with a 31-29 win after the Gators came up just short on a two-point conversion attempt late in the game.
The win allowed the Crimson Tide (3-0, 1-0 SEC) to maintain their No. 1 ranking, with Southern Mississippi of Conference USA coming into Tuscaloosa on Saturday night.
The Tide have a seven-game winning streak against the Golden Eagles and have won 13 of the last 14 meetings. Southern Miss (1-2) has never played Alabama in the state of Mississippi, and the Golden Eagles defeated the Tide 21-0 in September of 2000 in Birmingham, Ala., for the most recent Southern Mississippi victory in the series.
Alabama has won the last two meetings (2019 and 2014) by a combined score of 101-19.
There were some lessons to be learned from the Florida win, Alabama head coach Nick Saban said.
“You can’t let up in a game. You’ve got to be able to sustain and play Alabama football for 60 minutes in a game. You can’t relinquish big leads,” Saban said. “So, there’s a lot of things that our players can learn in terms of what we can do to be better from an execution standpoint, and how we can sustain our intensity for 60 minutes in a game.”
Saban said the Golden Eagles have a tough defense that has played the run well, and will present a challenge despite Alabama being a perceived overwhelming favorite.
Alabama has scored 30 or more points in 30 straight games, which is the longest current streak of its kind in the FBS. One more 30-point game and the Tide will tie UCF, which had 31 from 2017-2019, for the all-time record.
Saban is 264-65-1 all-time as a head coach, including a 173-23 mark at Alabama. An early touchdown bodes well for the Crimson Tide, as they have won 43 straight games when scoring a touchdown on the first offensive possession of the game, as they did against Florida.
Southern Mississippi has losses to South Alabama and Troy, by a combined score of 52-16. Its win was over Grambling State, 37-0.
The Golden Eagles rushed for minus-1 yards against Troy at home last weekend, with 156 yards of total offense. Defensively, the Southern Miss defense has limited each of its first three opponents this season to fewer than 100 yards rushing.
Opponents are averaging only 17.3 points and 248 yards of total offense per game against the Golden Eagles, but Alabama is, of course, on another level in terms of caliber of opponent.
Quarterback Trey Lowe will miss Saturday’s game with a foot injury, according to a statement he released on Twitter. The transfer from West Virginia said he was focusing on “healing, rehab, and getting back to the game I love,” and pledged to help his team any way he can.
Lowe started the first two games of this season before injuring his foot against Grambling. He was replaced by freshman Ty Keyes, who started against Troy and is expected to start against Alabama.
–Field Level Media