Defense shuts down Ole Miss passing game


Photo by Hannah Saad

Cody Estremera, Sports Editor

OXFORD— Alabama’s defense started as poorly as it could have against Ole Miss. It allowed a touchdown on the first play of the game for the first time since 2011. From that point onward, the Crimson Tide shut down the Rebel passing game, in route to winning 62-7.

Ole Miss quarterback Jordan Ta’amu had lit up opposing defenses all year, throwing for 784 yards in his first two games of the season, and he looked like he was going to continue to dominate against Alabama. On the first play of the game, Ta’amu lobbed a pass to wide receiver D.K. Metcalf for a 75-yard touchdown.

“It’s just one play out of a game,” outside linebacker Christian Miller said. “You still have to play another 59 minutes. You just have to play.”

Ta’amu completed just six more passes the rest of the game for a measly 58 yards.

The Crimson Tide nearly shut down the Rebel offense completely after the first quarter. Ole Miss racked up 170 yards in the first quarter but finished with just 248 yards. The Rebels were forced to punt nine times, and went 3-and-out seven times.

“This team scored 76 points and they had 248 yards of total offense, 75 of them came on the first play,” coach Nick Saban said. “I thought we did a good job of executing a plan. I thought the players played hard. I thought we did a really good job up front, because the plan was not to pressure a lot in this game.”

The defense forced Ta’amu to throw two interceptions and fumble.

Deionte Thompson picked the first one off and returned it 40 yards to the Rebels 15-yard line. He added four tackles, including two solo tackles.

“He has great range in the back end,” Saban said. “He’s very instinctive. Football is really important to him. He does a great job of preparing every week. Really proud of the progress he’s made as a player throughout his career here.”

Xavier McKinney took the second one 30 yards for a touchdown. He also forced the fumble.

Alabama finished with four sacks, which was a season high. Miller led the team with 2.5 sacks, while adding five total tackles.

“It’s all about opportunities,” Miller said. “They didn’t drop back in Louisville. They didn’t drop back as much. Tonight, we had a better opportunity. Those guys, when they would throw the ball, would sit back in the pocket, so we had the opportunity.”

Alabama is back in action Saturday, November 22 at 2:30 p.m. when Texas A&M comes to town.