• It got ugly quickly in Oxford, as Alabama let Ole Miss go up by a touchdown and then unleashed its full wrath.
By Ross Dellenger
September 15, 2018

OXFORD, Miss. — Vaught-Hemingway Stadium hosted a beatdown of epic proportions on Saturday night, so here are three punches from top-ranked Alabama’s 62–7 victory over Ole Miss.

1. The all-Hawaii QB duel didn't meet the hype. This game was supposed to be a battle between Hawaiian-born quarterbacks with nifty feet, strong, accurate arms and a knack for making big plays. Even Ole Miss fans got into the fun, wearing leis around their necks, and the public address announcer, about 30 minutes before kickoff, bellowed through the stadium, “the battle of the Hawaii quarterbacks!” It turned into a snoozefest, with Ole Miss’s Jordan Ta’amu throwing two interceptions—one a pick-six—and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa beind pulled out of the slaughter for good after just six offensive series. He played about a quarter and a half, exiting the game with the Crimson Tide up 35–7.

Ta’amu and Tagovailoa grew up together just a few miles apart, and they even trained together at Ewa Beach Park. Tagovailoa finished 11-of-15 for 191 yards and two touchdowns, and Jalen Hurts was 7-for-10 for 85 yards, leading the Tide on back-to-back touchdown drives in an all-around thumping.

2. Alabama’s elite pass catchers outshined Ole Miss’s. Through the first two weeks of Alabama’s season, the college football world seemed to have reach the same terrifying conclusion: Oh God, Nick Saban has a quarterback. That didn’t change Saturday night (in fact, Saban will tell you, he has two quarterbacks), but the Crimson Tide have something else to fear besides two competent signal-callers and a predictably stellar defense: receivers. Ole Miss possesses three of the best receivers around in D.J. Metcalf, DeMarkus Lodge and A.J. Brown, but it was Bama’s trio of pass catchers doing the damage on Saturday.

Jerry Jeudy had three catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns, DeVonta Smith had three for 28 yards and tight end Irv Smith Jr. had three for 42 yards and a score. Jeudy showed his freakish athleticism, scoring on a 79-yard streaker down the middle at one point and later dancing around an Ole Miss defender with a nasty move. DeVonta Smith flashed that slippery speed of his, and Irv Smith caught a nice back-shoulder grab at the pylon.

3. Wanted: Ole Miss defense. Ole Miss allowed the most yards to an FCS team in a single half in Southeastern Conference history last week against Southern Illinois. If Alabama kicker Joseph Bulovas had converted on a 38-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide early in the second quarter, the Tide would have set the league record for most points in a game including two SEC teams. We all know Rebels coach Matt Luke has a rebuilding process ahead, and we all know that Ole Miss’s defense isn’t very good (see first line of this note), but Alabama’s strikes were too easy: touchdowns of 79 and 43 yards, only two punts all game and a perfect 3-for-3 success rate on third downs through three quarters.

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