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Notebook: Nick Saban Coaches 200th Game as Alabama Head Coach

Saban improved his record to 176-24 as the leader of the Crimson Tide with the win in Starkville on Saturday.

STARKVILLE, Miss. —After last week's loss to Texas A&M ended several notable streaks, Alabama started a new winning streak in Starkville Saturday night. '

"We played a 60-minute game, sort of dominated the game the way we like to play," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I think it’s the way you want to play on the road, the way you control the crowd. And I thought our guys did a really really good job of that, and we had a good week this week.”

Do Over

Mississippi State was flagged for holding early in the second quarter, but Alabama’s Nick Saban opted not to accept the penalty, giving Mississippi State third-and-10 instead of second-and-20.

The Bulldogs converted and Saban wasn’t pleased.

Minutes later on the same drive, the Bulldogs were called for another holding penalty. This time Saban accepted it and moved Mississippi State back to face second-and-20. The Bulldogs didn't convert and had to punt.

That's got to hurt

A Mississippi State cheerleader was involved in a collision with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Bulldog defensive lineman Nathaniel Watson.

Young was scrambling out of his own end zone and raced for the edge when Watson met him at the sideline. The two tumbled out of bounds and right into a cheerleader, whose back was to the play.

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She immediately bounced back up with her pom poms in the air to signal she was OK.

Same situation, different result

Last week Alabama had first-and-goal from the Texas A&M 3-yard line and passed on three straight downs. Alabama settled for a field goal.

The decision caused a stir from fans and media, calling into question the play-calling. Head coach Nick Saban pointed out after the game that Alabama didn’t run the ball as effectively as it should have in the red zone.

On Saturday against Mississippi State, the Crimson Tide had first-and-goal from the Bulldogs’ 7 and ran the ball three times. Brian Robinson scored on a 2-yard run to put Alabama on top 21-3.

A New Jig

Safety Jordan Battle broke out a new dance Saturday after his second interception against the Bulldogs. In the postgame, he credited it as his dad's move in high school 

"I've been waiting to do that forever, even since last year," Battle said. "I've been practicing it."

Tide-Bits

Courtesy of Alabama Athletics

  • Saturday marked Nick Saban’s 200th game as the Crimson Tide’s head coach.
  • Alabama has scored 30-or-more points in 33-straight games, the longest streak in major college football history.
  • Dating back to the start of the 2015 season, UA’s defense has limited the opposition to 10 or fewer points 38 times across 91 total contests.
  • Will Anderson Jr. became just the third player in Alabama history to record at least four sacks in a game and the first since 1988. Derrick Thomas had five sacks at Texas A&M and four sacks at Kentucky, both in 1988, while Leroy Cook had four sacks against Tennessee in 1975.
    • Going into Saturday’s matchup at Mississippi State, Anderson Jr. had 10 career sacks (seven in 2020, three in 2021).
    • Anderson Jr. also regained the national lead in tackles for loss following his performance at Mississippi State, recording 15 this season. The sophomore had a career-high four tackles for loss in the game.
  • Alabama recorded its 85th non-offensive touchdown of the Saban era Saturday, when Jordan Battle returned a 40-yard interception for a touchdown.
    • It marked Battle's second career pick-six.
    • It marked the Crimson Tide’s first interception return for a touchdown this season.
    • The Crimson Tide’s five non-offensive touchdowns this season ties last season’s total.
  • John Metchie III totaled 97 yards in the first half against Mississippi State, the first time he has totaled as many yards in not just a half, but a game, this season.
    • The junior caught a 46-yard pass from Bryce Young on Alabama’s opening drive, his longest reception of the season. His previous longest was 41 yards against Mercer in the home opener.
  • Alabama's captains at Mississippi State were defensive back Jordan Battle, linebacker Will Anderson Jr. and quarterback Bryce Young.