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What Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss said about Alabama's Daunting Defense

Ole Miss Head Coach Lane Kiffin and players gave their thoughts on Alabama's defensive effort versus the Rebels.
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — While it wasn't the prettiest performance, No. 13 Alabama got the job done, defeating No. 15 Ole Miss 24-10 on Saturday. 

While Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe was the talk of the town heading into the game, having won his position battle over Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson, it was the defense that stole the show at Bryant-Denny Stadium — holding Lane Kiffin's blistering offense to a mere 10 points. 

Earlier in the week, Kiffin had suggested that Alabama defensive coordinator Kevin Steele was no longer calling plays based on the Crimson Tide's film session versus South Florida — citing that cornerbacks coach Travaris Robinson was instead making the calls. After a crushing loss, Kiffin appeared to backtrack.

"I don't know (who called the plays), but they did a good job," Kiffin said. So I commend them. Maybe Coach took over. They did a really good job on third down. I mean it wasn't exotic. They played man-to-man and did a good job against us. I thought Malachi [Moore] played really well and Kool-Aid [McKinstry]. Number Three (Terrion Arnold), tried to go after him like last year and the guy did a really good job."

For Kiffin, even in a so called "down year," Alabama's resiliency is unprecedented.

"I just think you can only - these guys got great players and you can only keep them down so long," Kiffin said. "That's why you can't - you've got to steal scores when you have a chance. You've got to get the three at the end of the first half. Then we come out in the third quarter and we take our shot over their head and they pick it. They took their shot, almost the same play for a huge play. You get yourself all of the sudden in trouble. That's why they're hard to beat, especially here."

As a play caller, Kiffin was critical of himself after a performance to forget. 

"Oh we've got to coach better, come up with better things," Kiffin said. "These guys always for years and years being good on third down. You don't come up with things and winning man-to-man and they've got good rushers, especially at home. That kind of fed into that and a lot of the third downs were longer situations, which certainly doesn't help in this place."

For Ole Miss quarterback Jackson Dart, the loss marks a missed opportunity for the Rebels as they seek their first SEC west title in program history.

“Our whole team felt like this was the year to get ‘em, (but) like I said I just felt like we missed out on some big opportunities," Dart said. "We didn’t convert some third downs, got stuck into some third and longs, and when you get in a third and long against them it’s really hard. This is just really disappointing because the guys on the team felt like this was the year to get ‘em."

As for Terrion Arnold's game-altering interception, Dart accredited the play to Alabama's scheme.

“I just kind of wanted to take a shot. They disguised coverage and played it well,” Dart said of his interception. “I didn’t think the corner was going to carry, I just thought it was going to be alone with the safety. They made a good play.”

After back-to-back solid performances, the Crimson Tide defense will look to make another eye-catching statement versus Mississippi State on Saturday in Starkville. 

See Also: Everything Lane Kiffin Said After No. 15 Ole Miss' 24-10 Loss to No. 13 Alabama