After being stopped from scoring a touchdown on the first drive of the game last week against LSU, No. 1 Alabama marched down the field, running the ball seven times, before running back Damien Harris scooted into the end zone from one yard out.
Harris’s touchdown was one of Alabama’s three total touchdowns in its 24-0 win over Mississippi State.
It looked like Alabama would pull away from the Bulldogs early, scoring easily on each of its first two drives, but then it was slowed by the No. 6 defense in the country.
“They studied film and did what they did what they had to do,” offensive tackle Jedrick Wills said.
After the first quarter ended, Alabama’s offense wasn’t as fine-tuned as normal. The Crimson Tide gained just 155 yards the rest of the game. After running for 83 yards in that initial quarter, the Crimson Tide gained just 59 yards the rest of the game.
“They started pressuring a lot more,” coach Nick Saban said. “We didn’t handle the pressure well in the run game. We got behind the sticks a lot in the game, which allows the defense to predict what’s going to happen. They pressured. We didn’t handle it.”
Running back Josh Jacobs was Alabama’s most consistent player. The junior running back ran for a career-high 97 yards, 64 of which came after the first quarter.
“(He) really did a good job, especially at the end of the game,” Saban said. “Josh was a demon running it on a couple of those runs. I was really impressed with the way he played today.”
He also caught a 14-yard pass for a touchdown, giving him a team high 11 touchdowns this year.
Even though it was inconsistent throughout most of the game, the running game finished the game the way Saban likes. It ran 54 yards on 10 plays, before being stopped at the one-yard line. It took 6:18 off the clock.
“That was a great drive that we had,” Saban said. “I know that we didn’t score a touchdown at the end, but we took  minutes off the clock, which is what you want to do in a situation like that.”
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had his worst game of the season. The sophomore threw for season lows in yards, finishing with 164, and touchdowns, throwing only one. He also threw his second interception of the season.
He was also sacked for a season-high four times.
It’s our quarterback,” offensive tackle Jedrick Wills said. “We need to protect him at all times, keep him clean. We can definitely do that better.”
Even though the Crimson Tide came away with a decent win, it had a couple players go down with injuries. Tagovailoa left with a leg injury, and guard Deonte Brown left because of turf toe. Neither player returned after leaving early, but Tagovailoa could have if necessary.
Alabama hosts Citadel on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 11 a.m.
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