A student's perspective from Alabama's upset of Miss. State
By CAROLINE GAZZARA
College Contributor Network
I had my doubts about Saturday afternoon's game. I may be one of the few to actually admit I was worried.
No. 1 Mississippi State, the then-undefeated, unstoppable force of nature, walked into Tuscaloosa hungry for another kill. It was interesting to witness the confidence on the Bulldogs fans' faces -- they believed they were going to have a quick victory and head on over to the next battleground.
But that wasn't meant to be. After the Ole Miss loss, No. 5 Alabama bounced back. The Crimson Tide took charge of every game, constantly pushing for more. Against LSU, Alabama made the crucial plays that they needed to win.
But this isn't about the overtime win against LSU, which was an impressive win in and of itself.
This is about Alabama showing everyone what it is made of. Coach Nick Saban has said time and time again that Alabama is a strong, powerful team. The upset win over Mississippi State proves that.
In the first half alone, Alabama trounced the Bulldogs. A quick safety had them up by two early in the half, and then the Crimson Tide scored a field goal.
Alabama was up by five points for a while. Those five points would be the deciding factor of the game.
In the stands, the first points scored sent the crowd wild. Alabama didn't let the Bulldogs score first. Knowing that Alabama was taking charge made singing 'Rammer Jammer' and 'Sweet Home Alabama' far more sweeter for the fans.
When Amari Cooper scored the first touchdown, there wasn't a Crimson Tide fan in their seat. The stadium was brimming with excitement. It was now 12-0, with Alabama keeping Dak Prescott at bay.
Derrick Henry's near-miss touchdown eliminated any doubt I had that Alabama might win. I wasn't trying to be cocky or arrogant, but Mississippi State wasn't playing the game the way it should've been played.
I'm not a fan of shut-out games. For every other Alabama fan in Bryant-Denny, it was just exciting that Alabama was shutting out the No. 1 team in the country. But for me, I wanted more.
The half ended 19-3. Mississippi State scored a lone field goal with seconds left in the half. You could see it in Dan Mullen's eyes that he wasn't happy with how his team was playing. Of course he wasn't, he had the best team in the country on his side but they weren't playing like the No. 1 team.
For the fans, they couldn't get enough of how well Alabama was doing. They were feasting off of the energy. It was both enthralling and scary all at once to see how obsessed everyone was about taking down the top-team.
The third quarter came and went without much excitement. Sure, the Bulldogs scored another field goal making the score 19-6 but honestly, the fans just wanted Saban and his team to stomp them out of T-town.
It was the fourth quarter that sent everyone's hearts thumping. Not even a minute went by before Mississippi State scored. It was a hard blow to the fans, who were shocked that the Crimson Tide would let the Bulldogs back into the game. Now 19-13, Alabama had to retaliate.
T.J. Yeldon, who was injured against LSU, had been playing all game but hadn't had much note-worthy action. With a little over eight minutes left, Yeldon ran for a seven-yard touchdown. His score sent the already elated crowd into a frenzy. Alabama was now up 25-13.
School spirit runs deep in the south. If you don't have school spirit you either don't attend school events or just bite your tongue and hope no one finds out. But by this point, even the most non-spirited person I know was cheering. He, along with the rest of the stadium, was alive and excited. Time was running out for the Bulldogs, Alabama could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Mississippi State scored its final touchdown with 15 seconds remaining in the game, not even a hope or a prayer could save them. Alabama and its fans knew this. Even with the onside kick, there was no hope for the Bulldogs.
For the first time since 2011, Alabama beat the No. 1 team at home. It was a big win, a win that Alabama needed.
Caroline Gazzara is a junior at the University of Alabama majoring in Sports Journalism. Her passions are Alabama athletics and soccer. Follow her on Twitter: @CarolineGazzara