STARKVILLE, Miss. - A career day from junior running back Najee Harris along with a standout defensive performance led No. 5 Alabama to a dominant 38-7 road win against Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday. The Crimson Tide moves to 9-1 on the year with a 6-1 record in Southeastern Conference play, while the Bulldogs drop to 4-6 overall and 2-5 in SEC competition.
On offense, Harris continued his impressive stretch with another career day, totaling four touchdowns, all of which came in the first half. Harris recorded three of his four scores in the first quarter alone, making him the first Alabama running back to score three touchdowns in the first quarter of a single game. The Antioch, Calif., native totaled 88 rushing yards on 17 carries to go along with three rushing touchdowns, while also catching three passes for 51 yards and one touchdown. Junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went 14-of-18 for 256 yards and two scores before exiting in the second quarter. Junior wide receiver Jerry Jeudy led the way among Tide wideouts with seven catches for 114 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Shane Lee had the best game of his young career with a career-high 10 tackles. The freshman added his first interception of the season, picking off State's first play from scrimmage and returning it 10 yards. Redshirt senior linebacker Anfernee Jennings was second on the Tide with eight tackles, including one for loss (-3 yards).
How It Happened
- Alabama got on the board first with Harris running it in from 10 yards out to cap a five-play, 55-yard drive in less than two minutes to start the game.
- Fourteen seconds after the score, Lee came up with an interception to set up the Tide at the MSU 19-yard line. On the next play from scrimmage, Tagovailoa found Harris for a 19-yard score to put UA up, 14-0.
- Following a Mississippi State touchdown, Harris rumbled in for his third score of the quarter, this time from five yards out to make it 21-7 with 3:22 remaining in the first.
- To begin the second quarter, Tagovailoa connected with sophomore wideout Jaylen Waddle for a 35-yard pitch-and-catch with 14:15 left before the half.
- Harris scored his career-best fourth touchdown of the half after running it in for another five-yard score to cap the 13-play, 70-yard drive. Alabama led 35-7 at the halftime break.
- The defenses took control in the second half with the only score coming on a 22-yard field goal from redshirt sophomore kicker Joseph Bulovas in the third quarter to put UA up 38-7, the eventual final.
Players of the Game
- Harris recorded his sixth receiving touchdown of the season in today's game at Mississippi State. That mark set the Alabama single-season record for receiving touchdowns by a running back.
- With his rushing and receiving touchdowns in today's game, paired with last weekend's matchup versus LSU (Nov. 9), Harris became the first UA player to record rushing and receiving scores in back-to-back games since Mark Ingram in 2009.
- Lee recorded a game-high 10 tackles, including grabbing his first interception on the first offensive play by Mississippi State.
- Jeudy went over 100 yards for the ninth time in his career after totaling 114 yards in Saturday's win.
- The Crimson Tide outgained the Bulldogs, 510-270, including 350-82 through the air.
- Alabama picked up 24 first downs compared to MSU's 11 by game's end.
- The Tide offense was a perfect 5-of-5 in the red zone, scoring four touchdowns and a field goal.
- The Crimson Tide dominated the Bulldogs in the first half, recording 16 first downs compared to MSU's four. Alabama also outgained State, 328-92 yards, in the first 30 minutes of play.
- Alabama's defense recorded six tackles for loss (-20 yards), including one sack (-8 yards).