It was a typical no-frills victory for Alabama (9-1, 6-1), which has won nine of its past 11 against Mississippi State, including four in a row. The Crimson Tide defense has held 11 consecutive opponents to 14 points or less.
Alabama struggled again with field goals, missing two of them in the first half after missing four in last week’s loss to No. 1 Louisiana State University. But Richardson and Eddie Lacy, who rushed for 96 yards and two touchdowns, made up for those miscues.
Mississippi State (5-5, 1-5) remains one victory from bowl eligibility. Third-year coach Dan Mullen is now 2-11 against SEC West rivals.
NO. 1 LOUISIANA STATE 42, WESTERN KENTUCKY 9
In Baton Rouge, La., Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard each scored two tochdowns, as LSU overcame a slow start.
Jordan Jefferson made his first start of the season for LSU (10-0), hitting 8 of 14 passes for 168 yards, including a 59-yard scoring strike to Rueben Randle.
NO. 8 ARKANSAS 49, TENNESSEE 7
In Fayetteville, Ark, Dennis Johnson accounted for 140 total yards and a pair of touchdowns to help Arkansas beat Tennessee for its sixth consecutive victory.
The Razorbacks (9-1, 5-1) kept alive their hopes for a second consecutive BCS bowl game – and possibly more. They also earned their seventh win in a row against an SEC East opponent.
Johnson led Arkansas with 97 yards rushing, including a 71-yard touchdown run in the first half. He also had 43 yards receiving.
Jarius Wright added five catches for 94 yards, setting the school record for career receptions. Wright now has 154 catches, moving ahead of Anthony Eubanks’ previous record of 153.
Rajion Neal had an 11-yard TD run for the Volunteers (4-6, 0-5).
LOUISIANA TECH 27, MISSISSIPPI 7
In Oxford, Miss., Chad Boyd and Javontay Crowe scored defensive touchdowns, and Matt Nelson added a pair of field goals, helping Louisiana Tech rally past Mississippi.
The win was the fifth in a row for Louisiana Tech (6-4), which defeated an SEC team for the first time since beating Mississippi State 22-14 in 2008.
Ole Miss (2-8), following Monday’s announcement that fourth-year head coach Houston Nutt would not return next season, lost its fifth consecutive game.
VANDERBILT 38, KENTUCKY 8
In Nashville, Tenn., Zac Stacy ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns, and Jordan Rodgers threw for 207 yards and two TDs as Vanderbilt routed Kentucky to snap a two-game skid.
The Commodores (5-5, 2-5) moved a win away from becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2008 and just the second since 1982 with two games remaining.
Kentucky (4-6, 1-5) had won two in a row and eight of the past 10 in this series.
The Wildcats never threatened and now must win both at No. 14 Georgia and in their home finale against Tennessee to extend their school-record streak to a sixth bowl games in a row.