Rebels get roughed up in Tide win

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OXFORD, Miss. --- No. 3 Alabama is positively old-fashioned.

Other teams might have their shiny new spread offenses and pass-first mentality. The Crimson Tide just keeps getting it done with special teams and defense.

Alabama picked off four Jevan Snead passes and scored twice after special teams miscues to smother No. 20 Mississippi 22-3 on Saturday.

"This was the most complete win we've had all year, in a difficult situation," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "It's like climbing a mountain. The higher you go the more treacherous it gets."

Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt had won two of his past three and three of five against Top 5 teams, giving the Rebels hope they could re-enter the race for the Southeastern Conference Western Division with an upset. But the Rebels (3-2, 1-2 SEC) wasted a strong defensive performance with early offensive mistakes and never had the kind of consistency needed to rattle one of the nation's top defenses.

Alabama (6-0, 4-0) couldn't generate much offense against the Rebels defense, but didn't need it. Mark Ingram rushed for 172 yards and the game's only touchdown and Leigh Tiffin hit five short field goals, one shy of the school's single-game record.

The defense made it stand up, forcing Snead into the four interceptions, which matched a career high. The Crimson Tide's Cory Reamer also blocked a punt and recovered a fumble on a punt return.

Snead completed 11 of 34 passes for 140 yards, missing badly occasionally but also suffering from dropped balls. Twice Alabama defenders ripped the ball away from Ole Miss receivers who were bobbling it.

"We had a couple of new wrinkles for the game and I think he knew what we were doing," Alabama linebacker Cory Reamer said. "But our defensive line was in his face. And that's tough for any quarterback."

Saban said the Tide hit Snead on practically every pass attempt in the first half and it showed in Ole Miss' production. Alabama held the Rebels to 19 yards and one first down in the first half on the way to a 16-0 lead and allowed them past the 50 just four times overall.

The Rebels' offense was in complete disarray in the first 30 minutes and some of the school-record 62,657 fans booed the team as it ran off the field. Snead completed just 2 of 12 passes for 14 yards with two interceptions and Alabama held the run-happy Rebels to 5 yards on the ground.

"That was as fine a defensive performance in the first half as I've been around," Saban said.

Alabama has now held four of six opponents under 88 yards in the first half.

The five turnovers against Alabama were more than half Ole Miss' season total of nine entering the game. It would have been worse had the Rebels defense not come up with big plays despite being on the field for more than 35 minutes.


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