No. 1 Alabama's stout defense smothers Mississippi State

6:03 AM, Nov 17, 2013   |    comments
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Starkville, MS ( - Top-ranked Alabama gave Mississippi State several opportunities to pull off an upset Saturday night.

The Bulldogs never embraced the chances. Instead, the Crimson Tide remained unbeaten on a track to their third consecutive BCS title game appearance with a 20-7 win at Davis Wade Stadium.

AJ McCarron threw for 187 yards and a pair of touchdowns for Alabama (10-0, 7-0 SEC), which hosts FCS opponent Chattanooga next Saturday before a showdown at nationally-ranked Auburn in the Iron Bowl. T.J. Yeldon carried the ball 24 times for 160 yards for the two-time defending national champions. McCarron ended 18-of-32 in passing efficiency, but was picked off twice.

Tyler Russell connected on 15-of-24 throws for 144 yards for Mississippi State (4-6, 1-5), which lost its third in a row. The Bulldogs have dropped 15 in a row against ranked teams.

The Bulldogs failed on a 23-yard field goal attempt in the first half, and scored their only points when offensive lineman Charles Siddoway recovered a Russell fumble in the end zone in the third quarter.

That got the hosts within 17-7, and the Bulldogs drove into Alabama territory later in the third, but Russell's pass to the end zone was picked off by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Mississippi State had several dropped passes. That included a sure touchdown to De'Runnya Wilson with 5:16 left in the fourth quarter. Instead, Wilson couldn't make the grab down the left sideline on fourth down, and the Crimson Tide took over at their 22 and were able to seal the win.

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