(Photo credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports)
Alabama has consecutive 14-point victories, but they certainly didn't resemble the "Roll Tide" versions.
The No. 12 Crimson Tide will take another swing at finding their past standard when they visit Mississippi State in a Southeastern Conference battle on Saturday night at Starkville, Miss.
Alabama (3-1, 1-0) isn't among the top contenders for a national championship due to its 34-24 home loss to then-No. 11 Texas on Sept. 9. And the Crimson Tide's follow-up wins weren't enthralling. They scored a touchdown with 33 seconds left to create distance in a 17-3 road win over South Florida and then trailed 7-6 at halftime last weekend before producing a 24-10 home win over then-No. 15 Ole Miss.
"We had a couple of times in the first half where we sort of self-destructed a little bit with the way we executed and some of the things that we did, and sort of eliminated some of those things in the second half and played much cleaner," Alabama coach Nick Saban said of the Ole Miss contest. "I think we played the way we would like to continue to play and hopefully build on that."
Saban said the Crimson Tide have been bogged down by mistakes that have stalled drives. He's looking for the offense to be cleaner. However, Saban expects the contest against Mississippi State (2-2, 0-2) to be tougher than most people expect.
"This is an overall really, really good team," Saban said of the Bulldogs. "And it's going to be a real challenge for us playing on the road in the SEC. ... This is something that our players really have to focus on and do a great job in preparation."
Jalen Milroe is entrenched as the Alabama starting quarterback. He completed 17 of 21 passes for 225 yards, one touchdown and one interception against Ole Miss after being benched the previous week against USF.
The Bulldogs, who have lost back-to-back games, don't have any quarterback issues with Will Rogers at the helm.
Rogers passed for a career-high 487 yards in last week's 37-30 road loss to South Carolina. It was his ninth career 400-yard outing.
Rogers has completed 70 percent of his passes over four seasons for 11,668 yards and 88 touchdowns. The yardage is the third-highest total in SEC history. On the touchdown front, he is tied for fifth with former Florida stars Chris Leak and Tim Tebow and is one behind Tennessee legend Peyton Manning.
Lideatrick Griffin had a superb outing with a school-record 256 receiving yards against South Carolina. Griffin did his damage with just seven receptions, the longest being a 65-yard touchdown catch.
The epic performance by the two players came after Rogers had just 265 passing yards over the previous two games, including 103 in a loss to LSU.
Griffin said he wasn't stunned to see Rogers bounce back.
"That is just Will," Griffin said. "He's been like that since his freshman year, so we just follow him."
The Bulldogs have long had issues with Alabama and have dropped the past 15 meetings. Their most recent victory came in 2007, 17-12 at Starkville.
Mississippi State coach Zach Arnett puts no emphasis on the long skid.
"We've got to focus on us and we've got to play," Arnett said. "We've got to execute. That's what football comes down to. You've got to show up excited to play with energy and you've got to do your job. It doesn't matter who it's against."
--Field Level Media