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NCAA Football Alabama Crimson TideMississippi State Bulldogs

Alabama Nearly Stumbles As Mississippi State Exposes Tide’s Offense

AJ McCarron

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Although their defense was relatively stout throughout the game, the Alabama Crimson Tide nearly gave away a victory Saturday night to the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs were able to exploit the weaknesses of the Crimson Tide offense throughout the game as they continually brought pressure and forced A.J. McCarron to vacate the pocket numerous times. The Tide finished with a 20-7 victory, but Mississippi State may have shown other teams the blueprint for beating the no. 1 Crimson Tide.

Although boasting plenty of NFL potential on their offensive line, Alabama did a poor job blocking for McCarron, which attributed to him throwing a total of two interceptions on the night. Coming in, many expected this to be a close game early on, but the Tide where unable to breakaway as they normally do, possibly leading to some concern if the Tide will repeat again as national champions.

If the Tide do hope to continue their dynasty run, they will need to protect McCarron better as his accuracy struggled when flushed out of the pocket. This was one of the first games of the year where McCarron needed to use his legs to evade pressure, and it showed as he struggled finding open receivers while on the run, and he had trouble connecting when he did.

The blueprint for disrupting McCarron and the Alabama offense is bringing pressure, preferably with as few players as possible. The Bulldogs were able to implement an effective pass coverage scheme throughout the game as McCarron was left out to dry on numerous occasions when his receivers were unable to get open. Mississippi State did play very well on Saturday night, but it’s possible for other teams to duplicate what they did.

Alabama will get a break next week against the Chattanooga Mocs, but they will need to play to their potential the following week as they face the 10-1 Auburn Tigers. The Tigers are proving to be a force in the SEC, and their defense, which gives up just 20 points against per game, is the main reason why they could upset the no. 1 ranked Tide.

Nick Baker is a contributing writer for Rant Sports and you can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and add him to your network on Google.