Alabama football: defense the story this year

AP: Alabama’s plan for containing Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead was pretty simple: Hit him and hit him hard.

“We hit their quarterback just about every time in the first half and I think it affected him,” coach Nick Saban said.

Did it ever.

The game was effectively over by halftime after the second-ranked Crimson Tide rocked the Rebels’ leader and Alabama (6-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) wiped away any lingering questions about performing against a top offense.

Snead was mentioned in the same sentence as guys like Tebow and McCoy by Heisman Trophy handicappers before the season started. A rough start washed away some of that luster, but Alabama took the junior seriously after watching him rally the Rebels from far behind last season in ‘Bama’s 24-20 win in Tuscaloosa.

“You could tell by some of the passes he was throwing” that Alabama’s defense rattled Snead, said Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, one of four players to intercept a pass from Snead on Saturday. “We know what type of quarterback he is and what he is capable of. We were trying to get some hits on him and get him rattled. We could tell the difference in passing decision making.”

Alabama snapped Snead’s streak of 13 straight games with a touchdown pass and held the Rebels to the lowest point total in the series since a shutout in 1996.

The Rebels managed just 19 yards of total offense in the first half and one first down before finishing with 212 total yards.

“This is the fastest defense if you went from 1-11 (players),” Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said. “From corners to safeties to linebackers to defensive linemen, this is the best I’ve seen.”

The Crimson Tide has forced nine turnovers in two weeks after taking just four from its first four opponents. Alabama has forced at least one turnover a game in 28 of 33 games under Saban, averaging 1.8 per contest in that span.

Alabama just plain roughed up Ole Miss at times, twice snatching interceptions out of the hands of receivers. (read the entire report embedded in this post)