No. 2 Alabama found itself in an unfamiliar position Saturday. Down for much of the game against No. 16 Mississippi State, it needed a spark. The true freshman delivered.
Freshman DeVonta Smith caught a pass from sophomore Jalen Hurts with 31-seconds remaining, sprinting past defenders all the way to the end zone to put the Crimson Tide ahead for good after the extra point, 31-24. Watch a video of the clutch score below:
The play silenced the crowd raucous crowd at Davis Wade Stadium. But the Bulldogs still had a chance after Alabama kicker JK Scott pooched the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. MSU took over at the 35-yard line and were given life after a Nick Fitzgerald heave to the end zone resulted in a flag for defensive pass interference. On the final play of the game, Fitzgerald’s throw went through the end zone, and Alabama held on for the hard-earned road victory.
Hurts finished 10-for-19 with 242 yards and 1 touchdown, and Smith finished the game with the one catch. Alabama was led by Calvin Ridley’s 5 catches for 171 yards.
The victory was Alabama’s 10th in a row against Mississippi State. This one, though, certainly wasn’t easy. The Bulldogs went ahead, 7-0, in the first quarter on an Aeries Williams 11-yard touchdown run. It was the first touchdown score Mississippi State has had against Alabama since 2014.
Alabama responded with a five play, 75-yard drive capped by a 1-yard score by Hurts and started to find its footing. But the Bulldogs wouldn’t be denied on their next offensive drive, moving down the field on a long drive which ended with another Williams touchdown run, this one from 5-yards out.
Both teams went into the locker room tied, 14-14, and an Andy Pappanastos 30-yard field goal put the Crimson Tide ahead by 3 points to begin the third quarter. The back-and-forth game continued on the next drive. After 13 plays and 69 yards, Mississippi State found itself in the red zone again, and Fitzgerald ran it in from there. The Crimson Tide started the fourth quarter down 24-17 and evened the game when Damien Harris went 14 yards for a touchdown score with under 10 minutes left.
Alabama’s win came on the same day that No. 1 Georgia lost, 40-17, to No. 10 Auburn.