Alabama notebook: Rebels run a bit wild in Tuscaloosa

Associated Press photo by Vasha Hunt / Ole Miss quarterback John Rhys Plumlee (10) celebrates his touchdown run against Alabama during the first half of Saturday's game in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama defeated Ole Miss 59-31 on Saturday despite allowing 279 rushing yards to the Rebels.

That represents the most rushing yards yielded by the Crimson Tide since 2011, when Georgia Southern's triple-option attack amassed 302 yards in a 45-21 defeat. The victory eight years ago will forever be known as the "tin horn" game, because Alabama coach Nick Saban would later say that the Eagles "ran through our (butt) like (poop) through a tin horn."

Saban was not thrilled early Saturday evening with his team's inability to contain Ole Miss true freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, who rushed 25 times for 109 yards and a touchdown in addition to 141 passing yards and two aerial scores. Plumlee was far from accurate at 10-of-28, and he was intercepted once, but he led a rushing attack that included 68 yards on 11 carries from Jerrion Ealy and 62 yards on 10 carries from Snoop Conner.

Ealy and Conner are true freshmen as well.

"We adjusted to some of the quarterback runs that they were running," Saban said, "but where he hurt us even more was when we rushed five guys, we lost containment, and the guy would run. That extended drives for them, and that is really critical when we don't execute on third down and can't keep containment, especially against a quarterback who can run like this guy can run.

"He is very, very fast, and then we didn't finish the way we needed to after we got up 38-10. You can't let teams come back. Once you get ahead, you have to be able to get off the field, whether it's third down or fourth down or whatever it is."

Alabama allowed 476 total yards, marking a second defensive struggle against a Southeastern Conference team. The Tide gave up 459 yards in their 47-23 win at South Carolina on Sept. 14.

"We pride ourselves on attention to detail, but we didn't pay attention to detail today, and it showed," fifth-year senior outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings said. "We knew their quarterback could extend plays with his feet, but we didn't contain him like we were supposed to the whole day."

Ruggs has a scare

Junior receiver Henry Ruggs III was helped off the field during Alabama's second offensive possession and spent the next few minutes either in the injury tent or on the exercise bike before returning to the game early in the second quarter.

"Henry Ruggs has a hip pointer," Saban said. "He'll probably be sore for a few days, but we don't think it's an issue long-term."

Kicking adventures

Alabama was both good and bad on special teams against the Rebels.

Trevon Diggs had a 36-yard kickoff return and Jaylen Waddle a 29-yard punt return, but Waddle also fumbled a punt that set up a tying touchdown for Ole Miss early in the game. Joseph Bulovas made a 36-yard field-goal attempt at the 9:51 mark of the second quarter to put Alabama up 17-10, but his ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds.

Bulovas, who handled specialist duties last season but was subbing for an injured Will Reichard (hip flexor), missed a 28-yard attempt with 5:53 left in the third quarter.

The biggest plus occurred moments after the Bulovas miss, when Ale Kaho blocked and recovered an Ole Miss punt for a touchdown that made it 52-17.

"All in all, I was pleased with the way we played on special teams," Saban said, "but you have to get possession of the ball when they're punting the ball to us. That's the number one thing, because it's a big field-position change when you muff a punt."

Tide tidbits

The Tide amassed 573 total yards and have gone over 500 in all five games this season. Junior safety Xavier McKinney tallied a career-best 13 tackles. Redshirt junior guard Deonte Brown, who has been suspended since last season's College Football Playoff, played for the first time since when he entered in the third quarter.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.