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Alabama 20, Mississippi State 7

The SportsXchange

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Top-ranked Alabama survived a road scare in the Southeastern Conference on Saturday night with a 20-7 win over Mississippi State at Davis Wade Stadium.

With the victory, Alabama (10-0 overall, 7-0 SEC) clinched a share of the conference's Western Division championship. Alabama will still have to defeat Auburn in the regular-season finale to secure a berth in the league's championship game in Atlanta.

Mississippi State (4-6, 1-5) will have to win its final two games -- against Arkansas in Little Rock, Ark., and at home against Ole Miss -- to gain bowl eligibility for a fourth straight season.

The Bulldogs forced four turnovers but could not score on two different possessions inside the Alabama 30-yard line in the fourth quarter. An injury to starting quarterback Tyler Russell forced Mississippi State to its third option, Damian Williams, on each of the two final possessions.

Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon rushed for a game-high 160 yards on 24 carries, including a critical 50-yard run late in the first half.

The Crimson Tide moved 78 yards on six plays to take a 10-0 halftime lead. On third down, A.J. McCarron hit tight end Brian Vogler in the corner of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown.

Alabama drove 59 yards on 14 plays with the game's first possession. Cade Foster converted on a 33-yard field goal to give the Crimson Tide a 3-0 lead.

Alabama's second score came right after Mississippi State failed to convert its best scoring chance of the half. Behind the power running of LaDarius Perkins, MSU moved the ball from its own 20-yard line to the Alabama 2. Facing a third-and-1, the Bulldogs failed to convert a pass attempt but were penalized. Facing third-and-6, the Bulldogs again were denied.

Evan Sobaisk's 33-yard field goal try was wide right.

Mississippi State scored in the early stages of the third quarter to draw within 10-7 but got no closer.

For Alabama, quarterback A.J. McCarron completed 18-of-32 passes for 187 yards. Wide receiver Amari Cooper had four catches for 45 yards.

Mississippi State finished with only 197 yards of total offense. LaDarius Perkins rushed for 25 yards, and Russell completed 15-of-24 pass attempts for 144 yards.

Yeldon had 96 rushing yards in the first half and McCarron was 9-of-19 passing with one interception for 71 yards.

NOTES: Alabama led at halftime in all 10 games played this season. ... Mississippi State was held scoreless in the first half for the first time this season. ... The Bulldogs were held to a season-low 24 rushing yards in the first half.
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