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Alabama hangs on, improves to 7-0

Oct 19, 2008 - 1:00 AM TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (Ticker) -- John Parker Wilson passed for 219 yards and two touchdowns as second-ranked Alabama defeated Mississippi, 24-20, on Saturday in a Southeastern Conference contest.

Mark Ingram rushed for 73 yards and a score for the Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0 SEC West), who held a 24-3 advantage at the half.

It is the first time coach Nick Saban, who won the national championship with Louisiana State in 2003, has been 7-0 in his career.

"We can't make the mental errors that we make, and we have to play more consistently on offense," Saban said. "We stopped moving the ball and that's what affects the momentum of the game more than anything, how you play on offense and when you score."

After nearly squandering a three-touchdown lead, Alabama sealed the victory with just over a minute to go when it stopped Ole Miss (3-4, 1-3) on a fourth down. Jevan Snead threw an incomplete pass from the Tide 43.

Wilson threw a 26-yard TD pass to Marquis Maze in the first quarter and connected with Mike McCoy on a 30-yard TD strike as Alabama went into the break with a commanding lead. Wilson finished 16-of-25 with an interception.

"We came out and were able to execute," Wilson said. "We worked really hard in practice and put it together in the game. We didn't run the ball as well as we have been but they were putting a lot of men in the box and forced us to throw."

"It felt great to make the play and help the team out," said Maze, whose first collegiate TD gave Alabama a 7-3 edge. "It was nice to make a big play in front of the home crowd."

The Rebels fought back in the second half, starting the comeback with a fake field goal. Punter Rob Park tossed a 9-yard score to Jason Cook to close the deficit to 24-10 with 10:37 left in the third quarter.

"Offensively, we came back and put some drives together," Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said. "(I) felt like the fake field goal gave us a little lift and got us on the board. Defense got some turnovers for us and we capitalized on a couple of those drives."

In the next quarter, Snead tossed an 18-yard TD pass to Shay Hodge and Joshua Shene kicked his second field goal to make it 24-20 with 6:14 to play.

Snead passed for 192 yards with an interception for Mississippi, which converted just 2-of-14 third downs.

"I don't know if we came out playing hard or what it was exactly," Snead said. "In the second half, we got in the locker room and went over what we had to do and we decided we were here to play and we were not just going to give up.

"Nobody on our team gave up and I'm just fortunate to be on a team like that."