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Many happy returns for Arenas, Alabama

Nov 16, 2008 - 5:16 AM TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (Ticker) -- Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom feared Javier Arenas - with good reason, as it turned out.

Arenas, Alabama's punt return extraordinaire, returned one for a touchdown and set up another score as the top-ranked Crimson Tide wore down with Mississippi State, 32-7, on Saturday.

Arenas set up a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback John Parker Wilson in the second quarter with a 46-yard return.

"We did a nice job (of) changing field position. We did a nice job on special teams," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "We did a good job in net punting.

"We did a great job in punt returns and we set up two scores. One return we actually scored and the other gave us the ball at the 2. I am pleased with the way we controlled the field position. That saved us in the first half."

It took 13 quarters, but Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC West) finally punched a touchdown against Mississippi State (3-7, 1-5 SEC West) with less than five minutes left in the first half.

Croom had warned his team that it could not punt the ball down the middle of the field to Arenas. But the Bulldogs did not listen and Arenas, a 5-9, 193-pound junior, made them pay.

Arenas gave the Crimson Tide some breathing room in the third quarter with an 80-yard return for a touchdown that made it 19-7.

"The wall was there. My teammates set up it up nicely," Arenas said. "The blocks were there and all I had to do was run. I was able to get comfortable back there and relax and use the blocks that were there for me."

Arenas said the Tide was determined to stop Mississippi State.

"We get a victory against a team that dominated us for two years," Arenas said. "And with all respect to them, they shouldn't have dominated us for two years."

With 153 yards on six punt return yards, Arenas set a Tide single-game record for punt return yardage. That total bettered the mark of 147 set by Arenas on September 6 against Tulane.

Leigh Tiffin added two fields goals to make it 25-7. That wasn't enough to satisfy Saban, who lit into the offense on the sideline.

The Crimson Tide got the ball back and finished with authority as Wilson led a three-play, 72-yard march that was capped by Mark Ingram's 1-yard plunge to make it 32-7 and put the game out of reach.

"We did a better job in the second half of not making the mental errors and we did a better job of tackling," Saban said.

The Bulldogs hurt their chances by dropping 10 passes and were out-gained 254-33 in the second half.

"It was a nice win. I asked the crowd to come out here tonight and be loud and enthusiastic and, as much as any other game we've played all year, they really helped the players," Saban said. "We were tired and beat up and the crowd gave us a big lift."

Mississippi State had taken a 7-5 lead when Tyson Lee connected with Jamayel Smith on a 31-yard touchdown pass.

The Crimson Tide jumped to a 5-0 advantage in the first quarter when they blocked a punt by Mississippi State out of the end zone and Tiffin kicked a 35-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs actually out-gained Alabama in the first half, 134-110.

"The defensive front played very, very strongly and something we wanted to do was move the football and buy some time to give our defense a chance to rest," Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom said. "When you give up the points that we gave up in the kicking game, it puts a lot of pressure on our team. We can't give those guys points. You can't give them anything."








  • NCAAF FINAL
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MISSISSIPPI ST 0 7 0 0 7
    ALABAMA (1) 5 7 10 10 32 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ALABAMA - SAFETY, BALL THROUGH END ZONE 4:57.
    ALABAMA 2-0
    ALABAMA - FG, LEIGH TIFFIN 35 YD, 13:17.
    ALABAMA 5-0
    2ND QUARTER: MISSISSIPPI ST - TD, JAMAYEL SMITH 31 YD PASS FROM
    TYSON LEE (ADAM C

    Nov 15 10:51 PM
  • 25
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 5 roots

    Mississippi State 7, Alabama(2) 32  4th - 7:58Nov 15 10:37 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ALABAMA
    MARK INGRAM 1 YD RUN
    (LEIGH TIFFIN KICK)
    MISSISSIPPI ST 7
    ALABAMA (1) 32 7:58 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Mississippi State 7, Alabama(2) 32  4th - 7:58Nov 15 10:32 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG ALABAMA
    LEIGH TIFFIN 35 YD
    MISSISSIPPI ST 7
    ALABAMA (1) 25 11:14 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Mississippi State 7, Alabama(2) 25  4th - 11:14Nov 15 10:18 PM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MISSISSIPPI ST 0 7 0 7
    ALABAMA (1) 5 7 10 22 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ALABAMA - SAFETY, BALL THROUGH END ZONE 4:57.
    ALABAMA 2-0
    ALABAMA - FG, LEIGH TIFFIN 35 YD, 13:17.
    ALABAMA 5-0
    2ND QUARTER: MISSISSIPPI ST - TD, JAMAYEL SMITH 31 YD PASS FROM
    T

    Nov 15 10:10 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG ALABAMA
    LEIGH TIFFIN 34 YD
    MISSISSIPPI ST 7
    ALABAMA (1) 22 3:51 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Mississippi State 7, Alabama(2) 22  3rd - 3:51Nov 15 10:00 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ALABAMA
    JAVIER ARENAS 80 YD PUNT RETURN
    (LEIGH TIFFIN KICK)
    MISSISSIPPI ST 7
    ALABAMA (1) 19 12:14 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Mississippi State 7, Alabama(2) 19  3rd - 12:14Nov 15 9:36 PM
  • 20
    roots
    TelcomSam Added 5 roots

    Mississippi State 7, Alabama(2) 12  HalfNov 15 9:13 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MISSISSIPPI ST 0 7 7
    ALABAMA (1) 5 7 12 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ALABAMA - SAFETY, BALL THROUGH END ZONE 4:57.
    ALABAMA 2-0
    ALABAMA - FG, LEIGH TIFFIN 35 YD, 13:17.
    ALABAMA 5-0
    2ND QUARTER: MISSISSIPPI ST - TD, JAMAYEL SMITH 31 YD PASS FROM
    TYSON LEE

    Nov 15 9:09 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD ALABAMA
    JOHN PARKER WILSON 1 YD RUN
    (LEIGH TIFFIN KICK)
    MISSISSIPPI ST 7
    ALABAMA (1) 12 4:47 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Mississippi State 7, Alabama(2) 12  2nd - 4:47Nov 15 8:56 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD MISSISSIPPI ST
    JAMAYEL SMITH 31 YD PASS FROM TYSON LEE
    (ADAM CARLSON KICK)
    MISSISSIPPI ST 7
    ALABAMA (1) 5 10:19 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Mississippi State 7, Alabama(2) 5  2nd - 10:19Nov 15 8:37 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    MISSISSIPPI ST 0 0
    ALABAMA (1) 5 5 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: ALABAMA - SAFETY, BALL THROUGH END ZONE 4:57.
    ALABAMA 2-0
    ALABAMA - FG, LEIGH TIFFIN 35 YD, 13:17.
    ALABAMA 5-0

    Nov 15 8:21 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG ALABAMA
    LEIGH TIFFIN 35 YD
    MISSISSIPPI ST 0
    ALABAMA (1) 5 1:43 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Mississippi State 0, Alabama(2) 5  1st - 1:43Nov 15 8:14 PM


  • NCAAF
    SAFETY ALABAMA
    BALL THROUGH END ZONE
    MISSISSIPPI ST 0
    ALABAMA (1) 2 10:03 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Mississippi State 0, Alabama(2) 2  1st - 10:03Nov 15 7:58 PM
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    GREGnKY Added 5 roots

    Mississippi State vs. Alabama(2)Nov 15 10:01 AM
  • 10
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    craftmafia Added 5 roots

    Mississippi State vs. Alabama(2)Nov 15 9:56 AM
  • 5
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    Lemonman Added 5 roots

    Mississippi State vs. Alabama(2)Nov 15 1:52 AM