TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Brian Robinson Jr. rushed for career highs of 171 yards and four touchdowns, and No. 1 Alabama mostly throttled the nation’s top offense in a 42-21 victory Saturday over No. 12 Mississippi.
Bryce Young passed for a couple of touchdowns for the Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) but the ‘Bama defense and ground game stole some of the thunder from a matchup of the two leading Heisman Trophy contenders coming into the game.
Alabama turned to Robinson to play keep away from Matt Corral and the offense of the Rebels (3-1, 0-1), who had breezed through three nonconference games before an open date.
The Tide’s fifth-year senior carried 36 times and picked up the first 100-yard game of his career.
Young completed 21 of 27 passes for 241 yards and was intercepted once for Alabama, which led 28-0 at halftime. had him as the second-leading Heisman candidate coming into the game, behind only Corral.
The Rebels star ran for a touchdown but was mostly held in check by a team he torched last season. Corral also passed for a touchdown, completing 22 of 32 passes for 213 yards while losing a fumble. Corral extended his streak of games with a TD pass to 16 games with 2:23 left, matching Eli Manning for the second-longest such streak at Ole Miss.
Alabama’s defense, burned by Ole Miss for 48 points and 647 yards a year ago, made the big fourth-down stops and plenty of others.
The Tide limited Ole Miss to 291 total yards, despite giving up a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. The Rebels came in leading the nation with 635 yards and 53 points per game.
Ole Miss was without second-leading receiver Jonathan Mingo, who was wearing a boot on his left foot and didn’t dress out.
Alabama coach Nick Saban improved to 24-0 against his former assistants, but ex-offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin didn’t help his own cause with three failed fourth-down calls in the first half. Saban turned the tables with two touchdowns on fourth-down plays.
Ole Miss: Kiffin finally had that fourth-down magic fade away, trying to find an edge against an uber-talented opponent. The Rebels had converted 12 of 14 coming into the game, but had questionable decisions backfire this time.
Alabama: Flexed its muscles in the first of four games against SEC West teams currently ranked, especially on defense. But Young faced a significant amount of pressure and forced one ball toward the end zone for an interception while scrambling and the defense had some lapses late.
Alabama did nothing to diminish its status as the No. 1 team, but could lose some ground to second-ranked Georgia. The Bulldogs demolished No. 8 Arkansas, 37-0.
Ole Miss hosts Arkansas, with both teams coming off losses.
Alabama visits No. 15 Texas A&M in its third game against a ranked team away from home.