With two key defensive stands to end the game, the Alabama team was able to hold on for a 21-17 victory over Mississippi and extend its win streak to six games in the 27th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic at Cramton Bowl on Saturday.
Alabama’s win streak ties the longest streak in the game’s history, matching Alabama’s run from 1999-2004. Alabama now holds a 20-7 advantage in the series.
“I think defense wins championships,” said Auburn high linebacker Rashaan Evans. “I told my defense over there on that line for fourth down, I told them to anchor down like I told my team for the McGill-Toolen game. That’s what we did. I think that was a factor to us winning this game.”
Hanging on to a four-point lead with just over three minutes left, the Alabama defense held Mississippi on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, forcing an incomplete pass that was broken up by Opelika’s Stephen Roberts.
The defense came up big again with one minute left, forcing another incomplete pass on fourth-and-14 from the 36-yard line.
Evans recorded eight tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack to earn Alabama MVP honors. He also made the game-changing play at the start of the second half, intercepting a short pass after a deflection, and returning it five yards for a score to tie the game at 14-14.
“I was trying to rush off the edge, and I saw the running back peel off for a screen,” Evans said. “So I kind of backed up and tipped it up. It took me a few seconds to find the ball, but I finally found it and ended up in the end zone.”
The talk all week during practices was Alabama’s win streak. Alabama was working to keep it going, while Mississippi was planning to end it. The Mississippi squad had its opportunities to put the pressure on Alabama, but once again, Alabama gets another year of bragging rights.
“We wanted to keep the tradition going,” G.W. Carver linebacker Shaun Hamilton said. “I think that Alabama has the best football in the country. Us Alabama boys, we take a lot pride in this. It’s just good that we’re going to keep the trophy still in Alabama.”
SOME STATS, RECAP
■ Hamilton had three tackles on the afternoon.
■ St. Paul’s linebacker Tre Williams — an Auburn commit — had a game-high 12 total tackles and one tackle for loss.
■ Murphy defensive lineman Taylor Stallworth had eight total tackles and a sack.
■ Demopolis wide receiver Kemetrius Kemp proved to be an explosive target for Alabama, catching three passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
■ Clay-Chalkville quarterback Hayden Moore was 7-for-13 passing for 95 yards and the two scores.
■ McGill-Toolen running back Ito Smith led Alabama with 53 rush yards on 14 carries.
■ Greenwood’s Sammie Epps — an Ole Miss commit — led the Mississippi offense with seven catches for 125 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown.
■ Mississippi quarterback Wyatt Roberts — a Jacksonville State commit from Louisville — was 10-for-20 passing for 190 yards and a touchdown.
“This is for the state of Alabama,” Alabama head coach Woodrow Lowe said. “We wanted to carry on the tradition.”