November 11, 2010

Saban talking Mississippi State

Alabama's Nick Saban is 7-1 all-time against Mississippi State including last season's 31-3 win over the Bulldogs in Starkville.

But this year both teams enter their annual matchup with identical 7-2 records and will be battling for postseason bowl implications when they square off for their 85th meeting on the gridiron.

"Mississippi State has a very good team," Saban said. "Dan Mullen has done an exceptionally good job there. You all know their record, they're 7-2, and they've lost to two teams in the top-10, in very close games. This is a good team. They run the ball extremely well on offense. They control the ball. Their defense has played really well this year. They're athletic, they can rush up front and they play hard. They've played with a lot of conviction all year long."

In the 2009 matchup, both teams were held scoreless in the first quarter before the Tide was able to take the game over for the remaining three finishing with 444 yards including 252 yards on the ground.

But MSU has been quite stingy against the run so far this season allowing opponents to gain just 115.2 yards rushing against them.

"They've got some very good players up front," Saban said. "They play really well together as a group. They create a lot of negative plays with their aggressive pressure style that they use in terms of blitzes, pressures and fire zones that they do. They probably create more negative plays than anybody that we've played all year. It's important for us to get a hat on a hat and they are physical up front and we expect a really tough game on the line of scrimmage."

The fourth year Alabama coach noted vast improvements he has seen from the Bulldogs on film this season.

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