football

Alabama wins Classic over Miss.

Cj johnson taking a breather 200
WednesdayphotogalleryClickMOREALA-MISS:Thursdaytopperformers|HeretoviewthisLink.|All-starcoverageClickMOREALA-MISS:Thursdaytopperformers|HeretoviewthisLink.
MOBILE,Ala.-TheycallitTheClassic,andthesquadsfromAlabamaandMississippimadesureitliveduptothetitle.
The2010Alabama-MississippiAll-StarClassicwasdecidedintwoovertimes,withAlabamaprevailing24-17behinda10-yardrunbyrunningbackAmeerAbdullah(Homewood)onadirect-snapwhichwasfollowedbyadefensivestandfromtheYellowhammerState.
"Itfeltgreatbecausewehadbeenwaitingallnighttopulloutthatplay,"Abdullahsaidofthewinningtouchdown."Wehadgoodfieldposition,just10yardstogobeforethegoalline.ItfeltliketherighttimetogettheballinmyhandsandIhadtomakeaplay."
AlabamaforcedovertimeasLSUquarterbackcommitmentStephenRivers(Athens)cameinandledadrivefrommidfieldinthefinalthreeminutes.HeconnectedwithSouthernMisswidereceivercommitmentEmmanuelJohnson(McKenzie)fora36-yardtouchdownpasswith1:11remainingtotrimMississippi'sleadto14-12.
"IwasjustgladIgottocomeinthereandleadthatlastdrive,"Riverssaid."Itwasgreat.Itjustmakesmemoreexcitedaboutplayingatthenextlevel.Ijustgivecredittothegreatreceiversandthegreatoffensivelinemen."
Alabamathentiedthegameonatwo-pointconversionwhereRiversfoundawide-openwidereceiverDannyWoodson(LeFlore)streakingacrossthemiddleoftheendzone.Woodson,anAlabamacommitment,saidhewasreadytofighttooth-and-nailfortheballbutwassurprisedtofindhimselfallalone.
"CoachknewIwasgoingtocomeacrossthemiddleandthatIwasn'tgoingtogiveupontheball,"Woodsonsaid."Hecalledmynumber,threwtheballtome,andImadetheplay."
AlabamagotontheboardfirstwhenFloridaStatequarterbackcommitmentJacobCoker(St.Paul)foundAuburnwidereceivercommitmentSammieCoates(Leroy)fora39-yardtouchdownpassearlyinthesecondquarter.TheAlabamaextrapointwasblockedbyLSUdefensivebackcommitmentJalenCollins(OliverBranch).
Mississippi'soffensewasunabletoimmediatelyanswer,butitsdefensecameupwithabigplaywhenMississippiStatedefensivebackcommitmentKendrickMarket(SouthPanola)forcedandrecoveredaKardeemPoole(Prattville)fumble.Marketscoopedandscoredfrom27yardsout.
MississippistretchedouttheirleadinthethirdquarterwhenBenStevens(WestJones)connectedwithMississippiStatecommitmentNickalosBrassell(SouthPanola)fora63-yardtouchdown.ItwasoneofthefewbrightspotsfortheMississippioffensewhichmanagedjust97offensiveyards,includingminus-18ontheground.
Thetwoteamsexchangedfieldgoalsinthefirstovertime.
Alabamaextendsstreaktothree
Withthevictory,AlabamahasnowwonthreeconsecutiveClassicsand11ofthelast13meetingsbetweenthetwostates.Itisasourceofpridefortheprospectswhowillnowturntheirattentiontothecollegeranks.
"Itisanamazingwinforus,"AlabamalinebackerBrentCalloway(Russellville)said."Iamveryexcitedaboutthewin.Iamhappyformyguysthatwecameoutwithawin.Itfeelslikeastatechampionship."
WithAlabama'soffensestrugglingforamajorityofregulation,Callowayandthedefensesteppedup,keepingMississippiincheckoutsideofthebigtouchdownpassfromStevenstoBrassell.Hesaidthatwasthemantraallweekinpractice,forthedefensetowinthegame.Callowaydidhispartrackingupateam-leadingninetackles,1.5tacklesforlossequatingto11yards,andasharedsackfortwoyards.
"Wejusttriedtoshutthemout,"theAlabamacommitmentsaid."Wetoldeverybodytogettotheballandthatiswhatwedid.Wetriedtoshutthemoutondefenseandcomeawaywiththewin."
ForWoodson,Alabama'sleadingreceiverwithsevenreceptionsfor72yards,hesaidthattheteamstucktogetherdespiteneedingtorallyinthefinalmomentsofregulationtoforceovertime.Whentheycelebratedtheirgame-tyingscorewith1:11remaining,hefeltconfidenttheywouldprevailintheextraframes.
"Itfeltgood,"Woodsonsaid."Wehadtocompetetogetherandcomeupwithhustleandgeteverythingsituated.Thenwegoteverythinggoing."
Followingacelebrationatmidfieldwiththeirteammates,theAlabamasquadwasnotafraidtosharetheirsentimentonthestatementtheymadeinvictory.
"ItshowsthatAlabamahassomeofthebestplayersandwecancompetewithotherstates,"Woodsonsaid.
Woodson'soffensivecounterpart,Abdullah,wentalittlebitfurtherwithhisreasonforthevictory.
"Wearebetter,"Abdullahsaid."Wearebetterathletes."
RiverscomebackeffortearnshimMVPhonors
Throughthreequarters,Riverswasjust8-for-13for59yardsandnotouchdowns.Overhisstintonthefinaltwodrivesofregulationandthenovertimeheturneditongoing6-for-11downthestretchfor64yards,atouchdown,andthecrucialtwo-pointconversion.ThatperformanceearnedhimMVPhonorsfortheAlabamasquad.
"Ididn'texpectthat,"Riverssaid."Itfeelsgreat.IfeelitisanhonortobetheMVPofthisgame."
TheLSUcommitmentwillnowturnhisattentiontohiscollegecareerinBatonRouge,butadmitshecouldn'thavescriptedabetterfinishtohishighschoolcareer.
"Icouldn'taskforabetterfinish,"Riverssaid."IamjustgladIgottoleadtheteamtothatlastdrive."
"Iamgladtoendmyhighschoolcareeronawin,"Riversadded.
MississippiMVPJohnsonimpressive
ItwasnosecretcomingintothegamethatlinebackerC.J.Johnson(Philadelphia)wasoneofthebetterplayersintheMagnoliaState,butafterhisperformanceinLadd-PeeblesStadium,itcanbearguedthatheisthebestplayerinMississippi.Playingbothlinebackeranddefensiveendontheday,Johnsonrackedup17tackles,twosacksfor13yards,andthreetacklesforlossfor18yardsonhiswaytoMVPhonors.
"Iwasjustplayinghard,"Johnsonsaid."CoachseenthatIoutmatchedtacklesontheoutside,seenthatIwasalotfasterthanthem.IfIcouldn'tout-quickthem,thenIprobablycouldbeatthemwithmystrength.Wekindofusedthattoouradvantagetohaveasuccessfulgame."
WhileJohnsonwasproudofhisindividualhonor,hewasdisappointedthattheMississippidefensewilteddownthestretchandallowedAlabamatoclaimthevictorylate.
"Itisrealdisappointingbecauseweplayedsowellforsolongandthenwesurrenderedacoupletouchdownslate,"Johnsonsaid."Wehadn'tbeatenthoseguysinawhileandthatissomethingcoachstressedinpracticeallweekbutwejustcouldn'tgetitdone."
Notable
There were three interceptions in the game. They were caught by Mississippi's Corey WilliamsClick Mississippi running back Qyendarius GriffinClick Here to view this Link. (South Panola) was taken off the field via a stretcher late in the third quarter after taking a big hit from Alabama defensive end Denzell PerineClick Here to view this Link. (Davidson). The early word on Griffin was that he had a stinger. Here to view this Link. (Noxubee County), Taveze CalhounClick Mississippi running back Qyendarius GriffinClick Here to view this Link. (South Panola) was taken off the field via a stretcher late in the third quarter after taking a big hit from Alabama defensive end Denzell PerineClick Here to view this Link. (Davidson). The early word on Griffin was that he had a stinger. Here to view this Link. (Morton), and Alabama's Jonathan RoseClick Mississippi running back Qyendarius GriffinClick Here to view this Link. (South Panola) was taken off the field via a stretcher late in the third quarter after taking a big hit from Alabama defensive end Denzell PerineClick Here to view this Link. (Davidson). The early word on Griffin was that he had a stinger. Here to view this Link. (Leeds).
Mississippi racked up a total of seven sacks on the day. Alabama managed just two sacks. The two teams combined for 21 tackles for loss (12 for Mississippi, 9 for Alabama).
The game was a defensive struggle for a majority of the time as the two teams combined to punt 12 times and turned it over on downs on seven occasions.
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