Alabama’s Top 5 Spookiest Matchup Against Mississippi State
Throughout the 100-plus year history between the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs, there have been several memorable games that were nightmare-worthy for Alabama fans. In preparation for 'Bama's matchup against Mississippi State on Halloween, here are some of the scariest moments in the "Battle of Highway 82."
5. 1996-1998: The Last Win Streak Over Alabama (17-16, 32-20, 26-14 MSU) -
In between the Gene Stallings era and the ‘Bama struggles of the early 2000s, Alabama has some a few tumultuous seasons. The eighth-ranked Crimson Tide was riding a 15-game winning streak against MSU going into their 1996 matchup. In a close game, ‘Bama lost 17-16. Alabama ended that season 10-3, while the Bulldogs finished 5-6.
Unfortunately for Alabama, this rivalry only got scarier. In ’97, Alabama dropped a second straight game against State 32-20. That season, the Crimson Tide finished with seven losses while Mississippi State ended with four losses.
In 1998, Alabama’s hopes against Mississippi State seemed bleak. The Crimson Tide hadn’t lost three in a row to the Bulldogs since 1914. In the third quarter, ‘Bama thought their woes were over after nearly cutting down a 20-point lead, but MSU scored six points in the fourth quarter to pull ahead 26-14 for a third straight victory over Alabama.
4. 2007: Nick Saban’s Only Loss to MSU (17-12 MSU) -
In Saban’s first season at the Capstone, No. 22 ‘Bama went into a matchup in Starkville against an unranked Mississippi State team. An early Alabama lead was erased when the Bulldogs returned a John Parker Wilson pass 100 yards for a pick-six to give MSU a 10-6 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was uneventful except for a Mississippi State touchdown that increased to score to 17-9. ‘Bama struggled the entire second half and only came away with a fourth-quarter field goal by Leigh Tiffin. In the end, Alabama lost 17-12, and the Crimson Tide finished 6-4 in 2007.
3. 2014: Dak Prescott’s Trip to T-Town (25-20 BAMA) –
When No. 1 Mississippi State traveled to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 5 Alabama, many dubbed it as the biggest matchup between the two teams in its 100+ year history. Though Alabama was favored by nine, future NFL quarterback Dak Prescott was still a major roadblock.
In the first half, it was all Alabama. The Crimson Tide managed to go into halftime with a score of 19-3. Throughout the third quarter and some of the fourth quarter, Prescott and the Bulldogs made a comeback with 10 straight points. In the end, Prescott’s three interceptions helped Alabama pull away and avoid a scare 25-20.
2. 2017: A Scare in Starkville (31-24 BAMA) –
During his time at Alabama, Nick Saban’s team has had only a few scares with teams from the SEC West division. One of these close games came in 2017 when No. 2 Alabama traveled to Starkville to take on the No. 16 Bulldogs.
Scoring first, MSU struck fear in Crimson Tide fans everywhere. From then until the rest game, Alabama played catchup with Mississippi State. A Jalen Hurts first-quarter touchdown was quickly followed by another touchdown for each team to bring the halftime score to 14-14. In the second half, the two teams traded scores until late in the game. With only 24 seconds left in the game, Jalen Hurts tossed a 26-yard pass to DeVonta Smith to give Alabama its second lead of the matchup. The Crimson Tide escaped that game and went on to win their 17th national title in a nail-biter against Georgia.
1. 1980: A Nightmare for the Crimson Tide (6-3 MSU) –
In the midst of the “Bear Bryant Dynasty,” No. 2 Alabama was riding high on two straight national titles in ’78 and ’79. In addition, Alabama had beaten the Bulldogs in 23 straight games and was in the middle of a then-SEC record 28-game win streak.
The Crimson Tide traveled to Jackson, Mississippi for what they thought would be an easy win. The matchup turned out to be a low-scoring affair with only field goals being scored by both teams.
‘Bama scored first to take a 3-0 lead, but State kicked two field goals in a row to go up 6-3. Late in the game, Alabama had a chance to win after driving down to the Mississippi State goal line. Crimson Tide quarterback Don Jacobs fumbled, Mississippi State recovered, and the Bulldogs hung on for a victory that will always be remembered by both teams.