by Jules Gonsoulin
The Mississippi State Bulldogs had their dreams of a perfect season crushed Saturday, as they lost the highly anticipated matchup to the 5th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. While the Bulldogs should still expect to stay in playoff contention, their hopes of playing a somewhat easy first round game against the No. 4 seed are gone—they’ll be in the thick of things when the playoff begins.
The Crimson Tide utterly dominated as the game began. They led by as many as 19 points before Heisman Trophy hopeful Dak Prescott and his Bulldogs showed any signs of life. Near the end of the first half, Mississippi State got its first chance to make the game interesting. Prescott ran the ball to convert an important fourth down and put the Bulldogs in scoring range, but a costly penalty on the offensive line set them back, and State had to settle for a field goal. The Bulldogs received the opening kickoff of the second half, scored a field goal and immediately began to rally. Mississippi State complicated things, closing the gap to 19-13, but running back TJ Yeldon led the Crimson Tide to a vital late lead which the Bulldogs could not overcome. Mississippi State, down 25-20, attempted an onside kick with mere seconds remaining in the game, but did not recover, and Nick Saban and the Tide celebrated their ninth win of the season.
The Bulldogs should descend in the College Football Playoff rankings significantly, but it is unlikely that they fall completely out of playoff contention. The Crimson Tide, on the other hand, should move swiftly into the mix at No. 3 or 4.
In other college football news, the Florida State Seminoles survived an intense upset bid from the Miami Hurricanes to remain perfect, and Texas Christian somehow managed to come back and beat Kansas to remain in the first four of the playoff rankings. LSU was shutout by Arkansas, 17-0, giving the Razorbacks their first SEC victory in two years. Lastly, the Georgia Bulldogs upended Auburn to hand the Tigers their third loss of the season, and secure themselves a spot in playoff conversations.