October 28, 2012 1:18:49 AM
Jeff Clark - [email protected]
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama football also believed it could emerge 8-0.
After a week of a "We Believe 8-0" campaign launched by Mississippi State University, Alabama proved it takes more than clever marketing to beat it. On Saturday, the Crimson Tide proved again why it is the defending national champion and the nation's No. 1 team with a 38-7 victory against the No. 13 Bulldogs on Homecoming at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
For Alabama coach Nick Saban, it was his first victory in Bryant-Denny Stadium against an undefeated team.
"We have a lot of respect for MSU," Saban said. "You don't get to 7-0 by accident. It was important to us to get off to a fast start. We had the right physical and mental energy. Our goal was to play sound football for 60 minutes. We need to keep improving. This late in the season is like the playoffs in way."
Alabama dominated the first two quarters, scoring 24 unanswered points. The Crimson Tide has outscored its opponents 104-3 in the opening quarter this season. Alabama hasn't been scoreless in 150 games.
The Crimson Tide scored quickly on their first drive on an 11-yard run by freshman standout TJ Yeldon (84 yards).
MSU didn't scored until late in the fourth quarter when quarterback Dak Prescott hit Robert Johnson with a 2-yard touchdown pass.
After another game without an interception, Heisman Trophy talk will continue to surround quarterback AJ McCarron, who hasn't thrown an interception since last year's battle with LSU in Tuscaloosa, Ala. McCarron was 16 of 23 for 208 yards. He had two touchdown passes, including a 57-yarder to Kenny Bell, which give him 37 career touchdowns, fourth in the school's history. He also is tied for second with John Parker Wilson with 18 touchdowns. Former Alabama quarterback and New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy holds the record with 20 touchdowns in a season.
McCarron left the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter after getting sacked for the second time. Saban said McCarron is expected to play next week against LSU.
"I thought AJ played well," Saban said. "He has a back contusion after the sack. He's fine. He should be fine for next week."
Alabama center Barrett Jones also praised McCarron's efforts.
"We physically dominated the game, which is what we wanted to do," Jones said. "AJ made some big plays when he had to. I think we are finding out we can be really explosive on offense."