Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (4) leaps past Mississippi State defensive back Jamerson Love (5) and runs past teammate wide receiver Kevin Norwood (83) for a gain during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Kerry Smith) (The Associated Press)
Alabama kicker Cade Foster (43) kicks a point past Mississippi State defenders during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Kerry Smith) (The Associated Press)
Mississippi State defensive back Nickoe Whitley (1) breaks up a pass intended for Alabama wide receiver Kenny Bell (7) in the end zone during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) (The Associated Press)
STARKVILLE, Miss. – No. 1 Alabama was able to sleepwalk through its 20-7 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday without dire consequences.
Opponents in the near future probably won't be as forgiving.
The Crimson Tide (10-0, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) had a tepid offensive showing against the Bulldogs, with 383 total yards and an uncharacteristic four turnovers. Alabama still escaped with a relatively easy victory, but coach Nick Saban said the game was a reminder that his team isn't invincible.
Now the two-week hype begins for one of the most anticipated Iron Bowls in years. Alabama has one more game in the interim — against FCS-level Chattanooga on Saturday — and it will give the Tide a chance to clean up its performance in advance of the Nov. 30 showdown with Auburn (10-1, 6-1).