Sports

No. 4 Alabama's stingy defense holds off top-ranked Mississippi State 25-20

  • Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) catches a 50-yard pass against Mississippi State defensive back Kendrick Market (26) in the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

    Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) catches a 50-yard pass against Mississippi State defensive back Kendrick Market (26) in the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)  (The Associated Press)

  • Alabama linebacker Trey DePriest (33) is fouled after a face mask grab against Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott (15) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

    Alabama linebacker Trey DePriest (33) is fouled after a face mask grab against Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott (15) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)  (The Associated Press)

  • Mississippi State wide receiver De'Runnya Wilson (1) is tackled by Alabama defensive back Cyrus Jones, right, and Alabama defensive back Geno Smith (24) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

    Mississippi State wide receiver De'Runnya Wilson (1) is tackled by Alabama defensive back Cyrus Jones, right, and Alabama defensive back Geno Smith (24) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)  (The Associated Press)

Blake Sims, T.J. Yeldon and No. 4 Alabama's relentless defense delivered on a big stage, and the Crimson Tide held off No. 1 Mississippi State 25-20 on Saturday.

The Tide (9-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference, No. 5 CFP) reasserted itself as a national title contender with a dominant first half and some clutch play in the fourth quarter.

Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs (9-1, 5-1, No. 1 CFP) kept fighting to keep their first-ever reign going for a sixth week. They couldn't conquer Alabama at raucous Bryant-Denny Stadium, though.

Mississippi State scored early in the fourth to make it a six-point game but Sims and Yeldon answered with a steady march to the end zone.

The Bulldogs produced a touchdown with 15 seconds left after a drive that took 3 precious minutes off the clock.

Alabama recovered the onside kick to secure its seventh straight win in the series.