Alabama Penalized Much Less Against Mississippi State
Alabama played a much improved game on Saturday against Mississippi State en route to a 30-6 win over the Bulldogs.
One area that has garnered a lot of attention this season is penalties. Coming into the game against Mississippi State, Alabama led the FBS in total penalties, having been flagged a ludicrous 66 times over its first seven games. The Crimson Tide was averaging a whopping 9.43 penalties per game for a total of 79.86 yards. The penalty yardage per game mark was just low enough to keep the Crimson Tide out of the FBS basement in that statistic, but Alabama still ranked a lowly No. 128 out of 131 FBS teams.
In the 52-49 loss at Neyland Stadium last week, Alabama was penalized a school record 17 times for a total of 130 yards. The team had accrued at least six penalties in each of the first seven games with the Crimson Tide being flagged a double-digit number of times for triple-digit yardage in the games against Texas and Arkansas on the road.
The yellow markers of wrongdoing were thrown much less often on homecoming night. Alabama was called for three penalties for 20 yards, with two of those penalties being thrown on the final drive of the game with less than 90 seconds remaining.
"Well it's been something that we've been emphasizing all year long," said Alabama football head coach Nick Saban. "Finally, today we had a little better discipline, but I also think we had a little better disposition about energy and enthusiasm and not playing with anxiety and sometimes when you play with anxiety you make a lot of bad decisions because you get a little too emotional about what you're doing and you decide to hit a guy in the back or you decide to hang on and hold or whatever it is and I don't think that's the way you want to compete in a game. You want to have high achievement motivation and low anxiety and make good choices and decisions and I thought the players did a better job of that today."
Alabama was called for an illegal formation penalty on a punt early on in the game for having more than four players in the backfield. The last two penalties were called on the game's final drive as Kool-Aid McKinstry and Malachi Moore were both flagged for defensive pass interference. The latter call sent Saban into a sideline frenzy.
The Crimson Tide will look to replicate the discipline on the road. The team heads to Baton Rouge to take on LSU following a bye-week for both teams.