TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Shaud Williams ran for 170 yards and two
touchdowns and Chris James made two huge special teams plays in the
fourth quarter to lift Alabama to a 17-3 win over Southern Miss on
The Crimson Tide (3-4) blocked a punt in the fourth quarter,
turned another into a 24-yard loss after a botched snap and
recovered two fumbles to snap a three-game losing streak.
The Golden Eagles (3-3) blundered through the final 12 minutes
in what turned into a battle of third-team quarterbacks.
Alabama couldn't take advantage of James's first big play,
missing a field goal after he tackled punter Luke Johnson for a
24-yard loss on a muffed snap.
The next time Johnson lined up, he pulled down a high snap that
gave James enough time to make a diving block. Greg McLain scooped
up the ball and rambled 11 yards to the 1 with 8:42 left.
Williams, who carried 28 times, nudged across the goal line on
the next play.
The Golden Eagles thought they had a game-turning play when John
Eubanks returned the kickoff 100 yards for an apparent touchdown.
Both teams had lined up for an extra point, oblivious to the
flag way down the field. The referees conferred near midfield
before burying Southern Miss at its own 14 with a holding penalty.
Reserve quarterback Dustin Almond led the Golden Eagles
downfield and Johnson completed a 22-yarder to Etric Pruitt on a
fake punt on fourth-and-10. Then Jeremy Clark forced a fumble by
Antwon Courington and Carlos Andrews recovered at Alabama's 19.
Pruitt, a safety who made his first career catch, then picked
off Brandon Avalos' pass in the end zone with 1:44 left.
The Golden Eagles fumbled away another shot at the end zone.
Avalos wasn't asked to do much besides handoff and not make
mistakes as Alabama revived a struggling running game, gaining 243
yards on 50 carries.
Avalos was 3-of-7 for 12 yards for the Tide, which had been
outrushed by an average of 40 yards during its losing streak.
It was the first time Alabama had passed for less than 100
yards, since Croyle and Tyler Watts combined for just 21 in last
year's meeting with Southern Miss.
Ray Hudson gained 76 yards on 18 rushes for Alabama.
Almond replaced a struggling Damion Carter in the second quarter
and finished 16-of-28 passing for 196 yards. Carter was starting in
place of Micky D'Angelo, out for the third straight week with a
Southern Miss gained just 17 yards on 35 rushes and converted
5-of-18 third down plays.
Williams' 44-yard burst on third-and-1 put the Tide up 7-0 late
in the first quarter. Brian Bostick added a 23-yard field goal to
cap a 15-play, 62 yard drive, all on the ground.
A switch to Almond and a roughing-the-passer penalty finally got
Southern Miss going. Darren McCaleb kicked a 27-yard field goal as
time expired in the first half to make it 10-3.
Tide linebacker Freddie Roach was called for roughing the passer
on third-and-7 to keep the drive alive. Almond then completed three
straight passes for 39 yards to set up the kick.
The Golden Eagles had five of their six first-half first downs
on the drive, covering the final 2:56.