November 15, 2008

Special teams meltdown in Bulldogs loss

TUSCALOOSA, Ala., - Alabama return man Javier Arenas had been kept in check all season.

But Saturday night he broke out with six returns for 153 yards and a touchdown and set up the Crimson Tide for 16 points in a 32-7 win over Mississippi State.

"We gave up 16 points in the kicking game and that was pretty much the ball game," said MSU head coach Sylvester Croom. "16 points in the kicking game and that was it."

The Bulldogs held a 7-5 lead midway through the second quarter until Arenas tore off a 46-yard return to set up Alabama's first offensive touchdown against MSU since 2004. The next time Arenas touched the ball in the second half, he torched the coverage en route to an 80-yard return and the Tide rolled from there.

"It was a bunch of breakdowns," said MSU special teams coach Reed Stringer. "That's all my responsibility. It's my responsibility to get them understanding what to do and get them executing and then they've got to go out there and make plays."

Alabama finished the night with 364 total yards picking up 198 yards on the ground and 166 via the air.

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