November 10, 2007

Lowe a bright spot for UA

STARKVILLE, MS - Tailback Jonathan Lowe had hoped for a more joyful return to his former school on Saturday when his new school, Alabama, traveled to face his old school, Mississippi State.

Lowe and the Crimson Tide didn't get the win but Lowe's play was among the few bright spots for Alabama's stunted offense rushing for 45 yards on just 7 carries. Lowe found himself in the second string running back spot after Glen Coffee missed his third game in a row with a textbook related suspension and Roy Upchurch exited the game early with an injury.

"I was prepared for it," Lowe said. "I didn't know which way they were going to go. I guess it depended on which way the game was going."

The emotional return to Starkville coupled with Lowe's increased snaps at tailback provided for an emotional day for the junior who said that although he couldn't help the Tide to a win, he was pleased with his own performance.

"It brought back some memories, brought out a little fight in me," said Lowe. "I was trying to prove a point out there. It was a great atmosphere and a great turnout. Those guys played a heck of a game, I take my hat off to them."

While the Tide running game struggled overall against the Bulldogs, Lowe said he was proud of the effort his teammates put forth and believes there is plenty of opportunity for improvement.

"The offensive line did a heck of a job today. Those guys worked their tails off. A lot of times Mississippi State did some things that caught us off guard but the offensive line did everything in their power.

"I feel very confident in Terry's and my ability to get the job done and I think the coaches feel the same way."

With the status of both Coffee and Upchurch uncertain, Lowe said is prepared to see his involvement increase in the week's to come.

"I feel good with this new role. Each week I'm trying to go out and produce even more and try to get my carries to go up every week. I have no problem with it and I hope I can do more every week."

Record day for Tiffin

Another bright spot for the Crimson Tide was the play of placekicker Leigh Tiffin who finished 4-for-4 on field goals of 39, 51, 29 and 50 yards, the most made field goals in a game by a Tide kicker since Michael Proctor made four against Southern Mississippi in 1993.

Tiffin's 51-yarder in the first quarter was a career long for the sophomore and his first collegiate field goal over 50 yards.

"It looked good," Tiffin said of his record-breaking kick. "We hit it great, had a good snap and hold. Coach Saban asked me before I went out there if I could make it and I said 'yeah, let's do it.' I was pretty excited when I made it."

Tiffin's fourth quarter 50-yard kick was a bit less sure but made it through the uprights nonetheless.

"I didn't know if we were going to make it," Tiffin said. "We kicked laces and didn't have our best operation but we still made it. Certain days I think things just go your way and you just can't miss."

Head coach Nick Saban mentioned Tiffin's effort as one of the few positives from Saturday's loss.

"Tiffin did a great job today," Saban said. "He made some big kicks in a 51 and 50 yarder in critical times in the game."

"I'm glad I could do my job but I hate that we lost," Tiffin said. "We came here to win."

Notes and Quotes

* Alabama now holds a 72-17-3 all-time lead over Mississippi State.

* Today's victory by the Bulldogs is the first MSU win in Starkville over Alabama since 2000.

* Junior receiver Nikita Stover and senior offensive lineman Chris Capps earned their first starts of the season.

* With his opening drive pick of Wesley Carroll, safety Rashad Johnson now leads the SEC in interceptions with 6 on the season. The interception also prevented Carroll from tying an NCAA record for most consecutive pass attempts without an interception to start a career.

* Saturday's game drew a Mississippi State school record crowd of 56,188.


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