On June 18, 1988, high school football history was made when a contest featuring the best high school players from Alabama battled a squad representing the best from Mississippi in Mobile’s Ladd Memorial Stadium. Through the years, the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic has established an amazing legacy--having featured dozens of players who have gone on to enjoy stellar careers at both the collegiate and professional levels, while also playing host to some of the most exciting and memorable high school football contests ever held in the two states.
And, while the All-Star Classic has now grown to become one of the top high school sporting events in the nation, it is those great players and spectacular moments of the previous contests which have made the contests so memorable. The following is a complete game-by-game recap of the past All-Star Classic-games which are simply filled with one All-Star Classic success story after another.
1988-Alabama 24, Mississippi 21 (3 OT)
Organizers of the All-Star Classic could not have picked a better game to start off the series than the inaugural Classic in 1988, which turned out to be one of the most exciting high school games ever played at Ladd Stadium.
Alabama eventually won the contest, 24-21, but only after three hear-stopping overtime periods.
After three scoreless quarters, Alabama jumped out to a 7-0 lead when Tarrant’s Darrin Reeves intercepted a Shane Matthews pass and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown. With 4:26 remaining in the game, Mississippi’s Chris Firle of South Leake hauled in a 57-yard touchdown pass from Gulfport’s Tom Luke to knot the score at 7-7. A last second, 33-yard field goal attempt by Mississippi went wide right with just eight seconds to play, to send the game into overtime.
In the first overtime, Mississippi scored on the first play-a 10-yard TD run by Greenville’s Tyrone Montgomery. Alabama, however, countered with a score of its own when Cherokee County’s Marvin Houston dove into the end zone on fourth down from the one.
In the second overtime, Alabama scored first, once again converting on fourth down when Auburn High School’s David Crum scored from one yard out. Alabama looked to have the game won at the start of the Mississippi’s series of downs, as the Mississippians were penalized 15 yards on Alabama’s extra point try for roughing the kicker and were forced to 25 yards in only four plays. On secod down, Luke gained 19 yards on a keeper to the Alabama six, and then Montgomery scored his second touchdown of the evening on a TD pass from Luke to once again tie the score.
Mississippi has the first possession of the third overtime. On third and nine, Luke was hit in the backfield by Brian Moore, fumbled, and Alabama’s Walter Tipton came up with the recovery.
Following a Mississippi penalty, Hamp Greene then kicked a 22-yard field goal to give Alabama the thrilling 24-21 victory.
Fairhope’s Darrel Crawford, who later starred at Auburn, was named MVP for Alabama, while John Sullins, who enjoyed a fine career as a linebacker at Alabama, was chosen MVP for the Mississippi squad.
1989-Alabama 24, Mississippi 21 (4 OT)
Fans thought they had seen it all when it comes to thrilling overtime periods at the inaugural All-Star Classic in 1988. However, the 1989 All-Star Classic was destined to create even greater drama along with an additional overtime period.
The game is also noted for its outstanding roster of talent, which included three future first-round NFL draft picks- Terrell Buckley, John Copeland, and George Teague.
Alabama won the ‘89 contest by the same 24-21 score, but only after Citronelle’s Brian Lee ended the four-overtime marathon with a 27-yard field goal.
Mississippi struck first in the third quarter on five-yard touchdown run by Greg Plump. With just under six minutes remaining in the game, Alabama took over on its own 49-yard line and marched to the Mississippi goal line on 11 plays. On third and goal from the Mississippi three and only 38 seconds left to play, Alabama quarterback Richard Moncrief found Pike County’s Fred Baxter in the end zone for the score to send the game into overtime.
Mississippi held Alabama on its first three plays in overtime and Lee missed a 30-yard field goal. On first down, Mississippi went for the win with a 27-yard field goal attempt, but the game was saved thanks to Jeff Davis’ Teague, who blocked the kick.
Both teams matched touchdowns in overtime number two, with Mississippi’s Marc Johnson scoring from 10-yards out and Alabama scoring on another pass from Moncrief to Baxter, also 10 yards away.
Overtime number three started off with a 10-yard run by Alabama’s Jimm Goodwin on first down to give them a 21-14 lead. However, on fourth down, Mississippi amazingly came back again on a one-yard run by Ocean Spring’s Irving Spikes to knot the score at 21-21.
Misssissippi had first crack in the the fourth OT. On second down from the two, Johnson fumbled and Alabama’s Victor Lockett of Shaw came up with the recovery to set the stage for Lee’s game winning kick.
Named MVP for the Alabama squad was Valley’s Copeland, who later earned first-team All-American honors at Alabama, while Mississippi MVP was Tupelo quarterback Todd Jordan.
1990-Alabama 21, Mississippi 14 (1 OT)
Fans were treated to the game’s best-ever passing show during the 1990 All-Star Classic, but the result was nearly identical to the previous two years with the contest once again going into overtime and Alabama once again coming out with the victory, 21-14.
The passing duo of Anniston quarterback Steve Christopher and teammate receiver Orlando Watters dazzled fans throughout the contest, as the pair was involved in all three Alabama scores. Christopher rewrote the All-Star Classic record book with passing marks that still stand, including passing yards (231), attempts (27), and completions (18), while Watters also established new game best with seven recpetions for 99 yards.
Alabama jumped out to a 7-0 first quarter lead when Christopher heit Watter with a pass over the middle, who then broke free for a 61-yard touchdown thanks to a great block by Hazlewood’s Antonio Langham. The lead grew to 14-0 by half when Watters, who was named Alabama’s MVP, took a pitch from Christopher and threw a perfect strike to Murphy’s Miguel Callier for a 55-yard score.
But Mississippi wasn’t finished. A strong defense in the second half shut down the Alabama attack and two Alabama turnovers set up scores. A fumbled Alabama punt and recovery gave Mississippi a first down deep in Alabama territory, and on third down, Morton’s Michael Davis scored from the one to make it 14-7.
Mississippi then tied the score with 3:53 left when Moss Point’s Kelly Steele, who earned MVP honors for Mississippi, intercepted an Alabama pass and returned it 54 yards for a 14-14 tie.
Alabama had first crack in overtime and scored what proved to be the winning points when Christopher hit Huntsville’s Chris Anderson in the corner of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown. Alabama’s defense then rose to the occasion. On third down, Decatur’s Mario Morris batted away a pass in the end zone and Springville’s Roderick Woody sealed the victory when he intercepted Honore Britton’s pass in the end zone on the game’s last play.
Alabama also set an All-Star Classic team record with 325 passing yards and won the contest despite finishing the game with minus 28 yard rushing.
1991-Alabama 15, Mississippi 13
For the fourth time in as many games, the Alabama All-Stars squeaked out a win over their Mississippi counterparts in the 1991 All-Star Classic. However, for the first time ever, the contest was decided in regulation time, with Alabama coming out with a 15-13 win.
In keeping with the closeness of the three previous games, the contest wasn’t decided until the final 30 seconds of regulation when a potential game-winning touchdown pass for Mississippi was intercepted in the end zone by Theodore’s LaBarion Rankins.
Mississippi drew first blookd when, on its first possesion of the game, it drove 63 yards on ten plays with quarterback Derrick Taite of Moss Point scoring on a keeper from six yards out. A 26-yard field goal by Alabama’s Dane Prewitt in the second quarter cut the deficit to 7-3, and it stayed that way until halftime.
Mississippi stretched its lead to 13-3 on its first possesion of the second half when Taite once again scored on a keeper, this time from the one. A two-point conversion attempt failed.
Alabama came right back on the ensuing possesion to drive 80 yards on eight plays capped off by a 14-yard run by Blount running back Sherman Williams. Prewitt’s extra popint failed and the score stood 13-9 in favor of Mississippi after three quarters.
Two Prewitt field goals in the fourth quarter gave Alabama its margin of victory. The first, a 33-yards, cane with nine minutes remaining to bring Alabama to within a point at 13-12. The second, a 29-yarder, came with 1:30 remaining after a nine-play drive brought Alabama to the Mississippi 12.
Mississippi’s last second rally started on its own 31 and with Taite engineering the two-minute offense to perfection, drove to the Alabama 14 with 31 seconds left. On third down, he lofted the ball into the end zone and Rankins made a spectacular interception to save the game for Alabama.
MVP’s of the 1991 game were Munford’s Eric Lewis for the Alabama squad, who set an All-Star Classic record with 118 rushing yards, and Taite for the Mississippi team.
1992-Mississippi 17, Alabama 14
Mississippi broke its four-game losing streak in the series to score its first All-Star Classic win in the 1992 game, as Amory’s Clint Allen booted a 23-yard field goal with only six seconds remaining in regulation for a 17-14 victory.
Mississippi scored first on a one-yard run by Aberdeen running back Dwayne Chandler with 9:30 remaining in the second quarter. But Alabama struck back with a fury, scoring on its next two possesions to take a 14-7 halftime lead.
Following a 35-yard pass from Brandon Kinard to Toderick Malone, Bama’s Tim Watts scored from two yards out to tie the score at 7-7. Alabama quarterback Chris Windsor then capped off an eight-play, 55-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Citronelle running back Marvin Stafford with only 18 seconds in the half to give Alabama its 14-7 lead.
Mississippi tied the contest at 14-14 with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter when defensive back Michael Lowery intercepted an Alabama pass and returned it 21 yards for the touchdown.
The fourth quarter saw Alabama engineer a 14-play drive beginning at its own four-yard line and ending with a missed 46-yard field goal attempt by Michael Proctor with 2:29 left.
Mississippi then took over at its own 20 and, in just six plays, moved to the Alabama seven-yard line with six seconds remaining to set the stage for Allen’s game winning kick.
Alabama’s MVP was quarterback > Chris Windsor, while Chandler won the award for Mississippi.
1993-Mississippi 17, Alabama 6
Fans attending the sixth annual All-Star Classic in 1993 expected to see an aerial show courtesy of highly-decorated Alabama quarterbacks > Freddie Kitchens of Etowah and Blount’s Dameyune Craig.
Instead, Mississippi turned in a stellar defensive effort and used a steady ground attack to carve out a 17-6 win, its second straight in the series.
Mississippi drew first blood on a 23-yard field goal by North Forrest’s Stephen Lindsey in the second quarter, and then jumped out to a 10-0 lead with 7:54 remaining in the half thanks to a little razzle-dazzle which was carried out to perfection. On first-and-ten from its own 35, quarterback Eli Anding of W.P. Daniel lateralled to Bassfield receiver Eric Booth, who then threw a strike to a wide open Michael Brown of Lanier who caught the ball in stride for a 65-yard touchdown pass.
With time running out in the first half, Kitchens drove Alabama down to a first down at the Mississippi ten. Three plays netted eight yards, and on fourth and goal from the two, Craig was stopped on a keeper at one-yard-line to end the threat and the half.
On Alabama’s first possesion of the second half, a Kitchen’s pass was intercepted by Mississippi’s Kobie Jenkins, who returned it to the Alabama eight-yard line. Three plays later, Anding scored on ten-yard keeper and Mississippi had a commanding 17-0 lead.
Alabama got on the board with 5:04 remaining in the game on a seven-yard pass from Kitchens to Walker’s Demetrea Shelton, but Mississippi was able to then run out the clock for a 17-6.
Booth took MVP honors for Mississippi, while Anniston linebacker Kivuusama Mays earned the MVP award for Alabama.
1994-Mississippi 24, Alabama 10
Mississippi scored its third consecutive win in the series in the 1994 All-Star Classic, largely on the strength of a stingy defense and Hattiesburg quarterback Richard Lucas’ record-setting three touchdown passes.
Mississippi jumped out to a 7-0 lead when Lucas connected with Warren Central’s Corey Wilson on a nine-yard touchdown pass with 5:43 remaining in the first quarter.
Both teams traded field goals in the second quarter, with Alabama’s Kevin Gentle of Gunertsville setting a new All-Star Classic record witha 41-yarder with 11 minutes remaining in the half to make the score 7-3. Mississippi then drove to a first down at the Alabama four-ayrd line, but a tough goal line stand by Alabama forced Gulfport’s Brad Palazzo to kick a 19-yard field goal to make the score 10-3 in favor of Mississippi, whch remained until halftime.
Alabama came out for the second half on fire, scoring on its first possesion when Dora’s Adam Russell connected with Gadsden’s Toby Walker on a nine-yard touchdown pass. Gentle’s extra point knotted the score at 10-10.
Following a missed 52-yard field goal attempt by Gentle, Mississippi took over at its own 20 with 2:53 remaining in the quarter. On second and ten, Lucas connected with Louisville’s Moine Nicholson on a pass over the middle and Nicholson outraced all Alabama defenders for an 80-yard score and the longest touchdown pass in All-Star Classic history.
Lucas then closed out the scoring when he hit Smithville’s Toby Collums for a 32-yard touchdown with 10:50 remaining, and the Mississippi defense stopped the two remaining Alabama drives to seal the 24-10 win.
Lucas earned MVP honors for the Mississippi squad, while Eotwah running back Kenneth Scissum won the MVP award for Alabama.
1995-Mississippi 38, Alabama 9
The 1995 All-Star Classic was simply all Mississippi, as the Mississippians stretched their winning streak to four straight games with a record-setting 38-9 victory, which also knotted the All-Star Classic series at four wins apiece.
Warren Central’s Brian Darden paced the Mississippian’s ground attack with a game-leading 59-yards rushing and two touchdowns, as Mississippi used a stifling defense, a strong running game and six Alabama turnovers to jump out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back.
Mississippi took the opening kickoff and drove 68 yards on 16 consecutive running plays, capped off by an eight-yard run by Darden and the first of Clinton placekicker Brain Hazlewood’s record five extra point to go ahead 7-0.
Following a blocked Alabama punt, Mississippi took over on the Alabama 19 and Clarksdale’s Marcus Taylor hit Pontotoc’s Jason Clingan, whose leaping catch in the end zone accounted for Mississippi’s only completed pass of the evening, for a 14-0 lead. The lead then swelled to 21-0 following a muffed Alabama punt which was recovered by Mississippi at Alabama’s ten-yard line, as Weir’s Dennis McKinley scored from three yards out.
On the first play of the second half, Mississippi recovered an Alabama fumble at the 28-yard line. Three plays later, Hazlewood set another All-Star Classic record with a 44-yard field goal to make the score 24-0.
Two more third-quarter touchdowns- a six-yard run by Darden and another six-yarder by Mendenhall’s Larry Showers-increased the margin to 38-0 before Alabama quarterback Montressa Kirby of Anniston scored on a two-yard keeper in the fourth stanza. An Alabama safety on the ensuing kickoff closed out the scoring at 38-9, which established new All-Star Classic bests for points scored by one team and total points by both teams with 47.
Darden earned MVP honors for Mississippi, while R.E. Lee lineman Eugene Smith took MVP honors for the Alabama squad.
1996-Alabama 17, Mississippi 14
The 199 Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic will forever be remembered as the year of "The Drive" and the year "The Streak" was finally laid to rest.
For when Blount High School quarterback Kelvin Robinson engineered an eight-play, 65-yard touchdown drive in the game’s final moments to give team Alabama a 17-14 win in on of the most thrilling finishes in the game’s nine-year history, it also marked the end to the four-game winning streak recorded by Mississippi form 1992-95.
The storybook ending also capped off a wild four quarter which saw both teams score two touchdowns apiece and Mississippi take a 14-10 lead with only 3:40 remaining.
Entering the final stanza with a 3-0 lead thanks to a second-quarter Jonah Dismukes field goal, Alabama increased its margin to 10-0 when Williamson quarterback Tamaurice "Tee" Martin hit Sidney Lanier running back Chris Chukwuma, who won the MVP award for Alabama, with a 29-yard touchdown pass.
Mississippi then took over at its own 20 and churned out 80 yards on just seven plays. A 25-yard pass from Mississippi MVP Daryl Carter of Northest Jones to Amory’s Rufus Tyler then scored on the next play to make 10-7 with 7:02 remaining.
Following an Alabama punt, Mississippi dorve to the Alabama 32 and then scored the go-ahead touchdown when French snared a deflected pass and made two spectaclar open field moves to run it in for the score. Scott Westerfield’s extra-point gave the Mississippians a stunning 14-10 lead with only 3:40 left in the game, to set the stage for Robinson’s game-winning drive.
On first-down from their own 35, Robinson hit Murphy’s Dennison Robinson for 18 and a first down at the Mississippi 47. He then followed two incompletions with a bullet to Jeff Davis’ Gorman Thornton for a gain of 21 and first down at the 26. One play later, Robinson scrambled for 18 and another first down at the 14. With most of the 19,600 fnas in Ladd Memorial Stadium now ontheir feet and creating a deafening roar of approval on every play, Robinson then hit Etowah’s Reggie Worthy for ten more to give the Alabamians first nad goal on the four. On first down, B.B. Comer’s Tellie Embery took a handoff around the right side, broke a tackle and dove into the corner of the end zone for the winning score with just 1:27 left.
The victory, however, wasn’t sealed until Shaw’s Leonardo Carson stripped Carter of the ball during Mississippi’s final possession and also recovered the fumble to set off a wild celebration as Alabama then ran out the clock for the 17-14 win.
1997-Alabama 10, Mississippi 6
The old adage that offense sells tickets and defense wins football games was never more evident than in the 1997 Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Classic.
Auburn-bound Larry Casher intercepter a Romaro Miller pass with less than five minutes gone off the first-quarter clock and returned it 84 yards down the Ladd Memorial Stadium turf for an Alabama touchdown. It was a message heard louc-and-clear as the ‘Bama boys held Mississippi to only 213 yards of total offense and went on to win, 10-6, in the tenth annual All-Star Classic.
Ironically, that was the only touchdown scored between the two teams all night- and it came on the defensive side of the ball. But don’t think for one minute that Alabama’s “D” was the enitre star of the show. The Mississippians know a little bit baout playing defense, as well. In fact, the Alabama offense could must just 181 yards of total offense themselves.
It looked like a rout was in order after Casher’s brillant interception return and a 19-yard field goal by Hoover High School product Jerrod Cook with 5:38 to play in the opening stanza gave Alabama a 10-0 lead.
But the Mississippi defense took over, limiting Alabama to only 11 plays, minus-two yards of total offense and one first down the entire second quarter.
They were rewarded when Morton’s Dulymus McAllister recovered a fumbled Alabama punt at the ‘Bama 10-yard line with less than two minutes remaining before halftime, giving his team a great oppurtunity to put six on the scoreboard.
No way, said the Alabama defense. After a Miller-to-Shalondo Jones pass fell incomplete, the ‘Bama defense stuffed tailback Kevin Jones for a two yard loss. Another imcompletion from Miller-to-Jones brought on Prentiss High School’s Wesley Flake, who calmly nailed a 28-yard field goal to cut the lead to 10-3 at the half.
After a scoreless third quarter which saw Mississippi drive to the Alabama 12-yard line only to be denied once again when Erwin’s Rob Pate recovered a fumble at the seven, the Mississippians were bound and determined to put some points on the board. Miller led his team from the Alabama 45-yard line to the 23, but Alabama’s defense rose to the occasion, forcing Mississippi to settle for a 41-yard field goal by Flake with 9:35 left showing on the fourth-quarter clock.
Mississippi threatened one last time, taking over at midfield with 7:23 to play and getting as close as the Alabama 28, but a fourt-and-ten pass fell to the turf and Alabama took over on downs. ‘Bama pieced together its best drive of the evening, grinding out four first downs, to run out the clock and perserve the win.
Muskingum Barnes, who recored eight tackles and deflected a pair of passes, was named MVP for Mississippi, while Kecalf Bailey, who broke up four passes, was Alabama’s MVP.
1998-Mississippi 9, Alabama 0
Talk about unlikely heroes.
Alabama boasted players like the much heralded quarterback tandem of Tyler Watts (Alabama) and Gabe Gross (Auburn). Mississippi countered with like of super-quick quarterback Freddie Milons (Alabama) and all-everything tailback Robert Gillespie (Florida).
But when it came down to it, a little known kicker from McComb, Mississippi turned out to be the brighest star of them all.
Mac Hart, a 5-10, 205-punder who was heading for Southwest Mississippi Community College, booted three field goal-including one from 53 yards-to lead his Mississippi squar to a 9-0 defensive win over Alabama in the 11th annual Alabama-Mississippi High School All-Star Classic.
Hart’s successful 53-yard attempt-which was a new Alabama Mississippi High School All-Star Classic record, breaking the old mark of 44 set by Clinton High School’s Brian Hazlewood in 1995-was sandwiched between a 21-yard field goal in the second quarter and a 41-yarder as the horn sounded to end the first half. All three of Hart’s field goals came in the second quarter.
And to no one’s surprise, Hart was named Most Valuable Player for the Mississippi squad. Alabama punter Lane Bearden, who averaged 41.7 yards per attempt, was selected MVP of the ‘Bama team.
But Hart wasn’t the only hero for the boys from Mississippi. A bone-crushing, stingy defense never would let Alabama get anything going, offensively. On the night, Alabama managed just 40 yards rushing and 32 yards passing-72 yards of total offense to be exact. In fact, Alabama managed to cross into Mississippi territory only one time-getting as far as the 32-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but a fumble stopped the drive.
After a scoreless first quarter, Mississippi began a methodical 12-play drive covering 57 yards and ended in Hart’s 21-yard field goal with 10:19 to play. Alabama had an opportunity to thwart the drive whn Milons fumbled after a ferocious hit by ‘Bama’s Josh Jones at the 10-yard line, but Gary Davis pounced on the loose football to keep possesion. Two plays later, Hart was called upon and delivered.
On its next possesion, Mississippi took over from its own 31 and took nine plays to drive the ball to the Alabama 36-yard line. A sack by Alabama’s Davern Williams had apparently stalled the drive and taken Mississippi out of field goal range, but Hart proved them wrong. With 2:55 showing on the Ladd-Peebles Memorial Stadium clock, he calmly connected on the record-shattering 53-yard field goal and a 6-0 Mississippi lead.
But the boys from Mississippi weren’t through putting the finishing touches on an outstanding second quarter just yet. After holding Alabama once again on downs, Milons took his team 12 yards in five plays, setting up another Hart field goal- this one from 41 yards out- as the horn sounded to end the first half.
The third and fourth quarters were played in a driving rain storm, with neither offense able to muster much of an attack. Alabama did have its one opportunity, beginning an 11-play, 50-yard drive that got them to the Mississippi 32. But University of Alabama signee Shontua Ray, who had rushed for 31 yards in the drive, coughed up the football on a first-and-10 play from the Mississippi 32-yard line, and Mississippi’s Edward Prather punced on the loose football to end the threat.
Mississippi tailback Justin Griffith led all rushers in the game with 95 yards on 15 carries. Ray placed Alabama with 45 yards on 14 carries.
Defensively, linebacker Mario Haggan had a stellar game for Mississippi, recording five tackles, including a pair for losses of 10 yards and a sack for five yards, while Alabama linebacker Roderick Jones register 10 tackles (9 solos). Williams added six tackles, two for losses of 8 yards, and a quarterback sack for four yards.
1999–Alabama 28, Mississippi 24
Too much of a good thing and a Heart of Dixie team that just wouldn’t quit determined the outcome of the 12th annual Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.
The two much of a good thing was the brilliant performance of Mississippi tailback Dontae Walker, who almost single-handedly ran Alabama out of Ladd-Peeples Memorial Stadium in the first half. Walker, a native of Clinton, Miss., and a Mississippi State signee, rushed for a Classic record 158 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns to lead his team to the brink of victory. But it was the time a tired and exhausted Walker was not in the game that proved to be the turning point in the contest. Trailing 10-0 in the opening quarter, Walker’s replacement, Tanarka Counslor, fumbled on a hit by ‘Bama’s Eddie Hoskin and linebacker William Orr picked up the loose football and rambled 20 yards to the Mississippi 21-yard line. Two plays later, Alabama’s Michael Owens rambled in from six yards away and ‘Bama was back in the game.
Mississippi had taken the lead on a 25-yard field goal b David Mooneyham with 7:27 to play in the opening quarter, and made it 10-0 on Rod Davis’ 27-yard fumble return at the 3:32 mark before Owens cashed in on the Mississippi miscue.
‘Bama went up 14-10 moments later on a Brandon Johnson one-yard run, again capitalizing on a Counslor fumble at the Mississippi 30-yard line. A pass from wide receiver DeAndre Green to Leonard Fulgham netted 26 yards and a first down at the Mississippi seven, and two plays later Auburn signee Johnson took it in from the two for a 14-10 ‘Bama lead.
Mississippi methodically answered that score with one of its own, covering 70 yards in 11 plays with Walker gaining 49 of those years, including the final two for a touchdown with 5:04 remaining before halftime and a 17-14 Mississippi lead.
By halftime, Walker had gained 117 of his 158 yards.
Mississippi opened the third quarter the same way it finished the second, going 70 yards in 10 plays, taking almost five minutes off the clock. Walker scored his second touchdown of the evening to give his team a “comfortable” 24-14 advantage.
But that’s when the Alabama squad went to work. Behind the trio of quarterback Derek Bynum, fullback Johnson and wide out Green, Alabama took nine plays and a little more than four minutes to cover 71 yards and close the gap to 24-21 at the 2:44 mark of the third. Johnson gained 24 yards rushing in the drive, including a one-yard touchdown rumble, while Bynum hooked up with Green for two completions for 27 yards.
Alabama began its game-winning drive with 8:13 showing on the fourth-quarter clock. A 15-yard pass interference call gave ‘Bama a first down at its own 46. Quarterback Brent Speigner then hit tight end Robert Johnson for 12 yards to the Mississippi 38. Another pass interference call after a Mississippi interception put Alabama at the Mississippi 18 with 5:41 to play. One play later, Speigner found Green all alone in the end zone for a 28-24 lead and the win.
Green was named MVP for the Alabama squad, while Walker earned the honors for Mississippi.
2000–Alabama 16, Mississippi 9
Alabama got the new millennium off to a winning start with a hard-fought 16-9 win in a game filled with unlikely heroes.
With the score knotted a 9 midway through the third quarter, unheralded and unsigned quarterback J.P. Holley, who was named Alabama's Most Valuable Player, drove his squad 70 yards in nine plays for the 16-9 margin, then turned it over to a staunch 'Bama defense to preserve the victory. Holley, who played at Stanhope-Elmore, completed five consecutive passes during the drive, including a 35-yard strike to wide receive Triandos Luke for the touchdown with only 24 seconds remaining in quarter number three.
On the night, Holley completed 9-11 passes for 85 yards and the touchdown.
Mississippi wasn't without its unlikely heroes, either. Kicker John-Michael Martin kept his squad in the game with field goals of 47, 23 and 20 yards, all the whole averaging 43.5 per punt. His only missed field goal came from 60 yards out. Martin's effort earned him MVP honors for the Mississippi squad.
Mississippi got on the scoreboard first with 2:51 showing on the first quarter clock on Martin's 47-yard field goal. The kick was set up by the steady running of halfback Marvin Vaughan , who carried 10 consecutive times on the drive.
A bad snap from center set up Alabama's first score. With 51 seconds left in the opening quarter, Martin saw the football flying over his head into the end zone. In his attempt to rush the football out of the end zone, he fumbled the ball and Bama's Mayo Sowell pounced on it for six points. Phillip Yost's extra-point attempt was no good, leaving Alabama with a 6-3 advantage.
Jason Campbell's 36-yard aerial to Antonio Hargro set up Martin's second field goal of the night, this one from 23 yards, to make the score 6-6 with 5:12 remaining before halftime. The Campbell-to-Hargro connection gave Mississippi a first-and-goal just inside the 10-yard line, but 'Bama's defense stiffened.
On the ensuing kickoff, Luke returned the ball 48 yards to the Mississippi 46-yard line and Alabama was back in business. Using 5:05 on the clock, Holley methodically drove his team down field, covering 58 yards in nine plays. But to their credit, Mississippi's defense, led by linebackers Antoine Cash and Jason Clark , made Alabama settle for a 32-yard field goal from Yost as the horn sounded.
Mississippi took the second half kickoff and pounded its way from Bama's 42 to the Alabama 4-yard line before two penalties stalled the drove. The drive was set up by a 48-yard kickoff return from Vaughan. Martin's third field goal came with 6:37 to play in the third quarter and made it 9-9. That's when Holley displayed his heroics. Starting on the Alabama 30-yard line, Holley directed his team to paydirt, hitting Pelham's Bill Flowers for three passes and tight end Bo Hartsfield for another until hooking up with Luke in the right corner of the end zone with 4:46 to play in the third. The PAT by Yost was good for a 16-9 lead and the eventual winning margin.
Vaughan led all rushers in the game with 64 yards, while Alabama was paced by Archie Niles 45 yards.
Hargo was the top receiver with 102 yards on six catches. Hartsfield had four catches for 36 yards.
In addition to recovering the fumble for a touchdown, Alabama's Sowell was all over the Ladd-Peebles Stadium turf. He recorded a game-best nine tackles, including two for losses and a sack for five yards, and intercepted one pass.
Clark was Mississippi's top hitter with six tackles, one for a loss, while defensive lineman J.J. Grant recorded his team's only sack of 12 yards. Defensive back Michael Cooley added an interception.