Crimson Tide Washes Over Wet Golden Eagles - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Crimson Tide Washes Over Wet Golden Eagles

Ahmaad Galloway ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns to lift Alabama to a 28-15 victory over Southern Mississippi on Thursday night in a rain-soaked game. The victory made the Crimson Tide (6-5) eligible for a bowl game, likely the Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn. The Golden Eagles (6-4) are expected to receive a bid to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile. Played in windy, rainy conditions, the game included six first-half turnovers, a safety, three botched extra-point kicks and three missed field goals. Both teams were playing without their starting tailbacks. It had little effect on Alabama, particularly in the second half. Galloway scored on a 40-yard run in the third quarter and added a clinching 11-yarder with 10:33 left in the fourth. He also held onto the ball, running 24 times without a fumble in his second straight 100-yard effort. Santonio Beard, who gained 199 yards in his lone start against Auburn, was suspended following his arrest last weekend on drunken driving charges. The Tide still rushed for 221 yards, including 148 in the second half against a defense that came in giving up just 86 per game on the ground. Alabama's Andrew Zow, making his second start of the season, threw his 34th and 35th touchdown passes to tie Mike Shula for the school's career mark. Zow was just 7-of-19 for 90 yards with an interception, but rushed for a career-high 47 yards and converted a pair of third-and-long plays with his legs.

His Southern Miss counterpart, Jeff Kelly, was 23-of-36 for 239 yards and a pair of scoring passes to LeRoy Handy. Kelly was sacked three times by Jarret Johnson, who also had nine unassisted tackles, one for a loss, and caused a fumble. James Walley ran for just 65 yards on 22 carries and fumbled twice as the Golden Eagles were held to 47 yards on the ground. He was subbing for Dawayne Woods, out with a shoulder injury. Galloway capped the opening drive of the third quarter with his 40-yard touchdown run up the middle. The drive was kept alive by a roughing-the-kicker penalty. The extra-point attempt was blocked and Rod Davis scampered 93 yards for two points to make it 13-8. It was the first time since 1997 that Alabama had a PAT blocked. The Tide got the two points back after a snap sailed over punter Mark Haulman's head. He batted it out of the end zone for a safety, avoiding an almost sure touchdown. Alabama followed that with Zow's 26-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Milons for a 22-8 lead. Zow kept the drive alive by running for a first down on third-and-18. Then, Kelly capped a 12-play, 74-yard drive with his second scoring pass to Handy, who made a diving 5-yard catch on fourth down. Galloway put the game away early in the fourth, and Southern Miss couldn't get any points from its next three series. Points were scarce for both teams in the first half, with Alabama clinging to a 7-6 lead. Zow made the Golden Eagles pay for Walley's second fumble at their own 27, hitting Sam Collins for a 14-yard touchdown on third down in the second quarter. Zow's first four passes had fallen incomplete. Southern Miss came right back with Kelly's 39-yard scoring pass to Handy. The extra point failed when the holder couldn't handle the ball. Brant Hanna's two missed 44-yard field goals helped negate a 218-73 advantage in total yards for Southern Miss. Zow was just 3-of-13 for 28 yards in the half compared to Kelly's 10-of-17 for 141 yards. Both threw an interception. The game was postponed from Sept. 15 due to the terrorist attacks.

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