- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (1-1) at No. 3 ALABAMA (2-0), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)

Line: Alabama by 48.

Series Record: Alabama leads 33-6-2.


It’s Alabama’s final tuneup before entering Southeastern Conference play. The biggest question remaining is who will emerge as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback, Blake Sims or Jake Coker?


Coker vs. Sims. It might be the nation’s most-watched lingering position battle, and with Florida visiting on Sept. 20 this figures to be the final tryout for the No. 1 spot. Both passed for 200-plus yards against Florida Atlantic, a first in the program’s history.


Southern Miss: RB Ito Smith has rushed for 161 yards and also returns kicks. If he can’t find some running room against a defense allowing just 1.8 yards per carry, Southern Miss and QB Nick Mullens could have a hard time finding opportunities.

Alabama: WR Amari Cooper leads the nation with 25 catches for 319 yards. That’s more completions to Cooper than 14 FBS teams that have also played two games have produced. He’s only 15 yards shy of Ozzie Newsome (2,070 yards) for No. 3 on Alabama’s career receiving chart.


This is the first meeting for these two teams since the Tide’s 30-21 victory in 2005. Alabama holds an 18-2-1 record in Tuscaloosa in a series that was played each season from 1992-2005. … This is the highest ranked team Southern Miss has faced since a 21-6 loss to No. 2 Florida in the 1997 opener. The Golden Eagles haven’t faced a Top 25 team since losing 56-13 at Nebraska on Sept. 7, 2013. … Southern Miss just snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 26-20 win over FCS Alcorn State. … The Tide has three sacks in each of its first two games after averaging 1.7 last season.

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