STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Here's a look at three lessons learned in Alabama's 20-7 win over Mississippi State.
They're human: It hasn't looked that way lately, but Alabama finally showed it's a flawed team. The Crimson Tide came out Saturday night flat and uninspired, turning the ball over a season-high four times. AJ McCarron wasn't crisp, the offensive line was underwhelming and the defense, despite allowing just 10 points, struggled in the communication department. Mississippi State, a sub-.500 team, shouldn't have the top-ranked team on the ropes, but lo and behold it did. On the bright side, you can look at Saturday as a wakeup call. McCarron did, saying "It reminds you that you're not as good as you think."
Ball security is an issue: Set aside the two interceptions. Given McCarron's history of taking care of the football, you can forgive that. But the two fumbles are hard to swallow. Kenyan Drake and T.J. Yeldon each coughed up the football, their third and fourth fumbles of the season, respectively. Running backs coach Burton Burns is going to have to work on that. Alabama survived the turnovers against Mississippi State, but against a better team that may not be the case.
McCarron's Heisman Trophy race is over: Unless you subscribe to the notion that C.J. Mosley should be considered for the award, Alabama isn't going to have a Heisman Trophy winner this year. McCarron's candidacy ended against Mississippi State. Two interceptions against a second-tier SEC defense will turn off most voters. Though his value to the team can't be questioned, it's hard to make an argument now that McCarron is a more outstanding player than Florida State's Jameis Winston, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel or Baylor's Bryce Petty.