Sideline View by Dale McKee

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The New Orleans Saints may be the best team in the National Football League. The Saints manhandled the Cincinnati Bengals to the tune of 51-14 this past Sunday. It was the Saints' eighth straight win as they prepare to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday in the Superdome. Drew Brees threw for three TD passes and ran for a score as he moved behind only Peyton Manning in the NFL record books. Brees has never won a regular season NFL MVP Award but has now thrown 509 touchdown passes in his career trailing Manning’s (539). The Saints now have a two-game lead over Carolina (6-4) and a four-game lead over Atlanta (4-6) in quest of another division title.

Mississippi State traveled to Tuscaloosa and gave the Tide a battle only to succumb, 24-0, in the end. Alabama started quick and led, 21-0, at intermission. State’s defense held the Tide to only 149 yards on the Tide’s final 11 offensive possessions. MSU sacked Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa four times and limited him to only 164 passing yards. The problem was that State’s offense gained only 159 yards on the day and Nick Fitzgerald was sacked five times. MSU’s offense converted only one of 13 on third down. MSU Athletic Director John Cohen was on the phone early Sunday to the Southeastern Conference Office as he wanted explanations of several calls made by the officiating crew in Saturday’s game. State (6-4) hosts Arkansas (2-8) this Saturday morning in their next action.

The Rebels of Ole Miss had another late meltdown in the final 20 minutes as Texas A&M scored 24 points to down the Rebels, 38-24. The Rebels played most of the game without one of the premier running backs in the SEC in Ellisville’s Scottie Phillips, who injured an ankle in the opening minutes of the game. His loss hurt because Ole Miss was 0 for 11 on third down. A.J Brown is now the all-time Rebel career pass-catching leader with 2,711 yards. The Rebels fell to 5-5 and will travel to Vanderbilt (4-6) Saturday night.

USM (4-5) lost a heartbreaker to UAB Saturday in Birmingham. The Blazers (9-1) scored in the first overtime to down the pesky Golden Eagles, 26-23. The win helped UAB move into the Top 25 for the first time in school history at #25. The win also wraps up the Western Division title in Conference USA. The Blazers travel to Texas A&M this week while USM will entertain Louisiana Tech. The Eagles need to close the season with two wins to go bowling.

East Mississippi (11-0) won the JUCO state football championship for the third straight year with a 19-14 win over Jones (9-2). The Lions have won seven state championships under their head coach Buddy Stephens and will be going for their fourth national championship on November 29 against Garden City in Pittsburg, Kansas. Jones will travel to play in the Mississippi Bowl on December 2.

Delta State University edged Mississippi College, 28-21, in the 40th meeting of the two schools. DSU ends the season at 2-8 and MC at 3-6. Jackson State (5-4) kept their hopes alive for the SWAC Eastern Division title with a 20-2 win over Alabama State. Jackson State will meet Alcorn (7-2) this week for the East title. Belhaven won their final game, 8-0, over Sul Ross to end up at 2-8. Millsaps ended their season at 5-5 with a 28-21 win over Hendrix. Mississippi Valley lost to Hampton and has two games left on their schedule.

Contact Dale at ddmckee18@yahoo.com