Alabama holds off Ole Miss

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama survived Saturday, but at what cost?

The No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide held on to defeat Ole Miss 24-20, but lost nose tackle Terrence Cody to a right knee injury. Cody, the 360-pound centerpiece of the Alabama defense, was helped from the field in the third quarter and then carted to the locker room for further evaluation.

Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC) led 24-3 and appeared to be on its way to an easy win when Cody was hurt. But the game changed in more ways than one after he exited.

Emotionally, Alabama almost seemed to be stunned, and Ole Miss was also able to work the middle of the Crimson Tide defense more successfully than when Cody was in the game.

The Rebels (3-4, 1-3 SEC) have been hard to figure this season, but they hit back Saturday when it looked like they were going to be blown out of the game.

After scoring a pair of unanswered touchdowns to make it a game again, they had one last chance. But Jevan Snead's fourth-down pass from the Alabama 43 fell incomplete.

Nick Saban is always talking about finishing. Clearly, this was not the kind of finish he was looking for after his club built a 24-3 lead. But this is also the time of year when surviving is just as good as winning by 30.

Now the most important question: How's Cody?