3:30 PM ET, October 19, 2002
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Santonio Beard isn't used to spending this much time in the end zone.
Beard rushed for 138 yards and tied a school record with five touchdown runs as No. 24 Alabama pounded Eli Manning and beat earned a 42-7 win over Mississippi (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today, No. 21 AP) on Saturday.
"I'm still in shock,'' said Beard, who had two TD runs in the season's first six games.
So were the Rebels, who were gunning for their first 3-0 league start since 1970.
The Crimson Tide (5-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) held Manning to one completion for 1 yard in a six-possession stretch beginning in the second quarter. They sacked him four times and pressured him into a fumble and interception.
"I don't think I've seen him pressured any more than he was today,'' Alabama coach Dennis Franchione said. "We made him throw off his back foot. We made him throw off rhythm.''
The Rebels (5-2, 2-1) have lost 19 of 20 in Tuscaloosa and 16 of the last 18 meetings. It was the team's worst defeat since falling 45-7 to Alabama on its last visit in 2000.
"It is not fun coming out and losing,'' Manning said. "It makes it worse when the score gets like that.''
Alabama also got a rare win over a Manning, moving to 3-6 against Eli, Archie and Peyton.
Eli Manning finished 18-of-32 for 219 yards and was held without a touchdown pass for the second time this year. He had been sacked only four times in the first six games.
"It's always motivation to play against a guy like Eli Manning,'' said cornerback Gerald Dixon, who had the interception. "You've got to come out and put on your best performance. That's what our defense tried to do today.''
Alabama backup Brodie Croyle, meanwhile, did what Manning didn't have time to do with any consistency: throw downfield.
Starter Tyler Watts limped off the field after a sack early in the second quarter and didn't return. He aggravated a sprained left foot that caused him to miss the previous two games but said he could have returned.
Croyle was only 6-of-11 but threw for 179 yards, including a 51-yard TD pass to Dre Fulgham and a 64-yarder to Sam Collins that set up another score.
He mostly played a supporting role to Beard. The junior tailback had scored six times in two-plus seasons and was held to 23 yards in the Tide's last outing, a loss to Georgia two weeks ago.
"Coach challenged me for the last two weeks,'' Beard said. "I wanted to do something to help the team win, but I never dreamed it would be five touchdowns.''
Beard scored on his first two carries with runs of 25 and 35 yards and tied the mark Shaun Alexander set against Brigham Young in 1998. Beard, who carried just 13 times, learned from teammates that he was within range of the record entering the fourth.
It was Alabama's most lopsided homecoming victory since beating Southern Miss 40-0 nine years ago.
"On a day that we needed to be at our best, we were at our worst,'' Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe said. "Obviously I needed to have this team prepared better than they were. We didn't do a good job of protecting (Manning) and giving him the opportunity to do the things he needed to do.
"We were really fortunate that the score was what it was and not worse.''
The Rebels rushed for 4 yards on 28 carries and were outgained 456-223.
Offensively, Mississippi's afternoon was summed up on one failed third-quarter drive.
The Rebels had first-and-goal at the 3 with a chance to cut it to 28-14. Ole Miss turned it over on downs after two stuffed runs and two incompletions.
The Tide then drove 98 yards in seven plays, covering most of it on Croyle's 64-yarder to a wide-open Collins on the right sideline. On the next play, Beard scored his fourth TD, a 2-yard run.
He added a 10-yard score with 3:50 left on another drive Alabama started after Mississippi failed to take advantage of a trip deep into Tide territory. That threat ended at the 16 after a 4-yard loss and three straight incompletions.
Manning completed all seven attempts in the first quarter, then struggled with no running support. The Rebels lost 2 yards on 14 second-quarter plays and didn't get a first down.