By STEVE SWOGETINSKY

Kemper County Messenger



HATTIESBURG – Mississippi broke open a tie game with three touchdowns in the third quarter as it pulled away from Alabama for a 42-7 victory in the 31st annual Mississippi-Alabama All-Star football game on Saturday.

This was the second time in the series Mississippi has hosted the game, both times at the University of Southern Mississippi. Mississippi hosted it in 2015 and won 28-21 to break a seven-game  Alabama win streak. Alabama leads the series 23-8.

Mississippi had co-Most Valuable Players for the game. Running back Kenny Gainwell of Yazoo County finished with three touchdowns while rushing nine times for 61 yards. He caught one pass for 16 yards, giving him 77 total yards. Pearl linebacker Tyler Knight was the other MVP.

“Our kids were told all week long that Alabama was favored to win, and I think they played with a chip on their shoulder,” said Johnny Mims, executive director of the Mississippi Association of Coaches, which hosted the game. “They practiced hard all week and seem to come together as one. I think our coaches did a good job of putting the right people in the right places.”

Alabama put up its only points on its first possession when Kavosiey Smoke of Westumpka scored on a one-yard run up the middle. Evan McPherson of Fort Payne kicked the extra point and Alabama led 7-0 with 7:03 left in the first quarter. An Alabama fumble set up Mississippi’s first score later in the first quarter. Jason Brownlee of West Point recovered for Mississippi on the Alabama 24-yard line.

On first down, Gainwell scored his first touchdown of the game on a 24-yard run. Scott Goodman of Brandon kicked the extra point and the game was tied at 7-7 with 3:48 left in the first quarter.

That’s how it stood until the third quarter.

The second half saw Mississippi score on a 3-yard run by quarterback Patrick Shegog of South Panola; a 2-yard run by Marcus Murphy of West Point; runs of 12 and 3 yards by Gainwell; and a 25-yard run by Murphy.

Mississippi finished with 187 rushing yards on 38 rushes, and 138 passing yards on 11-of-14 passes, giving the winners 325 total yards on offense. Mississippi had 15 first downs to Alabama’s 12. Alabama had 131 yards rushing on 33 carried and completed 10-of-27 passes for 87 yards, for 218 total yards.

Murphy was Mississippi’s leading rusher with 131 yards on 13 carries. Mississippi will host the game again in 2019.C