TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama remains in search of a game where everything comes together.
The Crimson Tide is still unbeaten and ranked No. 1 but not feeling especially good about the team's performance so far. Even soft-spoken linebacker C.J. Mosley was upset enough to speak up after an unimpressive showing against huge underdog Colorado State, knowing that beating No. 21 Mississippi Saturday night will likely require much better.
"We haven't put a whole game together as far as offense, special teams and defense," linebacker Trey DePriest said. "We haven't put the whole thing together. One side will be clicking one game, the other side won't be clicking. I say we're hungry because every game we've had each other's back and we held up."
The Tide (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) hasn't lost much national respect in the process, just a few No. 1 votes.
Coach Nick Saban said fans don't need to be sitting around grumbling, "Aw, what's wrong with these guys?"
"Everybody has just sort of gotten overwhelmed with expectations," Saban said. "It's been my word from the beginning of time that this is a different team. This is a new team. They've got to create their own identity by what they do and how they play."
Hugh Freeze's Rebels (3-0, 1-0) are aiming to earn a larger chunk of national esteem by nabbing their first win over a top-ranked team in 10 tries.
Thanks to a scheduling quirk, they're making a return trip to Tuscaloosa after last season's 33-14 loss. Freeze found enough positives from that game to show players clips leading up to the rematch.
"Even though the scoreboard showed they beat us fairly good, I think our kids took some great confidence out of that game," he said. "It kind of helped us play better the rest of the year because we played a physical game, we didn't seem like we were overmatched in the physical part of the game. We gave up some big plays and we turned the ball over, and you're not going to beat them if you do that."
For Alabama, winning games just isn't enough these days. Mosley said he, quarterback AJ McCarron and safety Vinnie Sunseri gave the team a talking-to after a 31-6 win over Colorado State that was close going into the fourth quarter.
"I started off because I was pretty upset, especially with the defense, because the things we gave up were off mental errors, just little things," Mosley said. "I felt like we're about to play Ole Miss next week, about to start getting into SEC play, so all those little things will get us beat bad and get us embarrassed. So we've got to make sure everybody is doing their job."