It didn't seem to matter that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wideout DeVonta Smith had record-setting performances. Nor did it matter that Alabama improved to 5-0 and set itself up for a return to No. 1 in the rankings. The mood after the Crimson Tide beat Ole Miss two weeks ago was decidedly not triumphant. It was kind of bleak, actually.
Yes, Tagovailoa, Smith and the offense did their thing, hanging 59 points on the unranked Rebs, but Alabama's defense had its worst performance of the season, allowing an uncharacteristic 31 points and 476 total yards. It failed to get off the field on third down, failed to keep containment and allowed a second-string quarterback, John Rhys Plumlee, to rush for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Afterward, veterans Anfernee Jennings, Raekwon Davis and Xavier McKinney let their feelings be known about the defense's sloppy play. With each scowl and huff and nod to misplaced focus and poor tackling, their disappointment showed. McKinney said "it's frustrating," and Davis said it was a "terrible game" that he took personally.
It was not the so-called "Bama Way" that coach Nick Saban preached about all offseason.