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Alabama 42, Missouri 13: Tide pull away to take 2014 SEC title

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It went without saying that Missouri needed a good start if the Tigers wanted a chance to win the 2014 SEC Championship game against Alabama. Instead, Missouri's offense went three-and-out three times in four possessions, the Tigers got destroyed in the early field position battle, and when Blake Sims found DeAndrew White on a play-action touchdown bomb, Shane Ray got penalized for targeting and ejected from the game. It was 14-0 at that point, and it was 21-3 at halftime.

To Missouri's credit, the Tigers bounced back. They scored 10 third-quarter points to make it 21-13 heading into the fourth quarter, but they were out of tricks. The offense stalled, the defense wore out, and Alabama pulled away for a 42-13 win. Jimmie Hunt (six catches, 169 yards) had a career game, and for the second straight year, Mizzou was within one possession heading into the fourth quarter, but the Tigers just didn't have enough weapons to keep up for 60 minutes.

Basically, Missouri needed to win the field position battle and didn't, needed a huge game from Shane Ray and Markus Golden and didn't get it, needed consistent three- to five-yard gains from the running game and didn't get them, and needed the breaks of the bouncing balls and didn't get them. That's how you lose by 29 points to the No. 1 team in the country.

Missouri is a tough-as-hell team, one that will get a chance to finish 11-3 in what will likely be a pretty good bowl game. But Alabama has been the best team in the country to date and played like it today. Missouri fought, scrapped, and came up short.

More thoughts tomorrow. For now, be nice to each other. The better team won, but your team is full of fighters.