'Bama Trying to Finish Better

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Nick Saban says Alabama's tendency to let big leads slip away reflects a lack of "mental intensity."

The Tide (4-2) nearly blew leads of 23-0 and 30-10 against Houston, saved only by Simeon Castille's last-play interception in the end zone to preserve a 30-24 win. Arkansas erased a 31-10 lead against Alabama earlier this season.

Saban is hoping the lesson sinks in a little better after the latest example, though the Tide wound up winning both those games.

He said it's not just about playing hard. But that lack of mental intensity showed up in "a ton" of missed tackles in the second half against Houston, including five missed chances to sack quarterback Case Keenum.

The Tide also allowed a late 70-yard touchdown pass against Florida State and gave up a 25-yard TD pass on the first overtime play of a loss to Georgia. But the blown double-digit leads in particular gnaw at linebacker Darren Mustin.

He said losing a double-digit lead gives opposing offenses confidence that they can come back against the Tide, which visits Mississippi on Saturday. It's one reason why three of the last four games have come down to the final play, even after building big leads.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)