Alabama's Johns was Missed in Backfield Against Miss. St.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Jimmy Johns' absence from Alabama's backfield was never more prominent than the final series of the first half against Mississippi State.

The Tide twice ran 188-pounder Terry Grant up the middle after setting up first-and-goal from the 3. He was stopped short both times. That set up John Parker Wilson's fateful pass that was intercepted and returned 100 yards for a score.

The 233-pound Johns was Alabama's Number 2 rusher in each of the past two seasons. But he has only 13 carries this season and has played almost exclusively on special teams.

Coach Nick Saban said Johns has been backing up at fullback and tailback. He said Johns has improved lately but he'd like to see more consistency.

Roy Upchurch would have been the Tide's back of choice in that situation but he injured his shoulder early in the game.

With Glen Coffee still suspended during the university's textbook-related
investigation, that left only Grant and the even smaller Jonathan
Lowe to choose from on the goal line.

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