No. 2 Alabama didn't just get a test from No. 16 Mississippi State on Saturday night in Starkville, Mississippi, it got a 12-round, heavyweight fight. In the end, the Crimson Tide threw the biggest haymakers and prevailed in the final minute.

After being sacked five times on the game, quarterback Jalen Hurts stood tall in the face of another blitz, found wide receiver Calvin Ridley over the middle on third-and-15, and Ridley sprinted inside field goal range for a 31-yard gain to the Bulldog 26-yard line with 31 seconds left. Hurts then hit DeVonta Smith one play later for the touchdown to give Alabama a 31-24 victory and keep hopes of an undefeated season alive.

What did we learn in the Crimson Tide's win over Mississippi State?

1. Alabama needed this: OK, maybe not exactly like this. But Alabama needed a real, true test. It needed to be in a fist fight with a team that, even if it was a two-touchdown underdog, wasn't intimidated by the big, bad Crimson Tide. Mississippi State was that team. The Bulldogs scored first, led the majority of the game, went toe-to-toe with the vaunted Tide defense and won battle after battle until the final seconds. It was the first time all year that the Crimson Tide were in a game like this, and in the end, you saw the calmness of Hurts, the play calling of first-year coordinator Brian Daboll and the depth of the Crimson Tide running backs take over. 

Hurts didn't panic. Even after being sacked five times in the game, he stayed calm. Even after sitting on the sideline for the majority of the game as the Bulldogs held the ball, he was relaxed. Even when it became abundantly clear that the Tide's offensive line was struggling, Daboll out-smarted Bulldogs' defensive coordinator Todd Grantham with back-to-back slants that won the game.

These are questions that, until Saturday night, remained unanswered. Hurts completed 10 of his 19 passes for 242 yards and one touchdown for a team that, until that point, hadn't had to throw that much. Daboll, as a college offensive coordinator, hasn't been in position to call plays with games on the line.  Before Saturday night, it was assumed that Alabama was a complete team. Saturday night in Starkville -- for the first time all year -- it proved it.

2. While Alabama did survive, weaknesses were exposed: Alabama's offensive line was blowing Mississippi off the ball in running situations late in the game, especially on the final two drives. In passing situations, there were problems. The Crimson Tide gave up five sacks on the night, struggled in passing downs consistently and ultimately became such a weakness that Grantham became too greedy on the 31-yard gain by Ridley and got out-smarted by Daboll. This is now a pattern.

LSU's defense got pressure in the backfield consistently in the game between the Tigers and Tide last week, in what was its best performance of the year in conference play. This is an alarming trend, especially considering Alabama has Auburn -- which just shut down Nick Chubb and Sony Michel -- on the road in two weeks and then potentially a Georgia defense that is fast, physical and deep in the SEC Championship Game if the Tide can top the Tigers in the Iron Bowl. After that, potentially even more stout front sevens in the College Football Playoff.

It's a weakness right now, plain and simple. It can be addressed during the tuneup game vs. Mercer and during bowl practices. What those bowl practices are in preparation for, though, remains to be seen.

3. Nick Fitzgerald is a big-game player: The big, bad, Bama defense didn't intimidate Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Nope, not even a little bit. In a game in which he even vomited on the sideline, all Fitzgerald did throw for 158 yards, rush for 66 and score a touchdown. But what was more impressive was the calmness in which he carried himself in the face of a team that typically makes quarterbacks melt like ice on asphalt. 

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior from Richmond Hill, Georgia, isn't as shifty as his predecessor Dak Prescott in the running game, but has a bit more power and has evolved as a solid passer in an offense that has progressed nicely in his second season as the starting quarterback. If he sticks around, and if coach Dan Mullen does as well, this offense can be scary in 2018 and contend for the SEC West title. 

4. Alabama's defensive depth issues are real: One of the biggest stories from the week that was included the sudden depth issues due to injuries to linebackers Shaun Dion Hamilton and Mack Wilson against LSU. That's in addition to a season-ending injury suffered by Christian Miller earlier this year, the hamstring issue that plagued defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick this week and others that have piled up. At some point, it doesn't matter how many five-star players you have. You're counting on players who weren't supposed to be there.

The Bulldogs tore up Alabama's defense early and, more alarmingly, converted third down after third down. They were 8 for 15 on the night and dominated time of possession 38:56-21:04, a figure that got tighter over the final frame as Alabama found a little bit of an offensive groove.

Mississippi State laid the blueprint. Let's see if others can read it.