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Colorado State00606
Alabama71001431
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31


Colorado State (1-2) at (1) Alabama (2-0)



Saturday, September 21, 7 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: After clearing a huge hurdle in their quest for a third straight national championship, the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide play their first home game of the season, as they welcome the Colorado State Rams to Tuscaloosa for a non-conference clash at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Nick Saban's Crimson Tide went toe-to-toe with Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies last weekend in College Station and got some revenge for last year's only blemish on their record, topping A&M 49-42 in a classic shootout. With the team's top competition in the SEC West already out of the way, it could help clear the path for Alabama to claim its fourth national title in the last five years.

Saban was pleased with his team's ability to come from behind to earn the win in a hostile environment.

"There's obviously a lot of good things, the most important of which is to win a game in the SEC and our division against a really good team. Very pleased with the competitive character that we showed in the game on the road, getting down 14-0."

Jim McElwain is in his second season in Fort Collins as head coach of the Rams and hopes there is a hangover following Alabama's big game against Texas A&M, as Colorado State is taking a huge step up in competition, on the road no less. CSU dropped its first two games in 2013, with setbacks to Colorado (41-27) and Tulsa (30-27), but finally found its way into the win column with last weekend's 34-17 win over Cal Poly.

While McElwain is no stranger to the environment in Tuscaloosa, having served as offensive coordinator at Alabama from 2008 through 2011 and winning two national titles (2009, 2011), the Rams and Crimson Tide have never met on the football field prior to this matchup.

The Rams aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut and will have their hands full with Alabama's defense in this one. Colorado State comes into the contest averaging 29.3 ppg on 367.7 yards of total offense. Where the team has shown consistency is in the red zone, where CSU has scored on 11-of-12 opportunities.

Getting into the red zone against the Tide won't be easy for junior signal caller Garrett Grayson, who has completed 56.1 percent of his passes this season, for 606 yards and four touchdowns. Spreading the ball around as been the norm for the Rams in the first three games, as no receiver has stood out.

The ground game has provided some balance at 165.7 yards per game, as both senior Chris Nwoke (5.0 ypc, one TD) and sophomore Kapri Bibbs (5.7 ypc, three TDs) have had success.

While the offense has been proficient in the red zone, the CSU defense has not. The Rams have allowed opponents to score on 9-of-10 opportunities inside the 20-yard line. Overall, Colorado State has struggled to stop both the run (175.7 ypg) and the pass (258.7 ypg), not a good sign with the explosive Crimson Tide on deck.

Junior linebackers Aaron Davis (26 tackles) and Max Morgan (24 tackles) have been productive in the middle of the defense. Redshirt freshman safety Kevin Pierre-Louis has exceeded expectations in the early going of his career, tied with Morgan in stops (24) through three games. Senior end Shaquil Barrett (21 tackles) has been a force in the backfield, leading the Rams in both TFL (7) and sacks (2).

Manziel may have had a huge game against Alabama statistically, but in the end, it was A.J. McCarron's mistake-free football that led the Tide to victory. Alabama's savvy signal caller has seen and done it all in his career in Tuscaloosa, and is the school's all-time leader in TD passes (54), a number he reached with a career-high 334 yards and four TD strikes against the Aggies.

Despite a shaky offensive performance in the opener against Virginia Tech, Alabama is still averaging 42.0 ppg through two games.

The numbers should start to stabilize considering the talent on the offensive side of the ball. Sophomore tailback T.J. Yeldon is the school's next workhorse. He is responsible for 42 of the team's 75 carries thus far and is averaging 5.3 yards per touch and 112.0 yards per game on the ground.

McCarron's outlets down the field are plentiful as well, headlined by Amari Cooper (six catches, 72 yards) and DeAndrew White (six catches, 96 yards, one TD).

The numbers will always be skewed a little bit when having to play against last year's Heisman Trophy winner, but make no mistake about it, Alabama's defense is still a formidable unit.

The squad has lost a number of defensive All-Americans over the last couple of seasons, but a revolving door of talent has helped assuage the losses. This season, the leader is unquestionably All-American linebacker C.J. Mosley, who is a favorite to earn the Butkus Award in 2013. The 6-foot-2 senior has done little to doubt that in the first two games, posting an impressive 19 stops thus far. Landon Collins (12 tackles), Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (12 tackles) and Vinnie Sunseri (eight tackles, two interceptions) highlight the play in a formidable secondary. Sunseri has been clutch in both victories this season, becoming the first Alabama player to return interceptions for touchdowns in back-to-back games since Antonio Langham in 1992.

The euphoria surrounding Alabama's big win over Texas A&M will not dissipate this week. Instead it should only get stronger as the Crimson Tide open up their home slate in front of what is expected to be an appreciative fan base.

McElwain knows Alabama will be prepared.

"Getting ready to play this game, one of the things I know from being there is that there is no letdown. People could point out that they just had that huge win over a nationally-ranked team. One of the things that they do as well as anybody in the country does is that it doesn't matter who you're playing, it's about playing against yourself. It's about how you do every single day, in every single snap to get better. They will use some things from that; I'm sure the numbers there put up by A&M and by that quarterback, they'll use that motivation to come back this week and try to shut us out."

Colorado State not only lacks the personnel on either side of the ball to prevent a lopsided score, but the Rams could be playing with heavy hearts considering the devastating flooding that has taken place in their home state.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Alabama 47, Colorado State 7

09/18 10:37:54 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
Final
UTAH 24
USC 21
Final
WASH 10
ARST 24
Final
HAW 18
NEV 26
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
Final
CAL 1
WAS 3
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14