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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

Other Stories

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big Ten: Wisconsin at Minnesota

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

    Tonight at 9:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
Final
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
Final
LOS 4
CWS 6
 
Final
CLE 4
CIN 2
 
Final
TEX 2
KAN 13
 
Final
SFG 2
OAK 9
 
Final
SEA 4
SDP 3
 
Final
MIL 8
WMIL 0
 
Final
COL 3
ARI 6
 
Final
MIN 3
UMIN 1
 
1:05pm Today
DET
ATL
 
1:05pm Today
TAM
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
PIT
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
HOU
PHI
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
STL
 
3:05pm Today
SFG
CHC
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
CWS
LOS
 
3:05pm Today
ANA
MIL
 
3:05pm Today
CHC
OAK
 
3:05pm Today
SEA
SDP
 
3:05pm Today
KAN
TEX
 
3:10pm Today
ARI
COL
 
5:05pm Tonight
WAS
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
TOR
 
Final
IND 105
NYK 82
Final
ORL 100
PHO 105
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
Final
TOR 112
CLE 120
Final
BOS 85
UTA 84
Final
MIN 85
DEN 100
Final
NOP 88
DET 85
 
Final
MIA 100
LAL 94
Final
HOU 100
MEM 102
Final
OKC 123
PHI 118
Final
SAN 112
SAC 85
Final
GSW 102
MIL 93
Final
LAC 93
POR 98
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
OKC
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
DAL
 
Final
UNCA 80
LIB 70
 
Final
PSU 67
OSU 77
Final
USB 62
BING 57
 
Final
FORD 66
DUQ 81
Final
GMAS 51
GWU 67
Final
UNH 67
HART 63
 
Final
STJOE 55
LAS 50
Final
Terriers 79
LIU 70
 
Final
GTDNS 83
MAINE 66
 
Final
LOU 59
ND 71
Final
SHU 66
PROV 79
Final
BRY 91
SHU 85
 
Final
MORE 79
SEMIZ 74
Final
MNTER 58
RFLSH 73
 
Final
LSU 63
TENN 78
Final
SFLA 74
UCF 45
Final
VERM 66
UMBC 39
 
Final
RMU 91
WAGN 68
 
Final
UMASS 53
RICH 56
Final
TULA 63
HOU 68
Final
YALE 71
HOW 62
 
Final
PITT 63
MIAMI 67
Final
TXPA 48
NMST 69
 
Final
MSU 72
PURD 66
Final
STLU 48
BONA 64
Final
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
Final
TULSA 47
CIN 56
Final
VANDY 66
MSST 56
Final
OKST 82
TCU 70
Final
UCLA 85
USC 74
Final
WYO 76
UTST 53
Final
MARQ 51
STJ 67
Final
EILL 78
SIUE 66
Final
FRES 68
AFA 66
Final
NEV 62
COLST 78
Final
ILL 69
NEB 57
Final
SJST 51
BSU 68
Final
ORST 62
OREG 65
Final
UNLV 58
SDST 60
Final
HAW 90
UCSB 98
 
5:00pm Tonight
SIENA
NIAG
 
7:00pm Tonight
LEH
AMER
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
ARK
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAF
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
PETE
FAIR
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENNM
MORE
 
7:00pm Tonight
COL
NAVY
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
 
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
UAB
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
USCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHAR
WKENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
MINN
WISC
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIZST
SILL
 
7:30pm Tonight
COPST
DELST
 
7:30pm Tonight
FIU
MTST
 
7:30pm Tonight
MDES
MRGST
 
7:30pm Tonight
HAMP
NORST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
SCST
 
7:30pm Tonight
APP
TXST
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
TXARL
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
UGST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ODU
MARS
 
8:00pm Tonight
TXSA
RICE
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
SAV
 
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SMISS
 
8:15pm Tonight
LALAF
ARKLR
 
8:30pm Tonight
JST
ALAAM
 
8:30pm Tonight
GRAM
ALAST
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
MVSU
ARKPB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NICST
CARK
 
8:30pm Tonight
TAMCC
HOUB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NARZ
PORST
 
8:30pm Tonight
LAM
SHSU
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARKST
SALA
 
8:30pm Tonight
PVU
SOUTH
 
8:45pm Tonight
NO
SELA
 
9:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
ABCHRIST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
COL
 
9:00pm Tonight
BEL
EILL
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
IDAHO
 
9:00pm Tonight
QUIN
MAR
 
9:00pm Tonight
UCONN
MEM
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
UNT
 
9:00pm Tonight
STEPH
NWST
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
SACST
 
9:00pm Tonight
DAVID
VCU
 
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
EWASH
 
9:35pm Tonight
DRAK
BRAD
 
10:00pm Tonight
LBSU
CSNO
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
CSFU
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UCR
 
11:00pm Tonight
ARST
STAN
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASU
UTAH
 
Final
WIN 1
OTT 3
Final
DET 2
NYR 1
Final
ANA 3
MON 1
Final
COL 3
PIT 1
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
CAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
STL
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
DAL
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
NYI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
VAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
MON