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45


Georgia State (0-4) at (1) Alabama (4-0)



Saturday, October 5, 12:21 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: It's Homecoming in Tuscaloosa this weekend, as the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide play host to the Georgia State Panthers.

The two-time defending champion has opened the 2013 season with four straights wins, including victories over sixth-ranked Texas A&M (49-42) and most recently, 21st-ranked Ole Miss (25-0) in SEC West action. Nick Saban's team has won three of the last four national titles overall and has positioned itself to play for another one, heading into the second half of the season.

The Panthers are in their inaugural season of FBS play and are obviously taking a huge step up in competition this week. Trent Miles' squad has dropped four straight games to begin his tenure with the squad, three of which have come against FCS foes Samford (31-21), Chattanooga (42-14) and most recently, Jacksonville State (32-26 OT). The lone FBS foe on the docket resulted in a 41-7 drubbing at West Virginia. Georgia State was idle last week.

The overtime loss to Jacksonville State last time out wasn't easy to take according to Miles.

"That last game was a tough game. We felt we had a chance to win the game, but we didn't get it done. When you lose a game and then have to wait a long time to play, it's hard, but we had a great open week."

Miles knows what he's up against this weekend in Tuscaloosa.

"They are impressive in everything they do. They're so big, physical, fast and well-coached," Miles said of the Crimson Tide. "But we're excited to go play and compete against the best."

This marks the second meeting between these two programs. The first matchup took place in 2010, a 63-7 rout by Alabama.

The Panthers aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut in their first season at the FBS level. The team is averaging 346.5 yards per game, with the most success coming via the pass (249.5 ypg). However, sustaining drives hasn't been a strength, with GSU converting just 36 percent of the time on third down.

Sophomore quarterback Ronnie Bell has struggled with consistency, completing just 46.0 percent of his passes, for 774 yards (193.5 ypg), with five touchdowns and three interceptions. Bell is looking the way of Albert Wilson more often than not and for good reason. The 5-foot-9 senior wide receiver is averaging over 114 yards receiving per game, leading the team in receptions (22), receiving yards (457) and TD catches (4).

The ground game averages a modest 97.0 yards per game, led by senior tailback Travis Evans' 188 yards (4.5 ypc).

The Panthers have really had problems defensively this season, getting gashed by both the run (218.2 ypg) and the pass (249.8 ypg). Opponents have scored on 82 percent of their red zone trips (14-of-17) and 65 percent of the time it results in a touchdown (11-of-17). Big plays have been few and far between, with Georgia State recording just five sacks and four takeaways thus far.

Sophomore linebacker Tarris Batiste leads the team in total tackles (24) and TFL (4.5). Senior safety Rashad Stewart is a close second in stops (23). Senior cornerback Brent McClendon (20 tackles) is responsible for half of the team's takeaways, with one interception and one fumble recovery.

It wasn't a typical offensive performance by Alabama, but the team did ride a strong rushing effort from T.J. Yeldon to a big victory over Ole Miss last week. Yeldon rushed for 121 yards, including a 68-yard TD-scamper.

All-American quarterback AJ McCarron didn't have a particularly strong game against the Rebels, but has still be solid overall this season, completing 68.2 percent of his throws, for 882 yards and six touchdowns. There are several threats in the vertical game, including Christion Jones (17 catches, 210 yards, one TD) and DeAndrew White (11 catches, 167 yards, two TDs). They have stepped up in the absence of sophomore star Amari Cooper, who has struggled to get on the field.

Still, like in year's past, Alabama dominates up front and can grind games out with a steady rushing attack. In 2013, it is Yeldon that leads the charge, averaging 6.0 ypc and pacing the team with 394 yards and three TDs.

What was normal last week against Ole Miss was the defensive effort for Alabama, which held the usually potent Rebels (490 ypg) to a meager 205 total yards.

On the season, opponents are averaging a mere 14.5 ppg against UA, including just 103.5 yards rushing. All-American linebacker C.J. Mosley is the heart- and-soul of the unit. The 6-2, 232-pound senior leads the Crimson Tide in total tackles by a large margin with 35 stops. All-American candidate Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (6-1, 208-pound safety) is second on the team in tackles (24) from the safety position. However, Clinton-Dix was suspended indefinitely this week for a violation of team rules. Junior safety Vinnie Sunseri (15 tackles, two interceptions) is another playmaker in the Alabama secondary and will need to elevate his game even more with Clinton-Dix not on the field.

Despite the obvious mismatch in this game, Saban knows his team needs to stay focused.

"There is nothing to be taken for granted in any team that you play. I think the best way to do that is focus on who you are, what you're doing, how you want to improve and how you want to play to be the best player that you can be. That is certainly going to be our focus for this week."

The reality is that this contest should afford Saban the ability to empty his bench and get a lot of backups much needed playing time.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Alabama 63, Georgia State 3

10/03 08:02:18 ET

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Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
MIA 94
CHA 93
Final
MIA 94
CHA 93
Final
MEM 107
LAC 91
Final
BOS 88
POR 94
Final
OKC 86
GSW 91
Half
LAL 39
DEN 41
 
Final
GMAS 60
COC 61
Final
FSU 69
UMASS 75
Final
SHSU 53
WOFF 64
Final
UNCG 67
YOUNG 76
Final
CMICH 75
ARKPB 43
 
Final
ILLCH 60
SILL 67
Final
MORE 46
AMER 51
Final
CORN 59
DREX 61
Final
CCST 60
COOK 65
Final
ARKLR 94
CSNO 88
Final
LEH 44
CLMB 54
 
Final
USB 89
MERMAR 54
 
Final
NMU 51
TEXAM 64
Final
STLU 56
TAMCC 62
 
Final
FAIR 80
SD 72
Final
EMICH 79
LONG 48
Final
ND 74
PROV 75
Final
RAD 88
CATAWBA 52
 
Final
DEN 80
COPST 54
 
Final
UAB 58
JST 50
 
Final
WICHS 105
NWM 57
Final
OKLA 90
NWST 68
Final
KSU 59
YALE 66
Final
CREI 65
NCCU 45
 
Final
NCSU 68
SFLA 65
Final
UCR 102
STKAT 49
 
Final
PSU 63
USC 61
Final
HC 101
NICHOLSCOL 70
 
Final
BC 53
DAY 65
Final
MON 75
TOWS 79
Final
HOF 93
WAGN 71
 
Final
CIN 54
EILL 49
Final
UGA 74
FATL 61
Final
BRAD 58
NCAT 50
 
Final
LATU 76
PBY 48
Final
RUTG 76
Terriers 73
 
Final
SAMF 64
UMKC 55
Final
NAVY 70
BING 68
Final
SHU 85
GWEBB 67
Final
UNT 58
IONA 78
Final
KENT 86
MNTST 28
Final
FORD 57
MLOWELL 64
 
Final
UCF 76
USCU 69
 
Final
SCAR 63
AKR 68
Final
WVU 78
UCONN 68
Final
CALST 70
DEL 52
 
Final
HOW 78
HOOD 51
 
Final
OSU 106
SHU 48
Final
VANDY 78
TENST 46
Final
NE 65
MAN 51
 
Final
COLST 75
MERC 62
Final
MISS 80
NARZ 74
Final
WASH 76
PAC 69
 
Final
LMU 82
SDCHR 60
 
2nd
CHAR 48
MIAMI 65
 
2nd
GAELS 61
UCI 60
 
2nd
ILLST 51
ODU 34
 
1st
UCLA 34
LBSU 24
 
10:45pm Tonight
SEAT
MONT
 
Final
WIN 2
STL 4
Final
NYR 5
MON 0
Final
ANA 2
ARI 1
 
2nd
VAN 1
CHI 0
 
Final
HOU 13
CIN 22
Final
ATL 24
CLE 26
Final
NEP 34
DET 9
Final
MIN 21
GBP 24
Final
IND 23
JAC 3
Final
CHI 21
TAM 13
Final
PHI 43
TEN 24
Final
SEA 19
ARI 3
Final
SDC 27
STL 24
Final
DEN 39
MIA 36
Final
SFX 17
WAS 13
3rd
NYG 21
DAL 17