Alabama Defeats Colorado State 31-6
On an overcast night in Tuscaloosa the Crimson Tide kicked off their first home game of a three game stretch against Colorado State. It was the latest home opener for Alabama in 25 years. Bryant Denny Stadium was not completely full but it was sold out with 101821 in attendance. By the end of the first quarter the rain clouds seemed to clear and illuminating the sky with beautiful crimson, blue, salmon and purple colors and cooler temps.
With TJ Yeldon sidelined for the first quarter for his “UnSportsman Like Conduct” against Texas A&M, Josten Fowler gets the nod as the starting Running Back. With the way Alabama alternates their backs it’s no surprise that Fowler gets the start as he is typically the first to come in and relieve Yeldon. Fowler and Kenyan Drake have been sharing the load, but nearly every running back for Alabama has seen playing time so far this season in the backfield.
Alabama won the toss and elected to receive defending the South end-zone. On the Tide’s opening drive AJ McCarron mixes it up with passes and runs but the Colorado State defense was prepared for the run stopping the Bama ‘O’ most of the night. After driving down to the Ram 29 with a few catches from Kenny Bell and OJ Howard the drive stalls bringing on Cade Foster. His first field goal attempt of the season didn’t have the result that he wanted as the Sr misses the 46 yarder wide left turning the ball over.
Colorado comes out throwing with a gain of 9 on their first play and moves the chains with a 2 yard run after that. The Rams did capitalize on a few plays in the first quarter with the Alabama DB’s being out of position but still didn’t manage a score. Starting in the secondary for Alabama was Geno Smith, Bradley Sylve and Eddie Jackson as Deion Belue is out with an injury. Saban is looking to see who can be the difference makers playing several different players throughout the game. Saban after the game, “We played about five guys at cornerback and just kind of rotated them in there with the idea of we’re going to see if somebody can play the position with any kind of consistency, do their assignment, and do their job”.
Alabama utilized the tight ends throughout the game with passes to OJ Howard and Brian Vogler and four going to the ends in the first two drives. The freshman Howard made several big catches for first downs while both did a great job blocking most of the night. This is an area that should prove to be big this season for the Crimson Tide. On several occasions throughout the game both were in blocking on play action and running pays
On the first couple of drives Fowler comes in and only gains a few yards on his first few carries followed by Drake who also only has few yards as well. Combined for the first qtr the Alabama duo only nets 6 yards rushing. However, three of Drakes’ yards came on a fourth down to for the Tide’s first score of the night. The first scoring drive of the game: 8 plays 84 yards, 4:34 (min:sec).
First Quarter Stats
McCarron is 8 of 10 for 125 yards and 136 total yards for the offense and 6 first downs while Grayson for Colorado State is 3-5 for 31 yards and 45 yards total offense and 6 first downs.
To start the second quarter Colorado State makes a couple of big plays but with pressure from Vinnie Sunseri and company, Colorado St QB Grayson throws out of bounds to force the punt. On the ensuring punt Kenyan Drake breaks through to block the punt and Dillion Lee scoops it up and runs it in for the score from the 15 yard line. This makes the fifth non-offensive score for Alabama this season.
TJ Yeldon takes the field on Alabama first series of the second quarter with 8:19 remaining in the half. After a Holding penalty on Cyrus Kouandjio negates an 11 yard play to White, Yeldon proves why he is the featured back of this offense rattling off 38 yards down to the Ram 30. But that’s where the drive stalls and Cade Foster comes on the attempt his second 46-yard attempt of the game. After missing the first attempt wide left in the first quarter on the initial Crimson Tide drive, the Senior drills the second one to make the score 17-0 with 5:39 remaining in the half.
Both teams trade series in the second quarter with none ending in points or really any flare to speak of. There were a few key plays where Landon Collins had some big hits and Adrian Hubbard had a solid game with 5 tackles.
Second Quarter Stats
McCarron is 11-15 for 144 yards and Total offense 194 with 8 first downs while Grayson for the Rams is 11-16 for 76 yards and 100 Total offense and 5 first downs.
- The offensive line seems to be holding up well without Steen in but there has been more pressure on the Tide QB who has hit the ground a few times including a sack in the second quarter for an eight yard loss.
- Tight ends playing a huge role in the Tide offense and making the plays when needed and
- Game time Injury report: Cooper out with a reported toe injury, Steen out with concussion, Nick Perry out with shoulder injury, Jarrick Williams out with eye injury, Norwood and Belue both were expected to be out.
- Running game still not a big a big factor in the Alabama offense
- Defensive Secondary made some improvements but players still out of position and need to work. Example: Nick Saban was out on the field “coaching” Cyrus Jones between plays trying to teach him to be better position.
Alabama kicks off to Colorado State after the half but the Rams have to punt after a 3-and-out. The Tide offense takes over from their own 29 and has three consecutive passing plays to Christion Jones making pressured and throws an interception. Kenny Bell did what he could to knock the ball out of the hands of the defender but the initially called ‘incomplete’ was overturned and Colorado State took possession at their own 18.
Colorado State takes advantage of the mistake by McCarron by driving 55 yards on a couple of big plays (9 all together) and caps off the drive with a 45 yard field goal to make the score 17-3 Alabama with 7:40 remaining in the 3QT.
After going 3-and-out Colorado State eats up over 5 minutes of time on a long 12 play drive. But the Landon Collins for the Alabama defense makes a stop to bring up 4th down by chasing the Ram quarterback (Grayson) out of bounds. With only 5 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter the Rams place kicker makes a 31 yarder to make it a 17-6 Alabama lead.
Third Quarter Stats
McCarron goes 16-21 for 196 yards and 248 yards total offense while Grayson 20-28 for 178 yards total offense and both teams tied with 11 first downs.
With 12:41 remaining in the game Alabama has yet to convert a third down going 0-7 at this point and only 2 and 10 for the game. To that point Alabama rushed for 66 yards on 21 carries in the game, the fewest rushing yards by the Tide since Alabama rushed for 36 yards on 29 carries at South Carolina on Oct. 9, 2010. In his post game press conference Saban stated “Offensively, we couldn’t run the ball with any consistency or effectiveness. Even though we did a pretty good job passing, it had to be four or five times that we moved the ball down the field and got just outside the red zone”.
After punting the ball back to the Rams after going 3-and-out in their second consecutive series, Grayson scrambles and loses the ball and the Alabama takes over at the Ram 30. McCarron makes quick work of the turnover with a 30 yard pass to DeAndrew White for the Touchdown to make the Rams pay for putting the ball on the ground to go up 24-6.
Both teams trade punts but when Alabama takes the ball with 6:33 remaining the Tide eats time off the clock with a long 8 play drive capped off with a Touchdown. Altee Tenpenny sees his first action of the game in the backfield with a couple of runs as does Derrick Heny with a carry for 4 yards. With just over 2 min remaining in the game the second team offense comes into the game putting Sims at QB and replacing most of the line.
With 1:13 remaining in the game Blake Sims connects with Redshirt freshman wide receiver Chris Black for a 14-yard touchdown pass, this is Blacks first reception of his Alabama career and his first collegiate touchdown catch.
Alabama ends the game with a defensive sack and gets the win 31-6
Final Game Stats:
McCarron 20-26 for 258 yards with one INT and one TD. Blake Sims goes 1-1 and 14 yards with one TD. Total offense for Alabama is 338 and 16 first downs while Colorado State to had 228 Total yards with Grayson going 24-38
- Landon Collins had a great game on special teams and in the secondary. He seemed to be all over the place.
- Kenyan Drake and Christion Jones had a very solid game for the Tide and contributed the offense’s success throughout the game.
- Defensive line played much better with Brandon Ivory, A’Shawn Robinson and Adrian Hubbard (when he played down) all playing well. This should include the linebackers as well with CJ Mosely leading the way with 9 tackles.
- Corners are still a huge question mark for the secondary. Even with Sr. Belue on one corner, if he is well next week, there is still much to be decided. Fulton gave up a 21 yard play after falling down mid-way through the second half. Saban stated: “I’m not satisfied with where we are as a team. We need to continue to focus on improvement and do a lot better job as a football team if we’re going to be kind of team we are capable of being. ”
- Other than the bad decision, McCarron’s passes were on the money. He made several pin point throws and was able to hit receivers and tight ends in stride.
The Crimson Tide is down a couple of safeties tonight with Perry and Williams out with injuries, they must be trying to red-shirt Jai Miller.
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