Shorthanded Tide Gets By Rams, 31-6

Program sales should have been good at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night. There were numerous changes in the Alabama lineup, including no fewer than three offensive starters and two defensive first teamers from previous games being held out at the start of the Colorado State contest.

Alabama, fortunately, has pretty good back-ups, as Colorado State Coach Jim McElwain would no doubt have warned his Rams. McElwain was offensive coordinator at Bama until taking the job at Colorado State prior to the 2012 season.

Although Bama didn't look like the nation's number one team for much of the night, the Crimson Tide did what a number one team has to do. Alabama defeated Colorado State, 31-6.

Starters who did not play at all because of injuries were offensive guard Anthony Steen, wide receivers Amari Cooper and Kevin Norwood, cornerback Deion Belue, and nickel back Jarrick Williams.

Tailback T.J. Yeldon, as had been reported prior to the game, did not play in the first quarter because of a minor suspension for his personal foul penalty following a touchdown against Texas A&M the week before.

Alabama continues play in Bryant-Denny Stadium next week and begins Southeastern Conference competition, hosting Ole Miss. Kickoff Saturday will be at 5:30 p.m. CDT with national television coverage by ESPN. Mississippi had an open date this weekend. The Rebels are 3-0, including a 1-0 SEC mark.

It was not a pretty sight statistically for Alabama.

Alabama Statistics Vs. Colorado State:

Bama had 16 first downs, Colorado State 13. Bama rshed 21 times for only 66 yards, the Rams 26 times for only 51 yards. The Tide completed 21 of 27 passes for 272 yards with two touchdowns and one interception; Colorado State's Garret Grayson completed 24 of 38 passes for 228 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Total offense for Alabama was 48 plays for 338 yards, for Colorado State 64 plays for 279 yards. Colorado State lost a fumble. The Rams were good on 4-15 third down conversions, Bama 2-10.

Yeldon led Alabama in rushing with seven carries for 49 yards. McCarron completed 20-26 passes for 258 yards with one touchdown and one inerception. Christion Jones had nine receptions for 90 yards to lead the Tide rec eiving corps. DeAndrew White had two catches for 65 yards and O.J. Howard three for 38. For Colorado State, Rashar Higgins had seven receptions for 71 yards and Joe Hansley six catches for 82 yards.

C.J. Mosley led Alabama defensively with nine tackles. John Fulton and DePriest had six each.

After a couple of sputters, one resulting in a missed field goal try (the Tide's first field goal kick this year) and in a punt, the Tide finally got the scoring started with a nifty eight-play, 84-yard drive that had A.J. McCarron completing six-of-six passes for 73 yards. McCarron's completions included a 39-yarder to DeAndrew White and a 28-yarder to Christion Jones.

On fourth and two at the Colorado State 3, Kenyan Drake – who replaced starter Jalston Fowler at tailback – took it in over the middle. Cade Soter, who had missed the 46-yard first quarter field goal try, kicked it to 7-0 with 4:34 left in the first quarter.

There was no sputtering for the second touchdown, except by Colorado State. The Rams had a pass completion called back for an ineligible receiver on the field and ended up in long yardage, fourth and 12 and their own 34. Colorao State punter Hayden Hunt never had a chance as Drake came up the middle and blocked it, and Dillon Lee picked it up at the 15 and ran it in. Bama's lead with 12:41 to play in the second quarter was 14-0.

Later in the second quarter Bama had a drive stall at the Colorado State 29, and Foster – who had been Bama's long field goal kicker last year – was called on for his second 46-yard attempt. This one made it through and the Tide had a 17-0 halftime lead.

Yeldon had a 38-yard run on his first touch of the game to set up the field goal try.

It was all Colorado State in the third quarter, although "all" was just a pair of field goals. Bama's offense was out of sync, including McCarron throwing an interception, and the Rams moved into Bama territory for the first and second times in the game, both resulting in field goals by Jared Roberts.

After Bernard Blake intercepted for the Rams at the 18, the Colorado State took it across midfield for the first time in the game with about nine minutes to play. And the Rams didn't stop there, moving down to the Tide 27 where Roberts connected on a 45-yard try to cut the Tide lead to 17-3.

After Alabama had a three-and-out, Colorado State came back with another field goal drive. Having tasted Bama territory, it took the Rams only four plays to cross the 50 for the second time in the game. Colorado State got down to the 14, but settled for a 31-yard field goal on fourth and seven. It was Alabama 17, Colorado State 6.

Alabama had another three-and-out, but then had a nice defensive play that switched momentum. Linebacker Trey DePriest stripped the ball from Colorado State quarterback Grayson and DePriest recovered the ball for Bama at the Rams 30.

On the first play after that, McCarron found DeAndrew White in the end zone for the touchdown and a 24-6 lead. It was an eight-second possession.

Bama's final possession was its longest, over five minutes to take the game down to the one-minute area. Although McCarron and company started the eight-play, 65-yard drive, it was finished by back-up quarterback Blake Sims, who completed a pass to Chris Black that went for 14 yards and a touchdown. Adam Griffith kicked the first extra point of his career to close out the scoring at 31-6.

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