Alabama Defeats Colorado State, 31-6
Ala. - Top-ranked Alabama (3-0 overall; 1-0 in the Southeastern
Conference) grinded out a methodical 31-6 victory over Colorado State
(1-3) on Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 101,821 at
Tide quarterback AJ McCarron completed 20
of 26 passes for 258 yards and one touchdown with one interception,
connecting 9 times for 90 yards with wide receiver Christion Jones and
twice for 65 yards to receiver DeAndrew White for 65 yards, including a
crucial 30-yard touchdown. Alabama also scored on a blocked punt return
in the first half. Linebacker C.J. Mosley led the Alabama defense with
9 tackles. Running back Kenyan Drake scored one rushing touchdown and
blocked a punt on special teams that led directly to another TD.
teams exchanged punts in the early going. Alabama's opening possession
showed promise as the Crimson Tide marched 46 yards in 7 plays to the
CSU 25 before Cade Foster missed a 46-yard field goal attempt.
in the quarter, the Alabama offense cranked up an 8-play, 84-yard
touchdown march. The drive started with McCarron passing to tight end
Brian Vogler for five yards on first down before connecting with wide
receiver DeAndrew White for a 35-yard bomb down the right sideline to
the CSU 39. On the next play, McCarron passed to receiver Christion
Jones on another deep ball for 28 yards to the CSU 11. Jalston Fowler
rushed for 3 yards on first down before being stopped for no gain on
second down. On third-and-7 from the CSU 8, McCarron hit receiver Kenny
Bell on a crossing pattern for 5 yards to the CSU 3 to set up
fourth-and-1. The Tide sent in two tight ends for the fourth down play
and Kenyan Drake took a handoff from McCarron and bulled up the middle
for three yards and a touchdown. Cade Foster's kick gave the Tide a 7-0
lead with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.
special teams extended the Crimson Tide lead at the end of the next CSU
possession. The Rams started the possession with an 18-yard pass play
from quarterback Garret Grayson to wide receiver Rashard Higgins to the
CSU 36. Another pass to wide receiver Thomas Coffman gained 2 to the
CSU 38 before a penalty erased a 13-yard pass play, instead moving the
Rams back to their 33. From there a run by Chris Nwoke gained a yard
before an incompletion forced a punt. On the punt from the CSU 34,
Alabama's Kenyan Drake broke through blocking and blocked Hayden Hunt's
kick and Dillon Lee scooped up the ball at the CSU 15 and ran for a
touchdown. Foster's kick gave Alabama a 14-0 lead with 12:41 left in
the second quarter.
After a 13-yard CSU punt, Alabama started
its next possession from its own 42 and moved 29 yards in 5 plays to a
field goal. On first down, McCarron passes to White for 11 yards to the
CSU 47 but the play was negated by a holding penalty that moved the
ball to a first-and-20 at the Tide 32. From there, T.J. Yeldon took his
first rushing attempt of the night for 38 yards to the CSU 30. After an
incompletion on first down, Yeldon gained one on a rush over right end.
On third-and-9 at the CSU 29, McCarron's pass to Christion Jones went
for no gain. That set up a 46-yard field goal attempt by Foster. His
kick was true, clearing the crossbar by about two feet, and the Tide
had a 17-0 lead with 5:39 left in the second half.
a CSU punt on the opening possession of the third quarter, the Alabama
offense went to the air and marched 46 yards in three plays, all passes
from McCarron to Christion Jones for gains of 23, 12 and 11 yards. On
the fourth play of the drive, McCarron was pressured as he threw and
lobbed a pass toward the right sideline where CSU cornerback Bernard
Blake intercepted at the CSU 18 with 11:42 left in the third quarter.
Rams responded to the break with their best drive of the game to that
point, moving 55 yards in 9 plays to a field goal. Running back Kapri
Bush started the drive with a 9-yard run over right guard. Grayson then
passed to wide receiver Joe Hansley for 13 yards to the CSU 40. Another
pass to Hansley gained 5 yards, and then Grayson gained a yard on a
keeper to set up third-and-4 at the CSU 46. Grayson completed a pass to
tight end Crockett Gillmore on a wheel route for 24 yards to a first
down at the Tide 30. A rush by running back Chris Nwoke gained two
yards before an incompletion and a 1-yard run by Nwoke set up a 45-yard
field goal by Jared Roberts that narrowed the Tide lead to 17-3 with
7:40 left in the third period.
The Tide offense failed to gain a
first down on the next possession, punting after three plays to set up
the Rams at their own 23 with 5:25 left in the third period. The Rams
moved 63 yards in 12 plays, consuming 5:20 of clock, to move within
17-6 on a 31-yard field goal by Jared Roberts with 5 seconds left in
the third quarter. Passes to Higgins for 12, Kapri Bibbs for 12,
Higgins for 13 and Hansley for 14 keyed the march.
The Rams had
the momentum and the Tide offense was unable to muster a drive on the
ensuing possession, again going three plays before punting. Cody
Mandell's 43-yard punt went out of bounds at the CSU 26 with 12:41 left
in the fourth period. The next play turned out to be the most important
of the game as Grayson kept for three yards around right end and
fumbled when Tide linebacker Trey Depriest forced the ball loose with
Depriest recovering the fumble at the CSU 30.
On the first play
after the fumble, McCarron hit White on a post pattern for a 30-yard
touchdown to give the Tide a 24-6 lead following Foster's kick with
11:47 left in the fourth quarter.
Late in the game, Alabama
closed out the scoring with an 8-play, 65-yard scoring drive. A 22-yard
pass from McCarron to Kenyan Drake to the CSU 20 keyed the drive that
was capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Blake
Sims to wide receiver Chris Black with 1:13 left in the game.