Alabama QB hurts CSU.
Topranked Crimson Tide rolls past CSU behind Jalen Hurts.
TUSCALOOSA, ALA.» There’s a reason there are warning stickers on dangerous materials, and the football team at Alabama definitely qualifies.
When Colorado State made a mistake Saturday night at Bryantdenny Stadium, the top-ranked Crimson Tide was there to pounce, producing a 41-23 victory.
CSU coach Mike Bobo cautioned all week his Rams could ill afford to allow big plays to the Tide’s offense, and his offense had to be stingy with the ball. Nick Saban’s team really doesn’t need the help, but it has proven it can take advantage through the years.
Two big scoring plays helped fuel Alabama’s offense, and just when CSU’S offense had started to find a groove, a pair of interceptions off of Nick Stevens set up the Tide to widen its lead.
“The first two possessions (of the second half), we drive down the field and turn the ball over, which really killed us,” CSU coach Mike Bobo said. “We cannot turn the ball over against a good football team and expect to win. This football team makes you beat them week in and week out. They don’t make mistakes. They make you earn everything, especially offensively. There’s no loose coverage.”
Down 24-10 at halftime, Colorado State had driven into Alabama territory, but Warren Jackson had a pass go through his hands and right to Ronnie Harrison. That led to an 88-yard scoring drive for the Tide, and making matters worse, the Rams had a stop on an early third-down play, but an illegal substitution flag gave the Tide a restart.
Stevens was picked off the next drive, throwing one way and having his receiver cut another. Hootie Jones took it 65 yards to the CSU 11, and two plays later, the hosts were comfortably ahead 3810.
All the Rams had was what could have been.
The start to the game was the nightmare Colorado State hoped to avoid, with Jalen Hurts hitting big plays with his legs and arm as the Tide rolled out to a 17-0 lead with 5:13 still remaining in the first quarter.
Alabama was simply dynamic on its first two drives. Hurts scrambled for 27 yards for Bama’s first touchdown, then he connected with Calvin Ridley on a slant that the receiver turned into a 78yard scoring play — which came after a CSU punt had pinned them on the 5 — and more than half of the first quarter still remained.
A 46-yard field goal from Andy Pappanastos seemed to signify the rout was on, as Colorado State had just 11 yards of offense in the first quarter, while Bama had produced 216.
But it didn’t spin out of control as the Rams. In fact, they scored the next 10 points.
“I think guys were just kinda timid at first. The stage, it might have taken a few guys to get going,” center Jake Bennett said. “But once we did, I think we showed what we could do. If we would have gotten out to a better start it might have been a different story.”
CSU faced a third-and-long, but three consecutive plays resulted in first downs, with quarterback Stevens running and throwing the Rams forward. The drive resulted in a 27-yard Wyatt Bryan field goal, and then CSU upped the ante.
The Rams went on a 12-play, 85yard drive overcoming a penalty that erased a first down, but on the next play, tight end Dalton Fackrell reached behind a Tide defender and stole a pass, resulting in a 25-yard gain. Stevens capped it with a third-down fade in the end zone to true freshman Warren Jackson, who lept over Anthony Averett for a 4-yard score.
Jackson would go high for his second touchdown in the game late in the fourth quarter, the first two of his college career.
“I think they were both two amazing catches,” Stevens said. “I knew from practice he’s a big dude who’s going to go up for the ball if you put it in his radius. The first one he went up over the dude and made a spectacular catch. The second one, I think it was a better ball. He went over the shoulder and was able to track it in and catch it. Really, really good things to see out of that young guy.”
But Bama being Bama, the host team stole the momentum back when Hurts beat a CSU blitz by finding Rodney Foster on a curl, and Foster cut it back to the middle and outran the CSU defense for a 53-yard touchdown and a 2410 lead at the break.
Hurts rushed for 103 yards and passed for 248 and two scores. Oregon State
Abilene Christian at Alabama
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