Alabama vs. Colorado State game preview

Helmet decal for CSU

Colorado State has a huge challenge in front of them as they go on the road to take on No. 1 Alabama.

Game: Colorado State University Rams at Alabama Crimson Tide

Where: Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, US

Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, 5;00 PM MST (7:00 PM EST)

TV: ESPN2/ESPNU

Radio: ESPN 105.5/102.3 Denver, KREL-AM 1580 ESPN Colorado Springs, KSIR-AM 1010 in Fort Morgan, KRFD-FM 94.5 in Sterling and KNZZAM News Radio 1100 in Grand Junction.

On-Line: CBSGameTracker

Weather: 75° F, with a low of 60°. 80% chance of rain. Wind 5 mph out of the WNW.

Odds: Colorado State Rams (1-2, 0-0) are 36 ½ -point underdogs to the Alabama Crimson Tide (2 - 0, 1 - 0).

Series: THE MATCHUP
RAMS vs. CRIMSON TIDE
All-time, overall: First meeting
All-time, in Tuscaloosa: - First meeting
All-time, in Fort Collins: First meeting
First official meeting: Sept. 21, 2013
Last meeting: - N/A
Last meeting in Tuscaloosa: - N/A

Coaches: Nick Saban (154-55-1) for the Crimson Tide and Jim McElwain (5-10) for the Rams

CSU still hasn't won a road game since the double overtime victory against Utah State on September 24th, 2011. The Rams have won 4 straight at home but have yet to win a road game under coach Jim McElwain, though they won the home opener against Cal Poly last week 34-17.=

The Rams finally got it going a bit on offense last week, although it was against an FCS opponent, with 533 yards of offense, including 353 yards in the first half. Garrett Grayson completed 21 of 31 for 297 yards and two TDs. Chris Nwoke broke 100 yards for the sixth time in his career as he rushed for 133 yards on 19 carries. Donnell Alexander also scored a 6 yard TD, which was welcomed by Rams fans, who were not sure he would even play due to a hand injury. Rashard Higgens held onto the ball and scored on a 36 yard pass from Garrett Grayson and much to the delight of Rams fans, Crocket Gillmore and Kevon Cartwright got into the action and caught passes and helped move the chains. One of the biggest highlights of the game last weekend was Shaq Barrett blocking a Mustang field goal attempt. The CSU defense is giving up 175 rushing yards a game and 258.7 passing yards.

Shaq Bell, arguably CSU's most experienced and able CB, will probably have the unenviable task of defending Amari Cooper. Jared Roberts and Hayden Hunt have been very solid for the Rams so far this year, with Roberts going 6-6 in field goals and Hunt averaging 45.2 yards a punt. The Rams will need Thomas Coffman, averaging 32,5 yards per kickoff return, to have a big day.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming off an emotional 49-42 victory at Texas A&M, which had turned into a grudge game since the loss to A&M last year. Saban might start some freshmen on defense: Maurice Smith and Eddie Jackson, while Cyrus and Bradley Slyve might not start but they could get in the starting lineup fairly soon. A key injury for the Tide, senior Deion Belue is likely out (toe) so if the CSU receivers can hold on to the ball, and if Grayson can get it to them, there might be some opportunities. Amari Cooper (WR) could have a big day against the RAM secondary and is the main passing threat for AJ McCarron. Bama used 3 running backs to go over 200 yards (234) against A&M. T.J. Yeldon, Jalston Fowler and Kenyan Drake averaged 6.3 yards a carry against the Aggies and will want to do the same against the Rams.

A.J. McCarron has 5 touchdown passes, to five different receivers and has spread the ball around, completing passes to 10 different receivers. Don't overlook the Tide in special teams, with Christian Jones on return duty and Cody Mandell averaging over 48 yards a punt. Alabama has yet to attempt a field goal this season, one of only three teams not to attempt any yet, but if they do it looks like Cade Foster will get the nod from Saban.

CSU injuries: WR Joe Hansley (ankle), WR Jordan Vaden (deep thigh Bruise) and WR Charles Lovett (knee).

Alabaama injuries: WR Kevin Norwood (undisclosed - questionable), Deion Belue (toe), DL Dakota Ball (foot) DL Dalvin Tomlinson (knee). Anthony Steen (toe) is probable.

As of Saturday morning, CSU is a 40-point underdog to the Tide in Tuscaloosa.

The CSU Rams will be wearing special helmet decal to bring awareness to the devastation left by the flood.

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