Preview capsule: Colorado State at No. 1 Alabama - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Preview capsule: Colorado State at No. 1 Alabama

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Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron will take on his former offensive coordinator Jim McElwain when Colorado State visits Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. McElwain is in his second season as the Rams head coach. (AP Photo) Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron will take on his former offensive coordinator Jim McElwain when Colorado State visits Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. McElwain is in his second season as the Rams head coach. (AP Photo)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Colorado State (1-2) at No. 1 Alabama (2-0), 6 p.m. (ESPN2)

Line: Alabama by 39 1/2.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Alabama is trying to avoid a letdown in between a dramatic win over No. 10 Texas A&M and a game with No. 21 Mississippi. Colorado State is hoping to manage a stunner in its second matchup with a No. 1 team.

KEY MATCHUP

Alabama secondary versus QB Garrett Grayson. Grayson has passed for 606 yards with four touchdowns against two interceptions, but this is more about a secondary rebuilding confidence — and perhaps adjusting personnel — after getting picked apart by the Aggies' Johnny Manziel. CB Deion Belue is questionable with turf toe.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Alabama:

The running backs. T.J. Yeldon is clearly the primary runner but Kenyan Drake, Jalston Fowler and a couple of freshmen are still jockeying for carries. Nobody has stepped up as a clear No. 2, though Drake gained 50 yards against Texas A&M.

Colorado State:

RB Chris Nwoke. Nwoke has run for a team-best 236 yards but Kapri Bibbs isn't far behind with 201 yards and three touchdowns.

FACTS & FIGURES

It's the Crimson Tide's season debut at Bryant-Denny Stadium. ... Colorado State coach Jim McElwain was Alabama's offensive coordinator from 2008-11 and helped the Tide to a pair of national titles. ... Colorado State is 2-11 against teams currently in the Southeastern Conference. The Rams' only other game against a No. 1 team came against Southern California — led by Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and LenDale White— in 2004. The Trojans won 49-0. ... Alabama S Vinnie Sunseri is trying to join Antonio Langham (1992) as the program's only player with non-offensive touchdowns in three consecutive games. Sunseri has returned interceptions for touchdowns against both Virginia Tech and Texas A&M.

Matchup

 CSUALA
W-L 1-2 2-0
Avg Points 29.3 42.0
Avg Points Allowed 29.3 26.0
Home Record 1-1 0-0
Road Record 0-1 2-0
Division Record 0-0 1-0
Conference Record 0-0 1-0

Passing Leaders

 
Colorado StCMP%YDSTDINT
G. Grayson 56.1 606 4 2
 
AlabamaCMP%YDSTDINT
A. McCarron 57.7 444 5 1

Rushing Leaders

 
Colorado StCARYDSAVGTD
C. Nwoke 47 236 5.0 1
K. Bibbs 35 201 5.7 3
 
AlabamaCARYDSAVGTD
T. Yeldon 42 224 5.3 2
K. Drake 7 50 7.1 1

Receiving Leaders

 
Colorado StRECYDSAVGTD
J. Vaden 8 105 13.1 1
R. Higgins 9 100 11.1 1
 
AlabamaRECYDSAVGTD
D. White 6 96 16.0 1
A. Cooper 6 72 12.0 0
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