TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It wasn’t always pretty, but Alabama football pounded Colorado State 41-23 on Saturday inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The Crimson Tide (3-0) offense made plenty of explosive plays, while the defense surrendered a lot of yards to the Rams.
Alabama’s offense played well against the Rams. Alabama averaged an insane 8.1 yards per play on Saturday. Quarterback Jalen Hurts looked sharp, and showed more improvement as a passer. Hurts was a tad off on a couple of deep balls, but his final throw of the game to Devonta Smith near the sideline was perfect. Hurts finished the night with 351 yards of offense and 3 total touchdowns. Running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough both ran the ball well with each scoring a touchdown.
Seeing receiver Robert Foster make a big touchdown catch was a positive sign. The offensive line still needs to clean a few things up. It doesn’t appear to be getting as much push as the team would like, but all in all, it was a quality performance from the offense.
Given some of the injuries on defense, it may be on the offense to carry the team through the early part of the season.
The injuries and playing guys out of place appeared to take their toll on Saturday night. It’s not that Alabama’s defense isn’t good. It’s just that few people would have expected Colorado State to rack up 391 yards of offense.
Colorado State is a quality team. Alabama’s defense is playing a lot of young players, so missed assignments and lack of communication isn’t completely surprising.
The two most concerning things were the poor tackling and number of third-down conversions Alabama gave up. Tackling is all about effort. There were times when some of Alabama’s best tacklers whiffed.
As for third down, Colorado State converted 10 of 17 times against Alabama. That alone will get you beat against better teams. You must get off the field on third down or you open yourself up to long drives and the defense getting worn down over time.
Special teams: A
Don’t look now, but Andy Pappanastos is slowly developing into a reliable kicker for Alabama football. He drilled two 40-plus yard kicks (46, 43). He’s now 7 of 9 on the season and has made his last 5 kicks.
JK Scott punted well and looked good on kickoffs, but he missed a field-goal attempt.
This low grade is mostly on the defense. If Alabama’s defense can get a few of its injured guys back and healthy, things should fall into place. There’s no need to hit the panic button if you’re an Alabama fan.
Alabama is good for this type of game pretty much every year. One side of the ball looks really sloppy against a nonconference opponent, and the natural reaction is to overreact. Let’s see how they look against Vanderbilt in Alabama’s SEC opener on Saturday before anyone jumps off the ledge.