Alabama struggles in 31-6 win over Colorado State

Kevin Connell

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For much of the game, it was a night to forget for one team at Bryant-Denny Stadium, and that team wasn’t just the visitor.

Despite struggling to establish a rhythm for much of the game, No. 1 Alabama defeated Colorado State 31-6 Saturday night, but it didn’t come as easily as expected.

Through three quarters, Alabama played conservatively and timid against its former offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, gaining only 248 total yards of offense and going 0 for 6 on third downs.

“You have to give Colorado State a lot of credit,” head coach Nick Saban said. “Their players played hard and [Coach Jim McElwain] did a great job in terms of having his guys prepared.”

Leading 17-6, Alabama ultimately needed fourth quarter touchdown receptions from DeAndrew White and Chris Black to give Alabama a sizeable lead after two Colorado State field goals cut the lead to 11.

Offensive lineman Kellen Williams, who got the start at right guard in place of an injured Anthony Steen, said the win didn’t feel as good as the score showed.

“It was pretty somber,” right guard Kellen Williams said. “Obviously, we didn’t perform as well offensively as we’re capable of. Towards the end of the game, we felt like we left a lot out on the field.”

Alabama finished the game with 338 total yards of offense, but for the second time in three games to start the season, the Crimson Tide looked sluggish on the offensive side of the ball. Alabama could only manage 66 yards on the ground for the game.

“We got a long way to go with our offense collectively,” wide receiver Christion Jones said. “We need to be more dominate with the running game and with the passing game together.”

In addition to Steen, wide receivers Amari Cooper and Kevin Norwood were held out of the game with injuries. On defense, defensive backs Deion Belue, Jarrick Williams and Nick Perry were all also held out with injuries, causing a rotation of several players seeing playing time in the secondary.

Linebacker C.J. Mosley said he didn’t feel like the new faces in the secondary caused any chemistry issues.

“We just got to make sure that those guys know that we have to adjust after the second wave,” Mosley said. “Some things that [Colorado State] did, it was new to us. So we have to adjust and make changes, but that comes with youth.”

Alabama took a 17-0 lead into the half by way of two big plays by running back Kenyan Drake. Near the end of the first quarter, Drake opened the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run on fourth down, then set up the following touchdown by blocking a punt that was returned for a 15-yard score by sophomore linebacker Dillon Lee.

Though the result wasn’t pretty by Alabama’s standards, the team came away with the result it needed, heading into its SEC home opener against Ole Miss next week.

“It was a win and you have to give the other team a lot of credit,” Saban said. “Their players played with a lot of heart, but I’m not satisfied with where we are as a team. We need to continue to focus on improvement and do a lot better job as a football team if we’re going to be the kind of team we are capable of being.”