Nick Saban and the top-ramked Alabam Crimson Tide rolled past the Colorado State Rams on Saturday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It wasn’t always pretty, but No. 1 Alabama cruised to a 41-23 win over Colorado State at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night.
The Crimson Tide approved to 3-0 under the lights in front of a raucous crowd.
On its first possession of the second half, Alabama pounded Colorado State with its running game and a few quick passes. Running back Bo Scarbrough finished the 14-play, 88-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run to make it 31-10. The drive was set up by an interception from safety Ronnie Harrison.
Alabama’s defense would strike again on Colorado State’s next possession. Rams quarterback Nick Stevens sailed a pass that landed in the hands of safety Hootie Jones, who returned the ball deep into Colorado State territory. That led to a 5-yard touchdown run from Alabama running back Damien Harris to make it 38-10 midway through the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos added a 43-yard field goal to give Alabama a 41-10 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Stevens capped another long Colorado State drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to make it 41-17 with 9:53 left in the contest.
Stevens found Warren Jackson again late in the fourth for a 3-yard touchdown pass to make it 41-23 with less than two minutes left. Colorado State’s two-point try failed.
As he did last week, Jalen Hurts opened things with his legs. Hurts capped a six-play, 75-yard drive with a 27-yard rushing touchdown to make it 7-0 early in the first quarter.
After Alabama’s defense forced a quick three-and-out, Hurts hit Calvin Ridley on a slant and Ridley did the rest, outrunning everyone for a 78-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 with 8:56 left in the first quarter.
The Crimson Tide’s third drive stalled, but Pappanastos drilled a 46-yard field goal to make it 17-0.
As Alabama’s offense went cold, Colorado State began finding success in the second quarter.
The Rams got on the board early in the second quarter after kicker Wyatt Bryan connected on a 27-yard field goal to make it 17-3.
Late in the second quarter, Colorado State cut it to seven after Stevens hit receiver Jackson in the corner of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to make it 17-10 with two minutes left in the half.
The score and long drive seemed to wake up Alabama’s offense. Hurts found receiver Robert Foster on a quick pass, and Foster turned it into a 52-yard touchdown.
Alabama entered the half with a 24-10 lead.
NOTES: After missing the first two games, Alabama RB Josh Jacobs (hamstring) earned the start on Saturday. … Alabama LBs Rashaan Evans (groin), Anfernee Jennings (ankle) and Dylan Moses were all held out of the game on Saturday. … Alabama TE Miller Forristall left the game in the third quarter and did not return. … Alabama travels to Nashville next Saturday to face Vanderbilt. … Colorado State gets a trip to Hawaii next week.