Alabama Football 2017 Report Card: Week 3 v. Colorado State

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 1: Quarterback Nick Stevens
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 1: Quarterback Nick Stevens /

Alabama football may have come out on top against the Colorado State University Rams, but there was much gnashing of teeth for the first half.

There were omens in and around Bryant-Denny Stadium last night, as the Crimson Tide awaited to thrash the Rams. There was an accident that held up traffic for a little while, yet not too treacherous. A hot 91 degrees (33 degrees Celcius) made the day livable but sweaty. Add the fact that the WiFi server in the stadium was choking on a wishbone from all of the users, and it set up the possibility of the 101 821 fans in attendance to have shorter tempers than normal.″>September 16, 2017

Cue the pause on that thrashing.

While Alabama came out of the game undefeated, the score was only 17-10 before Robert Foster‘s 52-yard completion for a touchdown just before the end of the second quarter. Give some credit to the Rams’ offense moving the ball deep and their defense being able to stop some of Alabama’s drives. However, the fans were not impressed:

Apparently, the ‘classy’ gentleman did eventually quiet down, but the game made many fans tense until the second half.

Now, let’s look at the Alabama football grades:

Offense: A

Starting quarterback Jalen Hurts had another successful day distributing the ball and avoiding the pass rush with his legs. The balanced attack allowed him to complete 12 of his 17 pass attempts for 248 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 11 times for 103 yards and went in for another touchdown of his own.

Hurts’ efforts allowed backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to get into the game, completing one of his four pass attempts but for no yards.

While receivers Calvin Ridley and Robert Foster helped blow the doors open on the game, with 92 and 52 yards respectively, running back Bo Scarbrough did much of the labor to move the ball down the field. Scarbrough rushed 12 times for 66 yards, averaging 5.5 yards a carry, but he also caught three passes for 36 yards, averaging 12 yards a catch and making critical first downs when needed.

Overall, eight players completed passes and five players rushed the ball, making the Alabama offense a balanced front that many experts have wanted to see.

The offensive line has been making some adjustments in the last few games, and it has been paying off. While Hurts has helped the cause by distributing the ball faster to more people and by using his feet, the offensive line did not give up a sack and Hurts seemed reasonably comfortable in the pocket for most of the game.

Defense: C-

This defense is getting hurt in the secondary:

Linebacker Keith Holcombe led the team with nine total tackles, and both defensive backs Hootie Jones and Ronnie Harrison had interceptions; however, overall, the squad did not dominate as per usual standards.

CSU starting quarterback Nick Stevens was allowed to move the ball in the air for 247 yards and score two touchdowns. Wide receiver Michael Gallup was widely reported as the favorite target for Stevens, and yet he was able to catch five passes for 81 yards, averaging 16.2 yards a catch.

That cannot happen.

It’s not a knock against CSU, either. They exposed Alabama’s problem in the secondary for covering passes beyond 10 yards. They exploited their discovery by having four CSU receivers average 15 yards a catch or more. Another three receivers averaged seven yards or more. That’s seven receivers having decent yardage against the group that was, supposedly, going to carry the Alabama football team this season.

The fourth quarter, which is supposed to be when opponents weaken to the might of the Alabama defense’s cardio, didn’t phase CSU. In fact, they scored more points in that quarter (13) than in any other of the game.

If defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt chewed on the D last week against Fresno State, who only scored 10 total points, then the defense should shine their butts up real nice and assume the position for another butt-chewing this week in practice.

Next: Tide Drops CSU, Jalen Shines, & Defense Struggles

Final Thoughts:

A win is a win. Yet, Vanderbilt is not going to be Colorado State University. They won’t just have one weapon that the defense can key on to stop. Not that Alabama did that to CSU, anyways. If Alabama expects to stay undefeated, they may want to stop worrying so much about the offense and look more into what is wrong in the secondary on defense. Right now, if it wasn’t for linebacker help, the zone defense looks more like a free-fly zone for opposing offenses.

*** Also, a special note from our social media guru who was at the game: