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CFB Playoffs 2015

Alabama QB Jacob Coker returns to AT&T Stadium

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It maybe a de’ja’vu moment for Alabama quarterback Jacob Coker as he returns to the venue where he received his first shot at being a starter. The Crimson Tide will face Michigan State Thursday at AT&T Stadium (Arlington, Texas) for the Cotton Bowl.

The senior and Mobile, Alabama native has been exposed to Big Ten Conference competition. He commanded the team under center during Alabama’s season opener against Wisconsin on Sept. 5 in Arlington. Crimson Tide fans and media personnel saw Coker complete 15 of 21 passes for 213 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers.

His touchdown pass came on a 17-yard strike to wide receiver Robert Foster in the second quarter. Alabama would go on to win 35-17, in a contest that Coker connected on 71.4 percent of his throws. His outing against the Badgers was simply a gauge of how good could he be. This time, however, Coker must demonstrate how far he has come on a team that is No. 2 in the College Football Playoff.

Being loose is a positive for Coker, as Michigan State’s quarterback Connor Cook draws all attention. Cook is projected to be taken in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but he will meet a fierce defense first. An ability to extend plays is one thing Coker has over Cook. He chimes in with two rushing scores and earned the respect of his teammates with tough runs. AT&T Stadium was Coker’s opening stage and on Thursday night, it will serve as a chance for him to take Alabama to the “Promised Land.”

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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