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Breaking Down Alabama’s 2017 Schedule: Week Three – Colorado State Rams

Cedric Mason - Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Each game is listed in a week-by-week basis. Included are each teams’ 2016 record and bowl game results.

3. Colorado State (7-6) [Idaho Potato Bowl: Lost 61-50 vs Idaho]

Home (Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL)

The Colorado State Rams and Head Coach Mike Bobo could be in store for a big year.

Bobo – known as a quarterback whisperer since his days at Georgia (David Greene, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Murray) – will return an experienced quarterback in Nick Stevens. At 6’3″, Stevens has all of the physical traits needed to run the one-back offense Mike Bobo and Co. like to run. The rising-Redshirt Senior threw for 1933 yards, 19 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions throughout just ten games in 2016.

Despite posting great numbers, Nick Stevens may not end up the starter by fall.

He lost his starting spot to 6’5″ true-freshman Colin Hill before last season began, but a season-ending injury kept Hill from finishing the season after just five games. In those games, he completed 58.1% of his passes, threw for 1096 yards, 8 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions.

Regardless of who wins the quarterback battle, the Rams will be in good hands. They had three running backs surpass the 500-yard mark on the season. Leading the pack will be 5’9″, 175-pound Senior, Dalyn Dawkins, and 6’0″, 205-pound Junior, Izzy Matthews.

Dawkins ran for 919 yards and 4 touchdowns last season, in addition to snagging 20 passes for 162 yards and another score. Matthews – the change-of-pace bruiser – ran for 734 yards and 13 touchdowns, seeing most of the short-yard and goal-line workload.

As far as receivers go, 6’1″ Michael Gallup, will be a handful to stop in his Senior season.

After a stint in Junior College, Gallup hauled in 76 catches for 1272 yards and a Mountain West-leading 14 touchdowns last year for the Rams. His 14 touchdown receptions was also good enough for second place all-time at CSU.

The biggest void the Rams will have left to fill comes on the defensive side of the football. Outside linebacker, Kevin Davis – who has signed with the L.A. Rams as a free agent – led the 2016 team with 110 total tackles and 10.5 tackles for a loss. Additionally, they will need to replace Safety, Braylin Scott, who was reportedly arrested earlier this week on felony charges including burglary and theft. Scott led the team in interceptions with three.

Fortunately for Bobo, they appear to already have a handful of guys ready to step up. The defense returns the next four leading-tacklers, and four guys who totaled seven or more tackles for a loss.

This match-up falls into a bad place on Alabama’s schedule – after a home-opener against lowly Fresno State and before the SEC opener against Vanderbilt in Week Four. A mixture of an early kickoff, low motivation, and early-season complacency – should they beat the Seminoles in Week One – could be lethal for the Tide.

It’s been a long time since Alabama has lost to a mid-major program (ULM in 2007), but this game has the makings of one in which the Tide could come out sloppy and make it too close for comfort by the time the third quarter rolls around.

Nick Saban knows this, and I don’t see him letting us forget that. In fact, I fully expect a rant or two on complacency will take place that week.

J. A. Weaver is a contributor for TD Alabama Magazine and Bama Hoops Hype. You can contact him via phone at 205-612-5060, or on Twitter @JWeaver_TDALMag .

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