Football Game Notes: Colorado State at Alabama, Sept. 21




Sept. 16, 2013

FULL STATS PACKAGE IN PDF | Press Conference Quotes

THIS WEEK

Colorado State (1-2, 0-0) travels south to Tuscaloosa to take on two-time defending national champion No. 1 ranked Alabama (2-0, 1-0). The Rams, who are coming off their first victory of the season, a 34-17 home win over Cal Poly, face the top-ranked team in the nation for the second time in program history. In 2004 CSU took on Southern California, led by Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart.

Saturday's contest between the Rams and Crimson Tide will be the first meeting and also be a homecoming of sorts for Head Coach Jim McElwain. McElwain was the offensive coordinator of the Crimson Tide from 2008-2011 winning two national championships (2009, `11).

WHERE TO FIND THE GAME:
Saturday's game between Colorado State and Alabama will be televised on ESPN2, with Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), Matt Millen (analyst) and Maria Taylor (sideline) calling the action. CSU fans can listen to the action on the Colorado State Radio Network with new Voice of the Rams Gary Miller alongside Brian Roth (analyst) and Kevin McGlue (sideline). On the airwaves, fans can listen to the game across the state on: KJAC-FM 105.5 ESPN, KREL-AM 1580 ESPN (Colorado Springs), KSIR-AM 1010 (Fort Morgan), KRFD-FM 94.5 (Sterling), and KNZZ-AM 1100 (Grand Junction).

Notes in 140 | #CSURams | #MWFB | #1TTD


#TEAM
• Sept. 1 loss to CU marked the fi rst collegiate season-opening loss for @CoachMcElwain since 2004 when he coached at Michigan State
• After defeating Cal Poly 34-17 on Sept. 14, the Rams have a 4-game home win streak, the longest since 2005
• Six true freshmen made their collegiate debut on Sept. 1 vs. CU, including WR Rashard Higgins who caught 6 passes for 57 yards
• The temperature was 98 degrees at kickoff in Tulsa (9/7), the hottest game the Rams have played in at least 13 years
.@AlabamaFTBL is coming off an emotional 49-42 victory at Texas A&M
• The last current SEC opponent @CSUFootball faced was Missouri in the 1997 @HolidayBowlGame on Dec. 29. CSU won 35-24
.@CSUFootball hasn't won a true road game since defeating Utah State in double overtime on Sept. 24, 2011
• Saturday will mark the 14th time @CSUFootball has played an opponent from the current SEC. In those games the Rams are 2-11
• The CSU-Alabama game will be televised on ESPN2. The last time the Rams were on `the deuce' was on Dec. 22, 2005 vs. Navy
• Saturday will be the third time CSU has faced a FBS defending national champion (BYU - `84 & USC - `04)

#OFFENSE
Weston Richburg, cand. for @outlandtrophy @rimingtontrophy & @lombardiaward, has graded out above 90% in all three games
• In those three games, Richburg has accumulated nine knockdown blocks
• RS-SR RB Chris Nwoke has rushed for 236 yards, 5th best in #MWFB
• RS-SO Kapri Bibbs' 5.7 average per rush is third best in #MWFB
• Bibbs set a career single-game high in rushing on one drive when he racked up 72 yards at Tulsa.
• The sophomore RB fi nished with 83 yards rushing
• SR RB Chris Nwoke's 56-yard scamper at Tulsa is the third longest of 2013 in #MWFB
• RS-FR WR Jordon Vaden hauled in a 52-yd reception at Tulsa, the 4th longest reception of the year in #MWFB
• WR Joe Hansley set a career-best with seven receptions against CU (9/1)
• CSU's offensive line starters have a combined 97 starts, which ranks 12th in #NCAA according to
@philsteele042
• JR QB Garrett Grayson's 39 pass attempts on Sept. 1 vs. CU was the third-highest total of his career
• Higgins' 6 receptions vs. Colorado are the most by a CSU freshman since Chris Nwoke's 8 at Utah on Oct. 23, 2010
• JR WR Charles Lovett has a catch in 12 straight contests in which he has played. He has missed the last 3 games due to injury
• Lovett's last game without a catch was Nov. 19, 2011 at TCU, 654 days ago

#DEFENSE
• S Kevin Pierre-Louis racked up 15 total tackles on Sept. 1 vs. CU, the 4th-most single-game tackles in #MWFB.
• Pierre-Louis' 14 assisted tackles is the highest total since LB Ricky Brewer's 12 at Utah on 10/23/10
• After allowing opponents to convert 48 percent of their third-down tries last season, the #CSURams have reduced the rate to 31 percent this year
Shaquil Barrett's 7.0 TFL is tied for the highest total in #MWFB and tied for 4th nationally
• Confirmed through research dating back to 1970, Barrett is the first Ram to block two kicks in one game
• RS-SO DB Trent Matthews picked off his second career pass at Tulsa. Matthews is tied for second in #MWFB with his lone interception
Bernard Blake and DeAndre Elliott have 5 PBUs on the season, ranking 2nd in #MWFB and 18th nationally

#SPECIAL TEAMS
• Freshman punter Hayden Hunt's 69-yd punt vs. Colorado is the longest in #MWFB. It is also the 9th-longest in #NCAA
• Hunt's punt average of 45.2 is good for second in #MWFB
• The Rams have fashioned a net punting average of 40.1 in 2013, up nearly 5 yards per punt over last year's fi gure of 35.6.
• WR/KR Thomas Coffman leads #MWFB with a kickoff return average of 32.5 yards and his long return of 84 yards also leads the MW
• Coffman's kickoff return average ranks 10th in #NCAA
• WR/PR Joe Hansley is one of two #MWFB players with a punt return TD
• DB/PR Tyree Simmons is averaging 10.9 yards per punt return, ranking third in #MWFB
• Simmons punt return average ranks 27th in #NCAA and he is the only freshman in the top 50
• The Rams are averaging 15.2 yards per punt return compared with a 9.5 average in 2012
• Opponents avg. just 5.5 yards/punt return after averaging 12.0 a year ago, and 19.8 yards/kickoff return compared to 23.5 last year.
.@LouGrozaAward candidate Jared Roberts is 6-for-6 on the year and has now connected on 12 straight field goals
• Roberts average of two field goals per game ranks first in #MWFB and 12th nationally
• Barrett earned MW Special Teams Player of the Week after blocking two Cal Poly field goals (9/14)
• Long snapper Tanner Hedstrom has a streak of 35 consecutive games without an errant snap

A SPECIAL UNIT
Colorado State's special teams units have improved dramatically in several statistical categories through two games. The punt return and punt coverage units are most notable. The Rams are averaging 15.2 yards per return compared with a 9.5 average in 2012. WR Joe Hansley averaged 30.7 yards on three returns with a long of 74 yards in Week 1, while CB Tyree Simmons has averaged 10.9 yards on seven returns with a long of 30 yards vs. Cal Poly.

Both coverage units are much improved. Opponents are averaging just 5.5 yards per punt return after averaging 12.0 a year ago, and 18.4 yards per kickoff return compared to 23.5 last year. Among other special teams notables, K Jared Roberts is perfect on six field-goal attempts and nine PATs this season. He has missed just one field goal in his two-year career, a 51-yarder vs. Utah State (9/22/12), and has now made 12 in a row since. For his career, Roberts is 15-15 on field-goal attempts inside 50 yards.

NEW PUNTER
Redshirt-freshman P Hayden Hunt has been outstanding in his first season replacing All-MW performer Pete Kontodiakos. Behind Hunt's power and directional punting prowess, the Rams have fashioned a net punting average of 40.1, up nearly 5 yards per punt over last year's figure of 35.6. His gross average of 45.2 is better than the 2012 average of 44.6. Hunt has has two touchbacks and placed three of his 20 punts inside the 20, with five fair catches and six punts of 50 yards or longer.

In his first collegiate appearance, the freshman punter booted the ball seven times for an average of 49.7 yards per punt, including a 69-yard bomb from the back of his own end zone. Hunt's 69-yard punt is the longest kick by a Colorado State punter in his collegiate debut. It is also the longest punt in the Mountain West in 2013 and ranks as the sixth-longest nationally.

ON ESPN
Colorado State's matchup at Alabama will be televised nationally on ESPN 2, with Joe Tessitore and Matt Millen on the call and Maria Taylor on the sidelines. The Rams haven't been on an ESPN network since 2010 when they traveled to Reno, Nev., to take on Colin Kaepernick and the Nevada Wolf Pack on ESPNU.

Saturday will mark the first time the Rams have been on ESPN2 since the Poinsettia Bowl vs. Navy on Dec. 22, 2005. In total the Rams have been on `the deuce' 25 times compiling a 12-13 record. CSU's first appearance on ESPN2 came on Sept. 30, 1995 vs BYU.

PACKED HOUSE
On Saturday, Bryant-Denny Stadium is expected to be sold out as the Crimson Tide play their fi rst home game since winning the national championship. With a capacity of over 101,000, it will mark the largest crowd a Colorado State team has ever played in front of.

Top 5 largest crowds in program history...

Attendance      Year      Opponent
93,652            1989    at Tennessee
93,272            1981    at Tennessee
92,921            1987    at Tennessee
85,521            2004    at USC
78,491            1985    at LSU
76,379            1991    at Nebraska

TAKING ON NO. 1
Saturday's game in Tuscaloosa will match only the second time the Rams have faced the nation's top team. In 2004, the Rams traveled to Pasadena to face the USC Trojans, who were led by running backs Reggie Bush and LenDale White. CSU will look for its first win against a top 25 opponent since defeating No. 7 Colorado on Aug. 31, 2002.

The Rams are 0-1 against teams ranked in the top 5.

FIRST-TIME ACTION
In 2013, Colorado State has had 16 players make their collegiate debut.

True Freshmen: DL Austin Berk, LB Deonte Clyburn, WR Rashard Higgins, S Jake Schlager, DB Tyree Simmons and RB Eric Williams
Redshirt Freshmen: P Hayden Hunt, LB Danny Nwosu, WR Robert Ruiz and WR Jordon Vaden
Sophomore: DL Terry Jackson and DL LaRyan King
Redshirt Sophomore: RB Kapri Bibbs, RB Davon Riddick, DL Justin Hansen and WR Willie Udofia

BARRETT IS IN THE BACKFIELD
Senior LB Shaquil Barrett has already amassed 7.0 tackles for loss for the Rams, which ranks first in the Mountain West and fourth nationally. Through just three games he just one half tackle for loss away to his career-best total of 7.5 set last year, and has already surpassed his 2011 total of 4.5. He is well over halfway to Cory James' 2012 team-leading total of 10.5. Barrett now has 19.0 tackles for loss in 25 career games for the Rams. Barrett entered 2013 with more tackles in the last two seasons than any returning player in the Mountain West. The 2012 honorable mention All-Mountain West selection made 166 tackles in the 2011 and '12 seasons combined, as has scored three touchdowns in his two-plus seasons as a Ram after transfering from Nebraska-Omaha.

In the home-opener against Cal Poly (9/14), Barrett blocked two Mustang fi eld goals earning Special Teams Player of the Week by the Mountain West. Confi rmed through research dating back to 1970, the senior linebacker is the fi rst Ram to block two kicks in one game.

In a game at Falcon Stadium in 1990, Falcon Carlton McDonald blocked two CSU punts and a PAT.

KICKING AROUND `EM
In the season opener vs. Colorado, sophomore WR/PR Joe Hansley returned a punt 74 yards for a score, the fi rst punt return touchdown by a Ram since 2006 when Damon Morton housed a punt from 58 yards out. After that the Buffs did not kick to Hansley.
Junior WR/KR Thomas Coffman returned a kick in the third quarter 84 yards before being dragged down on Colorado's 16-yard line. It was the longest kickoff return by a Ram since John Mosure scored on a 90 yard return against the Buffaloes on Aug. 31, 2008. As with Hansley, the Buffs no longer kicked to Coffman.

Hansley, who missed the Rams first road game at Tulsa, has a punt return average of 30.7 yards per return. Coffman's kick return average of 32.5 yards leads the conference.

MORE ON HANSLEY
Not only did Hansley shine with his performance returning punts but the sophomore wide receiver also hauled in a career-high seven receptions for 90 yards vs. Colorado.

VERSUS THE SEC
Saturday will mark the 14th time Colorado State has played a member of the Southeastern Conference. The Rams have a record of 2-11 in those game.

Arkansas                0-3
LSU                        1-1
Mississippi State      0-2
Missouri                  1-1
Tennessee              0-4

DEFENDING THEIR CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday will mark the third time Colorado State has faced a defending national champion. Alabama has won back-to-back championships after defeating LSU to win the 2011-12 championship and Notre Dame to win in 2012-13. In 1985 the Rams hosted the BYU Cougars who won the 1984 championship. The Cougars were led to a championship by Robbie Bosco. The most recent meeting the Rams have had against a defending national champion was in 2004 against USC.

THE MATCHUP
RAMS vs. CRIMSON TIDE
All-time, overall: First meeting
All-time, in Tuscaloosa: - First meeting
All-time, in Fort Collins: First meeting
First official meeting: Sept. 21, 2013
Last meeting: - N/A
Last meeting in Tuscaloosa: - N/A

Series streaks: CSU and Alabama meet for the first time.

COACHES CAPSULES: CSU -- Jim McElwain: 5-10, second year overall as head coach
                               Alabama -- Nick Saban: 156-55-1, 18th year as head coach
Head-to-head: First meeting | Against opponent: McElwain First Meeting vs. Alabama; Saban first meeting vs. CSU

• Entering his seventh season in Tuscaloosa, Nick Saban's uncompromising dedication to excellence in
every phase of the program has resulted in the school's 13th, 14th and 15th National Championships and the foundation has been set to yield long-term success for the Crimson Tide.
• Saban has compiled a 156-55-1 (.736) record as a college head coach and has gone 61-7 (.897) in the past five seasons in Tuscaloosa, which includes a 35-5 mark in regular-season conference play.

NOTABLE CONNECTIONS
• Head Coach Jim McElwain returns to Alabama, where he was the offensive coordinator from 2008-11
winning two national championships.
Billy Napier, Alabama's wide receivers coach, was the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at
Colorado State in 2012.
• Luke Del Rio, freshman QB for the Crimson Tide, is the son of Denver Broncos defensive coordinator
Jack Del Rio. Luke played high school football at Valor Christian in Highlands Ranch, Colo.
• CSU's offensive lineman Mason Hathaway and Alabama's kicker Cade Foster attended Southlake Carroll High School together in Southlake, Texas.
• Alabama's secondary coach Greg Brown was the defensive coordinator under Jon Embree at Colorado.


 

 

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