No. 1 Alabama Starts Season by Hosting Utah State

Cfp Championship Matchups Football

FILE – Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young and No. 1 Alabama are set to open the season against Utah State.

The Crimson Tide will be relying heavily on a handful of transfers. That group includes tailback Jahmyr Gibbs, wide receivers Jermaine Burton and Tyler Harrell, left tackle Tyler Steen and cornerback Eli Ricks.

Utah State beat Connecticut 31-20 in its season opener. The Aggies are 12-3 under coach Blake Anderson and beat two Power 5 teams last season.

Alabama coach Nick Saban hates this line of thinking, but this game very much amounts to a tuneup before visiting Texas. It’s a chance for the Crimson Tide to get key transfers some game action in the system.

The Aggies have won eight straight games away from home, the nation’s longest active streak.

A key matchup will be blockers versus pass rushers. Alabama has the nation’s top sack leader from 2021 in linebacker Will Anderson Jr., along with Dallas Turner among other pass rushers. Utah State had 11 tackles for loss against UConn last week and finished tied for second-most nationally last season with 114.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is seeking to become only the second repeat Heisman Trophy winner. This game is more about getting in sync with those new playmakers, including a largely new or inexperienced group of receivers.

Alabama is ranked for the 230th consecutive week, the longest active streak in college football. Alabama is riding a 20-game winning streak in the home opener, including a 15-0 record under Saban. The average margin in such games during Saban’s tenure is 30 points.

Kickoff is Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CDT on the SEC Network.

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)


Categories: Alabama, Sports