Alabama turns attention to woeful Georgia State

Alabama turns attention to woeful Georgia State

October 1st, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Alabama defenders Jarrick Williams, C.J. Mosley and Brandon Ivory sack Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace for a fourth-quarter safety in the top-ranked Crimson Tide's 25-0 win Saturday night.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

TIDE, TAKE THREE

• 1. Alabama and Georgia State have met once before, the Crimson Tide winning 63-7 in 2010.

• 2. Since the start of the 2008 season, the Crimson Tide essentially have the same record inside Bryant-Denny Stadium (34-3) as away from it (31-4).

• 3. Alabama is 43-0 when winning the turnover battle since the start of the 2008 season.

Alabama hosts Georgia State this Saturday in a football game that could pit the best and worst of the 125 Bowl Subdivision teams.

The No. 1 Crimson Tide have won three of the last four national championships, while the Panthers have lost three of their four games this season to Championship-level teams. Samford, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Jacksonville State all topped Georgia State, with UTC's Mocs providing a 42-14 pummelling at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 7.

Tide coach Nick Saban opened his weekly news conference in Tuscaloosa by praising his team's effort in the 25-0 skunking of Ole Miss, and then he addressed this week's foe. Saturday's game has a 12:21 p.m. kickoff on SEC TV.

"We respect every opponent that we play, regardless of their record," Saban said. "The team that we play has talented players who can make plays, and our focus needs to be on what we need to do to improve as a team. They have a good coaching staff and do a good job of coaching their players."

Saban mentioned Akron nearly upsetting Michigan earlier this year, but his comments couldn't sway the Crimson Tide from remaining an eight-touchdown favorite.

The Crimson Tide did not practice Sunday or Monday, replacing Monday's workout with a walk-through and some stretching. Saban said it was a regular Monday as far as installing the game plan.

"We do this every so often on Monday so the players get two days off from practice," he said. "We have a seven-game stretch here, and when you play more than five or six games in a row, players start to get worn down and tired. Two days rest does 10 times more good than one. It doesn't do two times more good. It does 10 times more good."

Alabama could use this Saturday to enhance its rushing-defense average, which ranks 20th nationally at 103.5 yards allowed a game. The Crimson Tide are trying to become the first team to lead the nation in that category for three consecutive seasons.

The Mocs held the Panthers to 30 yards on 17 rushes.

Senior Tide punter Cody Mandell is not expected to be needed much Saturday, but Saban has been pleased with his play. Mandell ranks fifth nationally with a 47.0-yard average.

"Every year he has punted, he has gotten more and more consistent and more and more confident," Saban said. "His hard work has benefited his improvement, and so far this year he's done a fantastic job as far as average and ball placement and hangtime."

Tide tidbits

Senior linebacker C.J. Mosley was named Monday as SEC defensive player of the week after collecting nine tackles, two quarterback hurries and a third-quarter deflection of a fourth-down pass. ... Alabama's game at Kentucky on Oct. 12 will be televised by ESPN2 with a 7 p.m. EDT kickoff. ... Starting center Ryan Kelly (knee) will not play against Georgia State.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.