Alabama welcomes Fresno State

September 9, 2017

Fresno State (1-0) at No. 1 Alabama (1-0), Saturday 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


Line: Alabama by 44.

Series record: First meeting.


What’s at stake


This will be a chance for Alabama to get its linebacker situation sorted out after two (Christian Miller and Terrell Lewis) were lost to season-ending injuries against Florida State, with two others expected to miss the game also. If the game goes as most would expect, highly regarded freshmen such as running back Najee Harris and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa could see significant playing time. Fresno State’s trying to show progress under new coach Jeff Tedford.


Key matchup


Fresno State’s defense against Alabama’s running game. It’s hard to read too much into the minus-30 rushing yards Fresno State allowed against FCS Incarnate Word, but Alabama didn’t put up big numbers against a tough Florida State defense. TBs Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and Najee Harris are all formidable, while Josh Jacobs’ status remains uncertain with a hamstring injury.


Players to watch


Fresno State: WR KeeSean Johnson led the team in receiving last season and had seven catches for 120 yards in the opener.


Alabama: Tagovailoa is a five-star recruit from Hawaii. He needs playing time sooner or later just in case, and this could provide an opportunity.


Facts and figures


Fresno State is facing a No. 1 team for the third time and didn’t fare too badly the first two, at least offensively.

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