It’s the classic David versus Goliath matchup as the 0-4 Georgia State Panthers play the No. 1 ranked team in college football this Saturday, the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The two schools last played each other back in the Panthers’ inaugural season in 2010, but Alabama was not the best team in the country at the time.
Rather, the No. 11 team was a year out of its golden age when it would go on to win back-to-back national championships.
The Crimson Tide defeated the Panthers 63-7 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. to end the Panthers’ inaugural season with a 6-5 record.
Since then a lot has changed for Georgia State – a worsening record against somewhat more acclaimed opponents, a new conference and a new head coach, to note a few.
In contrast, Alabama has not changed too much under Nick Saban in his seventh year as head coach for the Crimson Tide.
“We get to play Alabama, and we’re fired up about that,” Head Coach Trent Miles said. “How can you not be excited to play the No. 1 team in the nation…I’m ready to knuckle it up with Nick Saban.”
Georgia State has had two weeks to prepare against one of the most talked about college football teams in history, and now you get to prepare as The Signal breaks down the legendary Alabama Crimson Tide.
Everyone’s heard of A.J. McCarron.
The quarterback was the 2011 Most Valuable Player in the BCS National Championship, leader of the offense who is 37-4 in games McCarron played, and has a girlfriend nearly as famous as he is thanks to ESPN’s Brent Musburger.
The Crimson Tide’s quarterback is 75-for-110 so far this season, with 882 yards and six touchdown passes.
McCarron has a slew of receivers he goes to, each having the ability to catch just about any ball thrown.
McCarron goes to Christion Jones the most often, but junior DeAndrew White has accomplished the biggest plays for the Crimson Tide this year, averaging 15.2 yards per catch and two touchdowns.
White’s longest touchdown reception was on a 44-yard flea flicker to tie the game at 14 against Texas A&M.
Five other Alabama receivers have touchdown catches this season, including senior Kenny Bell, who had a 51-yard touchdown catch against Texas A&M.
The Crimson Tide’s receivers are fast, so fast they have become Alabama’s number one weapon since former running back Eddie Lacy moved on to the NFL.
Running backs T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake each have a trio of touchdowns on the ground giving Alabama a balanced attack, making them a tough opponent for any caliber of defense.
The Crimson Tide entered the 2013 season after losing four of their defensive starters from the previous season to the NFL.
While they are still stacked with talent, Alabama’s defense has fallen from being known as the best de- fense in college football, as it was known to be in 2011 and 2012.
As of Sept. 29, the Crimson Tide is ranked 27 in the NCAA in total defense, allowing 331 yards per game and a total of 1324 yards this season.
Linebacker C.J. Mosely leads the defense this season with 35 tackles, 19 of them unassisted. Any offense trying to make a big play on the ground has to get through the 6’2”, 232-pound senior first.
Opposing offenses have had some success in the air against Alabama’s pass defense for 910 yards.
It should be noted that a majority of these defensive stats are skewed by Alabama’s Sept. 14 game against Texas A&M.
Texas A&M threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns against the Crimson Tide. Alabama has not allowed any other touchdowns through the air against their other opponents.
Colorado was able to move the ball through the air for 228 yards, but was unable to score any touchdowns in the game.
A major threat for opposing air-attack offenses is defensive back Vinnie Sunseri. Sunseri has two interceptions in Alabama’s four games.
Sunseri’s first interception came against Virginia Tech, running it back for a 38-yard touchdown. His second was against Texas A&M where he ran 73 yards for his second touchdown of the season.
The Crimson Tide defense is not the best in college football, but its ability to make offense feel pain both literally and figuratively is what makes them so hard to beat.