TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — They may not have shocked the world with a win over the No. 1 team in the nation as CSU quarterback Garrett Grayson hoped the Rams could do, but they sure did impress a lot of fans, and even the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Alabama defeated CSU 31-6 on Saturday at Bryant-Deny Stadium in Tuscaloosa in a game in which CSU held the Crimson Tide to 338 yards of total offense after gaining 568 in a high-scoring affair with No. 6 Texas A&M just one week before.
The Rams held the Tide to just 66 yards rushing in the game, and the rest of the offense without a third down conversion for the first three quarters.
“I give a lot of credit to those players,” said Alabama wide receiver DeAndrew White. “They came out to try and win the game, and that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
In a game that nearly everyone from Fort Collins to Tuscaloosa expected to be a blowout, the Rams kept up with the two-time defending national champions with an impressive defensive performance and a whole lot of heart in a game that wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter.
“Our guys stayed toe-to-toe and I’m proud of them,” said CSU head coach Jim McElwain, former offensive coordinator of Alabama. “I think the guys of the other sideline earned some respect for Colorado State University and these Rams and how hard they play the game, it’s disappointing.”
After receiving the ball to begin the game, Alabama’s first drive ended in a missed field goal by kicker Cade Foster on a 46-yard attempt.
The first score of the game came after an 83-yard drive in 4:34 in which Alabama elected to go for it on fourth down, setting up Jalston Fowler to run the ball into the end zone, making the score 7-0 Alabama at the end of the first quarter.
With 12:41 left in the second quarter, Alabama blocked the punt by CSU’s Hayden Hunt and ran it back for the score, giving the Tide a 14-0 lead.
Alabama held a 17-0 lead over the Rams at the end of the half after a 46-yard field goal by Foster.
The Rams (1-3) came out of the half playing their best football of the game. As Alabama (3-0) headed into Ram territory, Bernard Blake picked off a pass from McCarron to give the Rams the ball. Grayson and company drove down the field quickly. Kicker Jared Roberts put the Rams on the scoreboard for the first time in the game with his 13th consecutive made field goal to make it a two-possession game.
After stalling an Alabama drive, Roberts made it 14 consecutive with a 31-yard field goal and a cut into Alabama’s lead, 17-6. CSU then forced the Tide into a quick three and out but during the Rams drive, Grayson fumbled, giving the ball to the Tide on the Rams 30-yard line. The very first play from scrimmage turned into a touchdown for Alabama as they took a 24-6 lead over the Rams.
“That was hard and I kind of let the team down with that one,” Grayson said of his fumble. “I was just trying to make a play. I have to be more secure with the ball and take care of it.”
Grayson finished the game 24-38 for 228 yards.
After the Grayson fumble, any momentum CSU had gained disappeared in the fourth quarter. With 1:13 left in the game, the Tide took all hope away from the Rams on a 14-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Blake Sims to receiver Chris Black to give the Tide the victory in their first home game of the season.
Football Beat Reporter Katie O’Keefe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org