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ALABAMA FIRST LOOK: FRESNO STATE

Jeff Tedford

On Saturday the Alabama Crimson Tide faces Fresno State in the 2017 home opener.  Here is your first look at the Fresno State Bulldogs.

SEASON SO FAR

Fresno State opened its season on Saturday with a 66-0 home victory over Incarnate Word of the FCS Southland Conference. FSU is currently rated 110th out 130 teams by the Massey Ratings system. Since the turn of the century, Fresno State has missed bowl games only in 2011, 2015 and 2016. The Bulldogs, who now have veteran head coach Jeff Tedford running the program, piled up over 600 yards of offense against Incarnate Word. The Bulldogs scored 34 points in the first half and 32 more points in the third quarter before Tedford mercifully called off the dogs. The official stats show only three drives in the fourth quarter so it's entirely possible that a continuously running clock was used in the fourth quarter, which was the right thing to do.

Sophomore quarterback Chason Virgil went 16-of-29 through the air for 246 yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver KeeSean Johnson posted his second career 100-yard contest totaling 120 yards on seven receptions while true freshman Ronnie Rivers, the first 'Dog to start at running back since 1980, added 60 yards on nine carries and a TD.

INJURIES AND SUSPENSIONS

Fifth year running back Dontel James announced he was medically retiring from football just before the season. He had suffered several significant injuries during his career.

CHALLENGES

This Fresno State team is hard to figure. They played a very low-level team in their opener but won by a blowout. The Tide can't afford to assume that because they beat Florida State that they are infallible. Jeff Tedford's getting Alabama right at the best time, after a huge victory. The Crimson Tide should win easily but it wouldn't be unheard of for the Bulldogs to put up a fight and keep things fairly close. That's where the danger is. When you play someone close you at least have a chance at the end of the game. When that happens, anything can happen.

Saturday's game kicks off at 2:30 pm CT and can be seen on ESPN2.



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