The Alabama Crimson Tide proved to be too much for Fresno State on Saturday, backing up its No. 1 ranking with a 41-10 victory over the Bulldogs in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
In head coach Jeff Tedford’s second game at the helm, the Bulldogs struggled to defend against the run, a problem that has plagued the team for years. Although Fresno State lost by a substantial margin, Tedford found positives in the team’s performance.
“Of course we didn’t accomplish what we came here to do, but I was pleased with the team in the second half,” Tedford said after the game at the press conference. “It would have been easy to roll over. We had a couple of goal-line stands in the second half, so I thought the guys competed all the way through.”
Fresno State quarterback Chason Virgil led a few long drives against the Tide’s defense, but only pushed the Bulldogs to the end zone once. Virgil completed 21 of 34 pass attempts for 180 yards with the one touchdown. He also threw an interception in the fourth quarter.
“I kind of already knew what type of team we were,” Virgil said. “I knew we were some guys that are tough, and we can play with anybody. This is the No. 1 team in the country, and it was a great opportunity to play, and we played really hard.”
Alabama quarterback and reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jalen Hurts impressed with his arm, but sliced up the ‘Dogs’ defense with his running.
On the second play of the game, Hurts ran right by Fresno State’s defense for a 55-yard touchdown, giving the Crimson Tide the early momentum.
“You get down so early like that, and the momentum really goes in the other direction,” Tedford said. “It would be really easy to say, ‘Yeah, that’s what we thought it would be; these guys are unbelievable.’ But we kept playing hard.”
Hurts ended with 128 yards and a touchdown through the air, as well as a game-high 154 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
“He did a great job today,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “He threw the ball to the right place, was accurate with the ball, he kind of took what the defense gave.”
Fresno State wide receiver Derrion Grim scored the ‘Dogs’ lone touchdown – a 26-yard catch from Virgil in the fourth quarter.
Bulldogs’ linebacker Jeffrey Allison was the leader on defense en route to a career-high 14 tackles.
Fresno State’s offensive line set the tone for the offense and continually gave the team a chance to make something happen. Alabama’s front seven consists of multiple four- and five-star recruits, but the ‘Dogs’ offensive line gave up only one sack.
Although Fresno State does not have to play the No. 1 team in the country again next week, the ‘Dogs have another tough game. The Bulldogs travel to Seattle to play another College Football Playoff team – the University of Washington.