By Tommy Deas

Advantage: Alabama
Judging from the opener, Alabama’s offense looks unstoppable with Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback. It will be even better when the running game gets cranked up. Arkansas State likes to run a fast tempo behind quarterback Justice Hansen, who can sling it.

Advantage: Alabama
This Alabama defense may not be as scary as some of the recent past, but the Crimson Tide has playmakers. Quinnen Williams has the look of yet another tough defender in the trenches. Arkansas State gave up 25.8 points per game last season.

Advantage: Alabama
The Crimson Tide has shown explosiveness in the return game from Josh Jacobs and Jaylen Waddle breaking punt returns. The kicking and punting games have room for improvement. Arkansas State ranks sixth in kickoff returns after one week of play.

Advantage: Alabama
Blake Anderson has brought stability to the Arkansas State coaching position after a series of one-and-done coaches that included Gus Malzahn and Hugh Freeze. Alabama has two new coordinators, with Mike Locksley coming off a fine debut running the offense.

Advantage: Arkansas State
Alabama is the clear favorite and the Red Wolves have nothing to lose, but they have shown the ability to hang tough with Power 5 opponents at times. The Crimson Tide usually doesn’t look ahead, but Ole Miss looms next week to start SEC play.

Alabama 49, Arkansas State 10
The Crimson Tide is just too much for Arkansas State, a fine mid-major program that has produced some good coaches. Alabama may not need its top effort to win this game, but will have to play well to completely put away the scrappy Red Wolves.


Joey Chandler
Alabama 55, Arkansas State 0
Alabama puts on a show in front of its home crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The defense records a shutout. The offense dominates.

Cecil Hurt
Alabama 43, Arkansas State 10
Maybe the scoreboard at Bryant-Denny Stadium will lack the computing power to calculate Alabama’s final score but a hot afternoon and an Arkansas State team that can do good things on offense will keep it closer (but not so close that I could go with the 34-7 score from the 1982 meeting).

Ben Jones
Alabama 44, Arkansas State 14
The Crimson Tide offense is a mismatch for the Red Wolves, which gave up 14 in the first half to an FCS program last week. But the young Alabama secondary is apt to give up a score or two late to a talented air attack. The defense is still growing.

Sa’Riah Ponder
Alabama 36, Arkansas State 18
The Crimson Tide had many penalties last week against Louisville. Alabama will not be able to make those mistakes against Arkansas State, a respectable team.

Michael Southern
Alabama 49, Arkansas State 7
There is no mystery around the starting quarterback this week. This will be another learning experience for the Alabama secondary as the Red Wolves will test the young group early and often.

Ben Stansell
Alabama 59, Arkansas State 13
The last time Alabama lost to a non-power five opponent was when Louisiana Monroe upset the Crimson Tide in 2007. Since then, no current non-power five team has been able to come within two touchdowns of Alabama. Nick Saban has beaten such opponents by an average margin of 38 points. Expect Alabama to roll big on Saturday.

Edwin Stanton
Alabama 45, Arkansas State 14
In case you didn’t know (or hear Nick Saban’s postgame comments) Alabama made too many mistakes last week. There will probably be some more today, but not enough to change the outcome. QB Justice Hansen will hit a few big plays for the Red Wolves, but it will come too late to make a difference.

Terrin Waack
Alabama 49, Arkansas State 10
The Crimson Tide has found its man, and his name is Tua Tagovailoa. There’s too much talent on offense for Alabama not to run up the score. Defense cited communication issues for last weekend’s mistakes, but surely that was cleaned up this week in practice and things will be fine.


By Ben Stansell


Brian Robinson Jr., Soph./RB, 6-1/ 221
Key Stat: Averaged 6.9 yards per rushing attempt last season, second most of any Alabama running back
Buzz: Alabama’s backfield is crowded with talent, but Robinson has proven he deserves his share of touches. He runs with a bruising style, showing an ability to squeeze out extra yards on every run. Last season Robinson ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns on just 24 carries. If Alabama jumps out to an early lead, Robinson should see high usage.
LaBryan Ray, Soph./DL, 6-5/294
Key Stat: Made three tackles in last week’s win against Louisville
Buzz: While Ray’s freshman campaign was shortened by injuries, he showed flashes of what made him a 5-star recruit out of Madison, recording five tackles and one sack in only four appearances. Ray’s role will expand this season after Alabama lost several key defensive linemen. Expect him to flourish as a member of the Crimson Tide’s defensive line rotation.
Patrick Surtain Jr., Fr./DB, 6-2/202
Key Stat: Made two tackles in his debut against Louisville
Buzz: Surtain was one of the most highly touted members of Alabama’s 2018 recruiting class and it didn’t take long for him to find the field. The former five-star played extensively at cornerback for Alabama in the second half, recording one solo tackle and assisting in another. With Arkansas State’s penchant for passing, Surtain will be tested in his second contest.


Justice Hansen, Sr./QB, 6-4/224
Key Stat: Threw 37 touchdowns last season, tied for fourth in the nation
Buzz: Heading into his third year as Arkansas State’s starter, Hansen has been prolific through the air for the Red Wolves. In the last two seasons combined, he threw for a combined 6,686 yards and 56 touchdowns. Hansen will challenge Alabama’s secondary with his ability to distribute the ball among Arkansas State’s various offensive weapons.
Marcel Murray, Fr./RB, 5-11/196
Key Stat: Led Arkansas State’s receivers with 75 yards last week
Buzz: Although Murray played his first college game in Arkansas State’s season opening win last week, he had quite the debut. Murray rushed for 54 yards on 10 carries, while catching two passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. He provides the Red Wolves with a dynamic, big-play threat out of the backfield.
Ronheen Bingham, Sr./DE, 6-2/242
Key Stat: Second on the team last season with five sacks
Buzz: Possessing a potent blend of speed and athleticism, Bingham has a knack for putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Not only did he record five sacks last season, he also finished with 22 tackles and two forced fumbles. Alabama’s offensive line will have its hands full keeping Bingham from reaching UA quarterback Tua Tagovailoa from both the interior and edge.