KICKOFF: Saturday, 12:21 p.m. ET
SITE: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
TV: ESPN3, PPV
SERIES: Alabama leads Georgia State 1-0 after a 63-7 rout on Nov. 18, 2010. The Panthers started the football program just four years ago.
AP RANKINGS: Alabama No. 1, Georgia State unranked
KEYS TO THE GAME
The Crimson Tide's heavy lifting appears to be over until November. Of their four games this month, they face no one higher in the Sagarin rankings than No. 49 Arkansas (Oct. 19).
They also take their swings at two other SEC pinatas -- Kentucky next week and Tennessee on Oct. 26. Saturday, they step out of conference to face a first-year FBS program, 0-4 Georgia State.
Under no circumstances should this be a competitive game in the second half. It figures to be a forum for Alabama to use its reserves for a half, maybe more if its starters get business done early.
"There is nothing to be taken for granted in any team that you play," coach Nick Saban said. "I think the best way to do that is focus on who you are, what you're doing, how you want to improve and how you want to play to be the best player you can be. That is certainly going to be our focus for this week."
Alabama's 25-0 blanking of explosive Ole Miss last week tabled questions about the viability of Alabama's defense. In fact, the Tide has allowed just two field goals since Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel rolled up 42 points on them last month.
While it may not have the shutdown corner that it has had for most of Saban's six-plus seasons in Tuscaloosa, Alabama still has a front seven that can dominate any line of scrimmage. Ole Miss managed just 205 yards.
The biggest thing Saban got from that game was his team's willingness and ability to compete when Ole Miss got physical. It's the identity the Tide's recent national champions have had and the identity this team must attain on a weekly basis.
Saban said, "The question now is: Are we going to be able to build on this, continue to improve as a team and not be satisfied with where we are so that we can improve and get better execution and improve consistency in things that we do and how we play?"
PLAYERS TO WATCH
--LB C.J. Mosley was named Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Ole Miss. Mosley, who in his career has usually saved his best games for spread offense teams such as the Rebels, finished with seven stops and a pass breakup. Mosley also shared a tackle for loss with DE Jeoffrey Pagan, recording a fourth-quarter safety that made it 18-0.
--QB AJ McCarron completed a career-high 25 passes in 32 attempts for 180 yards last week, but he threw his third interception in four games. In 14 games last year, McCarron threw just three picks against 30 TD passes. Alabama had no completion longer than 17 yards, unusual because it has been very efficient at pushing the ball downfield over the last season-plus.
--K Cade Foster enjoyed the best game of his career, drilling first half-field goals of 28, 53 and 42 yards to give the Tide a 9-0 halftime lead. Foster had tried just two field goals in the first three games as Alabama had scored 13 TDs. He has hit his last four since missing a 46-yarder against Colorado State.