RAT POISON: 5 expectations for Alabama vs. Mercer

·3 min read

The top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide earned a win over then-No. 14 Miami in the season opening contest. Though the game was expected to end with an Alabama win, such a dominant performance from a young team was not fully expected.

For the Week 2 matchup, the Crimson Tide will welcome in Mercer for their home-opener.

According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, Alabama has a 99.9% chance of winning the game. So, while there may not be many game-related storylines to follow, there are multiple things to keep an eye on as the Crimson Tide takes the field.

5. The defense (overall)

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Alabama's defense did a stellar job protecting against the run and the pass against Miami. Mercer is a team that scored 69 points in their season-opening contest against Point University. Mercer clearly likes to score and will utilize a variety of methods to reach the end zone. Miami passed a lot more than they ran, could Mercer look to shake things up and use both the run and pass game to hit Alabama on both ends? It's all about how the defense responds.

4. Alabama's run game

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Brian Robinson showed out against Miami, and gave fans no reason to doubt his abilities as the team's RB1. However, Alabama is not a team that prefers to lean heavily one just one guy (with exception to Najee Harris). Four different running backs got carries last Saturday, with the fewest amount of carries by one back being six. It's clear the depth chart below Robinson is far from solidified. Be on the look out to see the run game on full display with numerous running backs getting more than a few carries.

3. Drew Sanders

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With Chris Allen out for the season due to a foot injury he sustained against Miami that will require surgery, there are big shoes to fill in the outside linebacker spot. Nick Saban recently named Drew Sanders, a sophomore, as Allen's replacement. Sanders, a former five-star recruit, is a heavy-hitting, quick linebacker that will quickly have his name known all across the nation. Be on the lookout this Saturday against Mercer, as he tries to prove he's worthy of being the starter.

2. Bryce Young

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Alabama's sophomore quarterback made his debut as the starter against Miami and managed to break a slew of records. 344 passing yards, four touchdowns and some impressive decision making. He certainly impressed the masses. But what else can he do? If Saban and the coaching staff wants to try out some things with Young's skills and abilities, this is a great game to do it. Test a not-terrible Mercer defense with some risky moves put on by Young.

1. The scoreboard

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Alabama managed to put up 44 points against a Miami defense that many had praised heading into the Week 1 game, especially their secondary. Bryce Young & co. made reaching the end zone look too east against the Hurricanes. Obviously there are the unwritten rules and a matter of respect that should force Alabama to stop scoring after it becomes apparent that it's getting excessive. However, this game might be one of the Crimson Tide's highest-scoring games all season. A home opener, some risky play calling, young stars fighting for a higher position on the depth chart and a full Bryant Denny Stadium? This has all the workings to be an entertaining show put on by Alabama.

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