The Alabama Crimson Tide roared back to beat Ole Miss on Saturday and take an 8-2 record into this matchup against 7-3 Austin Peay of the FCS.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys for Alabama to avoid an upset:
1 – Limit Bryce Young
Bryce Young threw three touchdown passes as Alabama came back to beat the Rebels in a game it looked like they were out of. He has repeatedly played out of his skin to carry a Crimson Tide offense that hasn’t been firing. However, Young isn’t healthy. He isn’t pushing the ball down the field, and his passes have noticeably less zip than they did last year. This is a chance to get Young some rest. This is a scrimmage for ‘Bama, so getting Young some work early and then getting him out of the game would be ideal.
2 – Don’t Turn it Over
Alabama is the better team, and – as we have said before – the better team will win if they play a mistake-free game. Austin Peay needs to generate extra possessions to have a chance in Tuscaloosa, but if their last game against Kennesaw State is anything to go by, then they have the players to make that happen. The Governors turned the Owls over five times – including a pair of picks by Demetrius Ford – in a 31-14 win. Turnovers breed turnovers, and Austin Peay is in a turnover mode right now.
3 – Jahmyr Gibbs’ Health
Jahmyr Gibbs was MIA for Alabama in the second half against Ole Miss after turning his ankle before halftime. Gibbs leads the Alabama rushing attack with 110 carries for 774 yards and six touchdowns on the season, and the Tide doesn’t pose the same rushing threat when he isn’t on the field. The combination of Jase McClellan and Roydell Williams will likely be fine in this one, but seeing Gibbs back out there would be good with the games to follow.