No. 2 Alabama faces New Mexico State in home opener
New Mexico State (0-1) at No. 2 Alabama (1-0), Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT (SEC Network).
Line: Alabama by 55 1/2.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Alabama hasn’t lost a home opener under coach Nick Saban and has won 26 consecutive games at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Aggies get another shot at a Top 25 team after dropping the opener to No. 22 Washington State, 58-7.
Alabama’s young defenders against New Mexico State’s offense. It’s another chance for players like freshmen DJ Dale, Christian Harris and Shane Lee — plus some young backups — to gain experience on a defense hit hard by injuries at linebacker and players leaving for the NFL draft.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
New Mexico State: RB/RS Jason Huntley led the nation with three kickoff returns for touchdowns last season. He also produced 500-plus yards both rushing and receiving.
Alabama: RB Najee Harris might not get a lot of carries if the game goes as expected, but this game does represent a chance to get the running game going.
FACTS & FIGURES
Alabama is 4-5 against independent teams, with all the losses coming against Notre Dame. ... The Tide has won 17 straight home openers, going 12-0 under Saban. Saban is 21-2 in a season’s first home game as a head coach. Alabama has also won 83 consecutive games against unranked teams, the longest streak in FBS history. ... New Mexico State allowed 618 total yards against Washington State, including 507 passing. ... New Mexico State comes into the game on a three-game losing streak dating to last season.