• No. 2 Alabama, Saban look to improve to 12-1 in SEC openers

    By: The Associated Press

    Updated:

    No. 2 Alabama (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at South Carolina (1-1, 0-0), Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EDT (CBS).

    Line: Alabama by 25 1/2.

    Series record: Alabama leads 12-3.

    WHAT'S AT STAKE?

    Alabama is looking to start SEC play with a win for the 12th time in 13 league openers under coach Nick Saban. The lone loss was a 43-37 defeat by Ole Miss in 2015. The Gamecocks hope to make a significant splash, both with their fans and nationally, with an upset.

    KEY MATCHUP

    Alabama's defense against South Carolina freshman quarterback Ryan Hilinski. The Crimson Tide have given up less a touchdown a game in beating Duke and New Mexico State. They will try and make Hilinski, in just his second college game, hurry his decisions and pressure him nearly every down.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy: The 6-foot-1 junior already has 18 catches for 240 yards and four touchdowns. He will give South Carolina's secondary headaches.

    South Carolina DL Javon Kinlaw: If the Gamecocks hope to have any chance, they'll need to pressure Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Kinlaw's had two sacks among his five tackles this season.

    FACTS & FIGURES

    Alabama has won 23 straight games against SEC East opponents since South Carolina's 35-21 win at Williams-Brice Stadium in 2010, the last time these teams met. In that one, the Gamecocks were led by coach Steve Spurrier and featured future Super Bowl champions WR Alshon Jeffery and CB Stephon Gilmore. It was the first and only time South Carolina defeated a No. 1 ranked football team. ... South Carolina senior quarterback Jake Bentley is out for the season with a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot. He plans to have surgery. ... South Carolina coach Will Muschamp was Saban's defensive coordinator at LSU from 2001-04. Muschamp followed Saban to the Miami Dolphins for a season in 2005 before returning to college. ... It's the second time this season Muschamp has faced a former employer after North Carolina coach Mack Brown in the opener. Muschamp coached at Texas under Brown. ... South Carolina leads the SEC in rushing offense at 310 yards a game. Alabama tops the league in overall defense, holding opponents to 233 yards.

    ___

    More AP college football: http://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

    Next Up: