No. 2 Alabama faces New Mexico State in home opener

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              FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2019, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban prepares for a team coach photo prior to Alabama's fall camp fan-day NCAA college football scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. This is the time of year when the Southeastern Conference usually validates its claim as the best league in college football by dominating neutral-site nonconference matchups. The SEC is 21-6 in regular-season nonconference games against Power Five opponents at neutral sites since 2012. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)
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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.

KEY MATCHUP

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.