It wasn’t that long ago – 2013 – that the Colorado State Rams made the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide work for a win in Tuscaloosa. Although the Rams are 28.5-point underdogs heading into this Saturday’s showdown with the (again) No. 1 Crimson Tide, Peter Burns of SEC Network says the Rams will get their chances.

“I don’t think there’s a doubt [Alabama will win],” Burns told Gil Whiteley and Mark Jackson on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 on Wednesday. “But I think it’s an opportunity. It’s a litmus test, right? How close can you be? Listen, Jalen Hurts is a pretty phenomenal athlete. What he’ll do and the way he moves the pocket around for Alabama is nothing short of fantastic.”

The last time CSU traveled to Alabama, A.J. McCarron was 20-for-26 for 268 yards with a touchdown and an interception. This time around, they’ll be facing a a quarterback in Hurts who this season has more rushing attempts (25) than completions (24), nearly as many rushing yards (209) as passing yards (224) and an equal number passing and rushing touchdowns (2). Hurts is a dual-threat quarterback the likes of which Alabama has never really seen.

“If you go back and look, Alabama has not had a game-changing quarterback,” Burns said. “In fact, this may be as good and talented as they’ve ever had. They’ve always had quote-unqote game managers. Now, the difference with Jalen is that he can extend the pocket with his feet; he’s that quick and that good of an athlete.”

According to Burns Alabama will lean heavily on Hurts’ running ability, along with the three-headed backfield of Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough and Najee Harris, against the Rams. CSU surrendered 143 yards and a touchdown on the ground in a loss to Colorado and 151 yards and a touchdown in a win over Oregon State earlier this year.

“I think [it] will be a situation where ‘Bama will try to win it just like they did at Florida State,” Burns told Whiteley and Jackson, “where they’ll just try to demolish, stopping the run real quick and then just run the ball 65 time and then just take a couple of plays here and there.”

Those couple of plays is where Burns thinks Colorado State has an opportunity for success against Hurts.

“The only thing is, Hurts is – where CSU can strike some gold here – they’re trying develop Hurts a little more as a pocket passer and try to work on his routes a little bit downfield and in the middle of the field. So, I think that’s something Bobo and those guys can kind of take a look at and say, ‘There is some hay to be made.'”

Colorado State was opportunistic against Oregon State, picking off Jake Luton three times. They had two against Steven Montez in the loss to Colorado, so the potential is there to make some momentum-shifting plays.

“I think that they (Alabama) have put Jalen Hurts in a very safe spot, but it hasn’t led to a whole lot of offensive production, which frankly you don’t need when you’re Alabama,” Burns said. “But I think that’s something, that if they (CSU) throw some exotic looks at him, I think they’re going to want Hurts to throw the ball a little more, it could lead to some turnovers.”

Colorado and Alabama square off on ESPN 2 at 5 p.m. MDT on Saturday. The game can also be heard in Denver on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7.

Listen to Sorry – this audio content is no longer available., including his early Heisman Trophy candidates, in the podcast below.

Sorry – this audio content is no longer available.

Catch Gil Whiteley and Mark Jackson every weekday from 11a-noon on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.