TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - No. 4 Alabama coach Nick Saban's mantra this week has been "start fast and finish strong."
The Crimson Tide has managed the latter in its first two games going into Saturday's visit from 38-point underdog North Texas.
But Alabama hasn't been able to take control until late against either Virginia Tech or Florida International.
Jumping out early on North Texas (1-1) wouldn't just make the coach happy, it might also help the Tide rest some players and get some youngsters more experience before the Southeastern Conference opener against Western Division rival Arkansas. Then comes league road trips to Kentucky and No. 5 Mississippi.
Receiver Julio Jones (bruised knee) and tailback Roy Upchurch (high ankle sprain) are nursing injuries.