QUICK HITS: After two tough weeks in a row (LSU, Texas A&M), the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide got some…
Alabama took a 49-0 win over Western Carolina in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tide had scored its seven touchdowns after the first possession of the second half.
Alabama, ranked fourth in the nation, improved to 10-1 as Bama bounced back from its only loss of the year. Western Carolina concluded its season with its 10th consecutive loss and a 1-10 campaign.
Alabama concludes regular season play next week when the Crimson Tide hosts the Auburn Tigers at 2:30 p.m. CST in Bryant-Denny Stadium. CBS will televise the game. A Bama win sends the Tide to Atlanta for the Southeastern Conference Championship Game against Georgia on December 1.
Eddie Lacy scored three rushing touchdowns, A.J. McCarron threw his 21st touchdown pass of the season, and Deion Belue picked up a fumble and ran it back for a touchdown.
Bama, of course, dominated statistically. Alabama had 22 first downs to 8 for Western Carolina. The Tide rushed 40 times for 300 yards and completed 8-12 passes for 160 yards for total offense of 52 plays for 460 yards. The Catamounts had 28 rushes for 70 yards and completed 8-20 passes for 93 yards for total offense of 48 plays for 163 yards. Both teams lost a fumble. Alabama suffered only one penalty (for 15 yards) while WCU was penalized 8 times for 49 yards. Bama converted 6-9 third down plays, Western Carolina only 2-11. Alabama had five Red Zone scoring chances and scored touchdowns on all five.
Lacy had 10 carries for 99 yards, back-up quarterback Blake Sims 8-70, T.J. Yeldon 7-55, and Brent Calloway 7-52. McCarron completed all six of his pass attempts for 133 yards and a touchdown, while Sims was 2-6 for 27 yards. Amari Cooper had two catches for 50 yards, Cyrus Jones two for 12 yards, Kenny Bell 1-34, and Christion Jones one reception, a 29-yard touchdown play.
Cody Mandell had only two punting opportunities and averaged 42 yards.
Eddie Sullivan was WCU's top offensive man, rushing 4 times for 28 yards and completing 4-12 passes for 63 yards.
C.J. Mosley led Bama with six tackles. Nick Perry had five and Nico Jonson and Brandon Ivory four each.
Alabama scored three first quarter touchdowns on a total of just 13 offensive plays that covered 168 yards. At the half, Bama had 42 points on just 28 offensive plays that had gained 338 yards. The Tide also had a fumble return for a touchdown.
There were a couple of anxious moments on Alabama's first touchdown drive, but in hindsight it was pretty easy. The Tide went 62 yards in six plays with Eddie Lacy going over left tackle for a seven-yard touchdown. Bama had reached first and goal inside the one, but a mishandled handoff between AJ McCarron and Lacy (recovered by McCarron) put the ball back at the seven. McCarron connected on passes of 14 and 36 yards to freshman wide receiver Amari Cooper in the drive. Jeremy Shelley kicked it to 7-0 with 12:06 left in the first quarter.
After the Tide held the Catamounts on a three-and-out, Christion Jones took a punt on one bounce at the Bama 28 and returned it 28 yards up the middle. From the 44 it took just four plays for T.J. Yeldon to go over from four yards out and a 14-0 Tide lead. McCarron had a 22-yard pass to tight end Michael Williams to get the drive started and Yeldon set up the short touchdown run with a nice 15-yard scamper. The drive took just 1:56.
The Tide made it 21-0 with a three-play, 62-yard drive that took just 1:23. McCarron hit Kenny Bell on a 34-yard gain to the WCU 28. Lacy went for 21 yards at right end, and then from the seven on first-and-goal Lacy went up the middle for the touchdown with 4:10 remaining in the first quarter.
The pace of Alabama scoring slowed down just a little bit after Western Carolina punted the Tide back to its one-yard line. Still, it looked easy as Bama went 99 yards in eight plays in 4:59 to make it 28-0. McCarron's school record 21st touchdown pass of 29 yards to Christion Jones ended the march. Along the way Yeldon had a run of 15 yards, McCarron a 24-yard scramble, and Lacy a 15-yard run.
The Tide made it 35-0 before halftime with Blake Sims taking over at quarterback for the final Bama drive. Alabama went 71 yards in seven plays, taking 3:47, with Lacy going in from three yards out with 3:47 remaining in the second quarter. Lacy had runs of 20 and 15 yards and Sims had runs of 11 and 9 and also completed a 13-yard pass to Marvin Shinn along the way.
Bama's final touchdown of the first half required no offensive plays. After a rare Tide mistake, Christion Jones fumbling a punt and giving the ball to the Catamounts with under a minute to play in Alabama territory, the visitors tried a trick play, a backwards pass that was incomplete, and therefore a fumble. Tide cornerback Deion Belue picked it up and returned it for a touchdown with just 27 seconds remaining until intermission, and giving Alabama a 42-0 halftime lead. Although it appeared to be about a 64-yard runback, the official yardage was 57 yards.
No one expected the second half to be different than the first, and it started poorly for the Catamounts. After WCU went three-and-out and punted, Bama marched 61 yards in 10 plays to make it 49-0. Bama had its second offense in the game with Blake Sims doing the heavy work at quarterback and Brent Calloway at tailback. Calloway had three carries for 17 yards in the drive, and Sims had 5 for 57, including three third down runs for first downs and a five-yard run for the touchdown with 7:15 to play in the third quarter.
With the clock running after incomplete passes and Bama using back-up players throughout the second half, there was no more scoring.