No. 4 Alabama rolls past Western Carolina
Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) - Eddie Lacy rushed for 99 yards and three touchdowns as No. 4 Alabama rolled over Western Carolina, 49-0, at Bryant- Denny Stadium.
AJ McCarron completed all six of his passes for 133 yards and a touchdown before getting removed in the second quarter after the Crimson Tide (10-1) had jumped out to a comfortable lead.
Blake Sims replaced McCarron for the remainder of the game and completed 2- of-6 passes for 27 yards while adding 70 yards and a score on eight carries as Alabama rebounded from its first loss of the season.
"I was pleased with the way our guys competed in the game today," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Our guys played the way we wanted to play. We improved as a team and had a good week of practice. Everything is ahead of us as a team."
Troy Mitchell started the game for Western Carolina (1-10) and was held to just 30 yards on 4-of-8 passes and six yards on nine carries.
Eddie Sullivan entered next and was just as ineffective, going 4-for-12 through the air for 63 yards as the Catamounts were held to just 163 total yards on offense.
"They're an excellent football team that we could not stop," Western Carolina coach Mark Speir said about Alabama.
Alabama received the ball first and marched right down the field to take the lead as Amari Cooper had receptions of 14 and 36 yards to highlight a 6-play, 62-yard drive Lacy capped with a 7-yard touchdown run.
Christion Jones' 28-yard punt return set the Crimson Tide up on offense at the Western Carolina 44 following a three-and-out by the Catamounts, and Michael Williams' 22-yard catch set up T.J. Yeldon's 3-yard rumble across the goal line for a 14-0 lead with 7:58 left in the first quarter.
Alabama added to its lead on its next touch with a 3-play drive that included a 34-yard grab by Kenny Bell and a 21-yard run by Lacy before Lacy pushed the ball into the end zone from seven yards out.
Western Carolina then recorded its first first down of the contest and moved the ball into Alabama territory with a 28-yard reception by Garrett Brown, but Mitchell was sacked for an 8-yard loss on the next play and the Catamounts were again forced to punt after a pair of short runs by Michael Vaughn and Mitchell.
The punt was downed at the Alabama 1-yard line, but the Crimson Tide needed just eight plays to drive the length of the field as McCarron reeled off a 24- yard run before finding Jones for a 29-yard score and a 28-0 lead with 8:17 left in the second quarter.
Sims replaced McCarron under center from there and led a 7-play, 71-yard trek that included just one pass and was finished off by a 3-yard TD run by Lacy.
Lacy carried the ball four times for 38 yards on the scoring drive.
Western Carolina seemed poised to get on the board within the final minute of the second quarter after Jones muffed a punt and the Catamounts recovered the ball at the Alabama 29, but two plays later, Mitchell's backwards pass was dropped and Deion Belue returned the fumble 57 yards for a score, giving the Crimson tide a 42-0 advantage at the break.
After Alabama added to its lead with a 5-yard rushing touchdown by Sims on its first touch of the third quarter, the Catamounts put together their best drive of the game, moving the ball inside the Crimson Tide's red zone.
But Western Carolina decided to go for it on a 4th-and-1 at the Alabama 14 and Michael Johnson was stuffed for no gain to turn the ball over on downs with 1:15 left in the third quarter.
The teams traded punts throughout the fourth quarter to run out the remainder of the clock.
Alabama racked up 460 total yards on offense ... McCarron's touchdown pass gave him 21 for the season, setting an Alabama single-season record ... Yeldon finished with 55 yards on seven carries ... Lacy carried the ball 10 times ... Sullivan was the Catamounts leading rusher with 28 yards on four carries ... Alabama was 6-for-9 on third-down conversions, while Western Carolina was 2- for-11 on third downs.
11/17 16:28:50 ET