Tuscaloosa, Ala. – Western Carolina was unable to overcome five turnovers and the fifth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, dropping its season finale, 66-3, in a FCS-at-FBS match-up at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Redshirt freshman kicker Julian Pletz provided WCU’s lone points in the loss, connecting on a 38-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Starting in place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers in the winning effort with DeVonta Smith hauling in a pair of scoring strikes of 57 and 15 yards to lead the Crimson Tide. Defensively, Alabama had two players – Xavier McKinney and Jared Mayden – tally two interceptions apiece. McKinney, who also was credited with forcing a fumble, returned one deflection pick 81 yards for a touchdown to stake the home squad to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter.
Catamount redshirt senior QB Tyrie Adams threw for 112 yards on 10-of-19 passing but was sacked three times and a intercepted a career-high four times in the career-ending loss. The St. Petersburg, Fla., native rushed for 28 total yards despite the losses, finishing his historic WCU career with a school-record 11,525 yards of total offense – fifth in Southern Conference football history – that included a WCU-best 8,978 passing yards and 2,547 yards on the ground, fifth in program history.
Junior tight end Owen Cosenke hauled in a team-best four passes for 46 yards, his best performance since a six-catch outing in the season-opener. Junior tailback Donnavan Spencer rushed for a team-high 39 yards and senior counterpart Connell Young had eight as the Catamounts were limited to a combined 67 yards on the ground. Young added a pair of catches for 20 yards while his classmate Nate Mullen was held without a reception for the first time this season.
Defensively for the Catamounts, junior LB Ty Harris paced the squad with eight total tackles and recovered a fumble forced by Torrion Stevenson on a would-be touchdown scoring play in the second quarter. Redshirt senior DB JerMichael White tallied six total hits with Jarquavius Wortham posting the lone tackle for loss by the Catamounts as one of his two stops.
On the day, Alabama (10-1) outgained the Catamounts 541-to-179 in yards of total offense. The Tide scored three touchdowns in both the second and third quarters and recorded five scoring drives of four-or-fewer plays.