Nov. 17, 2012
Tuscaloosa, Ala. - Fourth-ranked Alabama scored rushing touchdowns on four of its first five possessions, adding a 29-yard passing TD to cap a 99-yard drive en route to a 49-0 nonconference victory over Western Carolina Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama (10-1) scored on six of its first seven possessions including all five in the first half, adding a 57-yard fumble return for a touchdown to carry a 42-0 advantage into halftime. The Crimson Tide got three rushing touchdowns from Eddie Lacy, who just missed eclipsing the century mark with 99 yards on 10 carries.
Back-up quarterback Blake Sims capped the game's scoring in the third quarter with a five-yard run to provide the final tally.
"(Alabama's) a great program and a great coaching staff, a bunch of great players and fans. They're an excellent football team that we could not stop. We can take some positives away...We're just proud of our players in the second half," said WCU first-year head coach Mark Speir.
"When you're getting into an ugly ball game like that, our players didn't quit playing, they kept fighting. At halftime we were going to play for 30 more minutes and see where our program is at, in an infant stage where we are trying to build our program. Our players played hard and kept fighting. I'm just proud of them now that our season is done. We will get on to the 2013 schedule on Monday, but just congratulations to Alabama."
Western Carolina (1-10) managed 163 yards of total offense which included 123 yards in the second half against the Crimson Tide defense. Starting quarterback Troy Mitchell threw for 30 yards on 4-of-8 passing and was sacked once, but also had a costly turnover on a throwback pass to his QB counterpart, Eddie Sullivan, which the Tide turned into a 57-yard fumble recovery touchdown.
Sullivan finished 4-of-12 passing for 63 yards, adding a team-high 28 yards rushing.
Senior tailback Michael Johnson caught a team-high five passes out of the backfield while junior Jamil James led the team with WCU's long gain of the day on his first career reception - a 30-yard reception in the third quarter.
Defensively for the Catamounts, true freshman Sertonuse Harris finished with eight tackles while redshirt sophomore Ace Clark tallied five. Junior linebacker Courtland Carson and senior defensive lineman Eric Banford both tallied tackles for loss on the afternoon.
Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron only played in the first half, completing all six of his pass attempts for 133 yards and the 29-yard touchdown toss to Christion Jones. McCarron's scoring strike set an Alabama record for passing touchdowns in a single-season. Sims completed two of his six attempts for 27 yards.
Trailing 35-0 just before the half, Western Carolina was unable to capitalize on Alabama's lone turnover of the day. WCU had a drive continue after Christion Jones muffed a punt at the Alabama 28-yard line. However, two plays after the turn of fortune, Mitchell's lateral back to Sullivan hit the turf and was scooped for a 57-yard scoring drive.
The Catamounts managed to drive deep into Crimson Tide territory on its second possession of the second half, but failed to convert a fourth and one at the Alabama 14 yard line.
The loss concludes the season for the Catamounts. WCU dropped 10-straight games after winning its 2012 season-opener.