(4) Alabama - 49, Western Carolina - 0
November 17, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Running back Eddie Lacy rushed for three first-half touchdowns
while gaining 99 yards on 10 carries as fourth-ranked Alabama (10-1 overall;
6-1 in the Southeastern Conference) made quick work of Western Carolina (1-10;
0-8 in the Southern Conference) in a 49-0 shutout of the Catamounts before a
crowd of 101,126 on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Brent Calloway (21) takes off during the Alabama vs
Western Carolina football game.
Photo Credit - Vasha Hunt/al.com
The Alabama defense held WCU to 163 total yards while earning its third shutout
of the season. Meanwhile, the Tide offense amassed 460 total yards while
rushing for an even 300 yards and passing for 160. The Tide converted six
of nine third-down plays into first downs and averaged 8.8 yards per play
on the afternoon. Carolina was limited to 70 rushing yards and only eight
Alabama's early dominance gave the Crimson Tide a chance to rest its starters
for much of the game to set up a crucial season-ending home game with arch-rival
Auburn with the Southeastern Conference Western Division title on the line. The
Crimson Tide wasted little time, scoring on their first three possessions to
create an opportunity for their starters to rest with the annual clash with
Auburn awaiting one week away. Alabama scored on every offensive possession
of the first half and began resting starters in the second quarter as the game
was quickly out of reach.
Alabama scored on drives of 62, 44 and 62 yards on successive drives in the
first period to gain a 21-0 lead in the game's first 10:50, then continued
building on that lead through the remainder of the first half. The Crimson
Tide amassed a 338-40 edge in total offense during the first half, including
a 16-2 margin in first downs and a 192-15 margin in rushing yardage while
scoring on all five of its first half possessions.
Alabama took the opening kickoff and marched 62 yards in six plays to a touchdown.
A 14-yard pass from quarterback AJ McCarron to wide receiver Amari Cooper
started the drive. Running back Eddie Lacy rushed over right end for six yards
on the next play, the gained five more on the following play. McCarron and
Cooper then hooked up on the biggest play of the march, a 36-yard completion
on a crossing pattern that ended with Cooper being forced out of bounds inside
the WCU one-yard line. On the next play, McCarron fumbled as he turned to
handoff to Lacy, losing six yards to the WCU seven. But that only delayed the
touchdown as Lacy took a handoff on the next snap and ran seven yards over left
end for the touchdown to give Alabama a 7-0 lead with 12:06 remaining following
Jeremy Shelley's conversion kick.
After forcing a punt on Carolina's first possession, Alabama quickly set up
another score when Christion Jones returned a punt off a bounce 28 yards to
set up the Tide at the WCU 44. On the first play, McCarron connected with
tight end Michael Williams for 22 yards along the right sideline to the Carolina
22. Running back T.J. Yeldon then carried for four yards to the 18, then Yeldon
took a handoff off left end for 15 more yards to the Carolina three-yard line.
Yeldon concluded the drive on the next play, taking a handoff off left guard
for three yards and a touchdown to give Alabama a 14-0 lead with 7:58 remaining
in the first quarter.
Alabama forced another three-and-out by Carolina, setting up its offense at the
Tide 38 following a punt. McCarron opened the drive with a 34-yard strike to
wide receiver Kenny Bell down the middle of the field to the Carolina 28. On
the next play, Lacy took a handoff over right tackle and rumbled 21 yards to
the Carolina seven-yard line. Lacy then finished off the three-play, 62-yard
scoring march by taking a handoff and running up the middle for seven yards
and a score to give Alabama a 21-0 lead with 4:10 remaining in the first quarter.
Carolina responded by putting together a scoring threat on its next possession,
which started at its own 25 after a touchback on the kickoff. Quarterback Troy
Mitchell started the drive by keeping for nine yard and running back Darius
Ramsey gained two on a third-and-one to the WCU 36. After a Ramsey rush failed
to gain, Mitchell passed to wide receiver Garrett Brown across the middle for a
28-yard gain to the Tide 36. On the next play, Mitchell was sacked for a loss
of eight on a safety blitz by Alabama's Vinnie Sunseri on the final play of the
first period. Facing second-and-18 at the Alabama 44, running back Michael Vaughn
gained one on a draw play before Mitchell was stopped for no gain on a keeper on
a third-and-17 at the Alabama 43, forcing a punt.
The Alabama offense took possession at its own one-yard line following the
Carolina punt and marched 99 yards in eight plays consuming 4:59 of game
clock. Yeldon carried over left guard for four yards to start the possession,
and then gained four more on a run off right tackle. On third-and-two, Yeldon
took a handoff off right end for 15 yards and a first down at the Tide 24. On
the next play, McCarron couldn't find an open receiver, but took advantage of
a seam in the Carolina defense to tuck the ball and run, gaining 24 yards
behind good blocking to the Tide 48.
McCarron's first-down screen pass to receiver Cyrus Jones lost two, then Yeldon
took a handoff on a power sweep to the left side for 10 yards to set up a
third-and-two at the Carolina 44. Lacy took a handoff off left tackle for
15 yards to a first down at the Carolina 29, then McCarron capped the drive
with a 29-yard strike to wide out Christion Jones down the left sideline for
a touchdown and a 28-0 Alabama lead with 8:15 left in the second quarter. The
touchdown strike was McCarron's 21st of the 2012 season, setting a new Alabama
single-season record for touchdown passes.
That ended McCarron's day. He ended his short day of work with 133 yards passing
while completing all six attempts for one touchdown without an interception.
After another WCU punt on the next possession set up Alabama at its own 29,
Blake Sims entered as the Tide's quarterback and led another scoring drive
with the starting unit. On the first play, Sims handed to Lacy who rushed
off left guard for 20 yards to the 49. Sims rushed over left tackle for 11
to the WCU 40. Lacy gained 15 on a run over right tackle and Sims rolled right
and passed to Marvin Shinn for 14 to the WCU 12. Sims then kept for nine yards
to the Catamount three before a run by Lacy was stopped for no gain on second
down. On third-and-one at the WCU 3, Lacy took a handoff, avoided a tackler
and scored off the left end with 3:02 left in the second quarter. Shelley's
point-after kick gave Alabama a 35-0 lead following the 71-yard, seven-play march.
After a fumble on a punt set up the Catamounts at the Tide 29-yard line in the
final minute of the first half, a trick play went awry and led to another
Alabama touchdown. After a handoff and a throwback lateral off a handoff
was fumbled, Tide defensive back Deion Belue picked up the fumble and ran
57 yards for a touchdown to give Alabama a 42-0 lead with 14 seconds left
in the second quarter.
The Tide opened the second half with another touchdown drive after forcing
a Catamount punt, moving 61 yards in 10 plays. The drive featured five Sims
rushes covering 47 yards including a 23-yard scramble that set up a five-yard
touchdown keeper by Sims with 7:15 left in the third quarter for a 49-0
On Carolina's next possession the Catamounts managed a scoring threat, reaching
the Alabama 14-yard line before being repelled by the Crimson Tide defense. A
30-yard pass from quarterback Eddie Sullivan to running back Michael Johnson
reached the Tide 23. On a third-and-16 play, Sullivan scrambled for 15 yards
to set up a fourth-and-one at the Alabama 14 before running Johnson was stopped
short of the first down to end the threat with 1:15 left in the third quarter.