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(Saturday, September 8th)
Final Score: (1) Alabama 35, Western Kentucky 0
Tuscaloosa, AL (Sports Network) - A.J. McCarron had four touchdown passes as No. 1 Alabama had no problems in a 35-0 win over Western Kentucky.
McCarron was 14-for-19 with 219 yards, while Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones each caught two scores for the Crimson Tide (2-0), who were coming off a rout of Michigan that moved them into the top spot in the nation.
Kawaun Jakes went 20-for-31 with 178 yards, but was picked off once and fumbled once for the Hilltoppers (1-1), who defeated Austin Peay in their opener last Saturday.
'Bama started the game with the ball and needed less than two minutes to get into the end zone as the 4-play, 72-yard drive was capped on a 14-yard catch by Jones.
Western Kentucky fumbled on its ensuing possession, but the Tide were unable to take advantage and had to punt.
However, another fumble from the Hilltoppers saw the Tide get the ball at the WKU 33 and McCarron took advantage on the next play as he hit Norwood for a score and a 14-0 lead with six minutes to play in the first.
After an exchange of punts, the fumbles continued to plague the Hilltoppers as Jakes lost the ball when he was sacked and the Tide took over at their own 32.
The seven-play drive was finished on a 22-yard catch in the right corner of the end zone by Jones. He had bobbled the ball before going out of bounds and a replay upheld the on-field call, giving the team a 21-0 lead with just under seven minutes to play in the first half.
"We didn't give up big plays, which is really important and makes it hard to score," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "I was pleased with being able to get a shutout. I think the turnovers were huge in that. I don't know what we had, three fumbles and an interception, which is usually something that they don't do."
Jakes was picked off by Deion Belue shortly after the second half kickoff and Alabama needed just two plays to get in the end zone as McCarron and Norwood hooked up on a 12-yard score for a 28-0 lead.
"At the end of the day, that's what it all boils down to," said Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart. "We came into this game with two goals, to play good defense by stopping runs and to not turn the ball over, and we did the complete opposite of what we wanted to do."
Kenyan Drake's 32-yard score with under two minutes to play in the game capped the scoring.
Western Kentucky managed to get past midfield on just two drives in the game.
These two teams met just once prior to Saturday, with Alabama posting a 41-7 decision in Tuscaloosa in 2008 ... Alabama had 328 yards, while Western Kentucky managed just 224 ... The Hilltoppers turned the ball over four times, while the Tide had zero turnovers ... Alabama opens SEC play next week in Arkansas.
09/08 21:44:36 ET
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