The Crimson Tide scored 35 points off turnovers on to way to its largest margin of victory since beating Ole Miss by an identical score in 2017
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – No. 5 Alabama football rolled to a 66-3 Senior Day win over Western Carolina to close its home schedule Saturday afternoon in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide improves to 9-1 overall, while the Catamounts drop to 3-9 on the season.
Redshirt sophomore Mac Jones made the second start of his Crimson Tide career at quarterback, going 10-of-12 passing for 275 yards and three touchdowns in just over two quarters of work. Freshman running back Keilan Robinson tallied 92 yards rushing and a touchdown, all in the second half, to lead the game. Sophomore Jaylen Waddle and junior DeVonta Smith led all wide receivers with 101 and 94 yards. respectively, with Waddle scoring a touchdown and Smith adding two.
The Crimson Tide defense forced five turnovers on the day, including an 81-yard pick-six by junior defensive back Xavier McKinney. Four total interceptions and a fumble recovery by the Tide resulted in 35 points off turnovers.
McKinney led the defense with two interceptions and a forced fumble as well as three tackles, including on for a loss. Freshman linebacker Shane Lee paced the Tide with seven tackles on the day, while redshirt freshman defensive lineman Christian Barmore, freshman defensive lineman Byron Young, freshman defensive lineman Justin Eboigbe and redshirt senior linebacker Anfernee Jennings combined for four sacks on the day.
How It Happened
- After redshirt sophomore kicker Joseph Bulovas got the Tide’s scoring started with a 29-yard field goal to cap the Crimson Tide’s first drive, Alabama forced a trio of turnovers in the first half that all resulted in touchdowns.
- Following McKinney’s first interception of the day, Jones hit Smith for a quick pass that he turned into a 57-yard touchdown, making several defenders miss on the way to the end zone.
- McKinney snagged a twice-tipped Catamount pass for his second interception of the day and took it 81 yards to the house for a pick-six touchdown.
- McKinney ended another Catamounts drive when he forced a fumble that sophomore defensive back Patrick Surtain II recovered. Junior running back Brian Robinson Jr. followed that turnover by closing a six-play, 63-yard drive with a five-yard rushing touchdown.
- Alabama’s sixth score of the day came when junior running back Najee Harris took a pass from Jones and raced to the corner, slamming into the end zone from 12-yards out.
- The Tide’s seventh score of the first half came on the first play of the drive when Waddle took Jones’ pass and raced past the defense for a 54-yard touchdown, making it 38-0 heading into halftime.
- Alabama scored two more touchdowns off turnovers in the third quarter, with Harris scoring from three yards out and freshman quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa connecting on his first career touchdown pass for the Tide, with a 15-yard pitch and catch to Smith.
- Robinson scored UA’s third touchdown of the third quarter, streaking 46 yards for the score.
- Western Carolina got on the board early in the fourth quarter with a 38-yard field goal, making it 59-3.
- The Tide answered WCU’s lone score one possession later when redshirt freshman running back Jerome Ford rumbled six yards for Alabama’s ninth touchdown and 10th score of the day.
Players of the Game
- McKinney forced three turnovers over the Catamounts first four possessions, including two interceptions and a forced fumble. His second interception resulted in an 81-yard pick six.
- Waddle finished the day with 188 all-purpose yards, including 101 receiving, 67 on punt returns and 20 on his lone kick-off return.
- The Tide’s 66-3 win provided the largest margin of victory since the Tide beat Ole Miss by an identical score in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Sept. 30, 2017.
- The Tide generated 35 points off five turnovers over the first three quarters.
- Harris became the first SEC player over the last 20 seasons with a rushing and receiving touchdown in three-straight games.
- With 35 points today, the Crimson Tide is outscoring opponents, 121-31, in points off turnovers for the season.
- Alabama closes out the regular season on the road at Auburn on Saturday, Nov. 30. Kickoff between the Crimson Tide and the Tigers is slated for 2:30 p.m. CT and will air on CBS.