Preview: Western Carolina at Alabama

When: 4:00 PM ET, Saturday, November 22, 2014
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Alabama


No. 2 Alabama is taking a break from the wild SEC West with a visit from FCS foe Western Carolina on Saturday, but the Crimson Tide are not taking the week off. Coach Nick Saban wants his team — No. 1 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings — to stay focused and continue improving. "I think the most important thing to do at this time of the year is everybody stay focused on what they've got to do," Saban said at Monday's news conference. "If you don't stay focused on what you need to do to get better ... it's not about the other team; it's about what we need to do as a team."

Alabama's dominating defense — ranked second nationally in points allowed, third in rushing defense and sixth in total defense — has been the key to the late-season run. The Crimson Tide have allowed 20 or fewer points during their five-game win streak and forced at least one interception in each of those games. The Catamounts are 0-51 against FBS teams and have been outscored 153-6 in three meetings with Alabama.

TV: 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network. LINE: None.

ABOUT WESTERN CAROLINA (7-4): The Catamounts head to their regular-season finale coming off a 640-yard performance against the the Virginia Military Institute. Quarterback Troy Mitchell has thrown for 2,320 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and Spearman Richardson (40 catches for 526  yards) has half of those TD catches. Christon Gill has 101 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks for a defense that has forced 23 turnovers.

ABOUT ALABAMA (9-1): Linebacker Reggie Ragland leads the Crimson Tide defense, which is allowing 14.5 points, with 79 tackles after back-to-back double-digit tackle performances. Linebacker Xzavier Dickson has a team-best seven sacks and Alabama is pressuring quarterbacks thanks to a deep rotation on the defensive front. Blake Sims has completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 2,454 yards, 18 touchdowns and three interceptions, and record-breaking receiver Amari Cooper is second nationally with 130.3 yards per game.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Cooper, who already owns the Alabama career records for receiving yards (3,039) and receiving touchdowns (26), needs four catches to break DJ Hall's record of 194 career receptions.

2. Alabama, which is tied with Baylor for the longest active FBS home win streak at 14 games, has outscored opponents 43.8-10.6 at home this season.

3. Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon (ankle) was limited in practice Tuesday and was called "day-to-day" by Saban.

PREDICTION:
Alabama 52, Western Carolina 7

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Western Carolina 7-4 W1 28.4 24.7 5-1 2-3 1-2 0-1 5-2
Alabama 9-1 W5 33.7 14.5 6-0 3-1 7-0 0-0 6-1

Last Meeting

Western Carolina Alabama
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/17/12 WCU 0 ALA 49 163 70 93 460 300 160

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
WCU E. Sullivan 33.3 63 0 0
ALA A. McCarron 100.0 133 1 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
WCU E. Sullivan 4 28 7.0 0
ALA E. Lacy 10 99 9.9 3
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
WCU J. James 1 30 30.0 0
ALA A. Cooper 2 50 25.0 0
TDs Player TD
WCU S. Adams 0
ALA E. Lacy 3
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
WCU T. Mitchell 66.3 2321 18 9
ALA B. Sims 61.5 2440 17 3
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
WCU D. Ramsey 144 753 5.2 6
ALA T. Yeldon 151 758 5.0 6
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
WCU T. Robinson 56 643 11.5 1
ALA A. Cooper 87 1303 15.0 11
TDs Player TD
WCU D. Newsome 10
ALA A. Cooper 11

Quickchart Matchup

Western Carolina Off vs  Alabama Def
403.7 yards
290.1 yards
4.8 yards/rush
2.9 yards/rush
7.4 yards/attempt
5.7 yards/attempt
Alabama Off vs  Western Carolina Def
469.4 yards
352.5 yards
4.8 yards/rush
5.2 yards/rush
8.6 yards/attempt
6.8 yards/attempt

Live Game Odds

Lines History | All Odds
Currently no lines available.

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Western Carolina Overall Alabama
7-4-0 W/L 9-1-0
1-0-0 ATS 3-7-0
1-0-0 O/U 4-6-0
28.4 Pts For 33.7
24.7 Pts Against 14.5
Western Carolina A/H Alabama
2-3 W/L 6-0
1-0-0 ATS 2-4-0
1-0-0 O/U 3-3-0
27.0 Pts For 42.0
25.4 Pts Against 12.7