- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- No. 4 Alabama got the relief it needed on Saturday, trouncing Western Carolina 49-0. After back-to-back weeks of bruises and beatings, the Crimson Tide were all smiles at home.
Quarterback AJ McCarron played pitch-and-catch for a quarter and a half before heading to the sidelines. His one touchdown pass was enough to set a school record for the most passing touchdowns in a single season (21). He was a perfect 6-for-6 passing for 133 yards.
Alabama tallied 460 yards on offense, 300 coming on the ground. Starting tailback Eddie Lacy led the team with 99 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries.
The UA defense, coming off allowing a season-high 29 points to Texas A&M a week ago, surrendered only 163 yards of offense.
Game ball goes to: McCarron set a school record on Saturday, but the game ball goes to his backup Blake Sims. The former wide receiver/running back came on midway through the second quarter and ran the offense well. He carried the ball eight times for 70 yards, in addition to completing two passes.
Stat of the game: McCarron only had to throw the ball six times, but his 29-yard touchdown pass to Christion Jones in the second quarter set an Alabama single-season record for touchdown passes in a season with 21. The junior finished a perfect 6-for-6 with 133 yards and the lone score. He has a chance to add to the mark next week against Auburn.
Unsung hero: With the amount of depth Alabama has, it’s not every day the Tide have a player who shows up on the stat sheet for both offense and defense, but Brent Calloway did just that on Saturday. The redshirt freshman rushed seven times for 52 yards, and he also recorded three tackles on special teams.
What it means for Alabama: The romp over Western Carolina was the cupcake the Crimson Tide needed. After back-t0-back games against Texas A&M and LSU, Alabama needed a weekend to get its house back in order. Starters got rest, backups got experience and plenty of points were scored.
What it means for Western Carolina: Coach Mark Speir already got what he wanted out of the matchup against Alabama -- new video editing equipment. It was the Catamounts' only money game of the season and Speir knew just what he wanted to do with the paycheck. The $475,000 payoff was a drop in the bucket for Alabama, but a needed boost for a Western Carolina football program in need of revenue.