No. 2 Alabama cruises past Western Carolina

Tuscaloosa, AL ( – Derrick Henry scored three touchdowns to
help No. 2 Alabama to a 48-14 win over Western Carolina on Saturday.

Henry rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns and added a 9-yard touchdown
catch for the Crimson Tide (10-1), who took a break from their SEC schedule
with an FCS opponent prior to next week’s Iron Bowl against arch-rival Auburn.

Blake Sims was 17-of-25 passing for 222 yards with two touchdowns and an
interception in the win.

Alabama star wide receiver Amari Cooper left the game with an apparent left
knee injury after taking a hard hit in the first quarter. Cooper had three
receptions for 46 yards.

Chris Black took over in his absence and hauled in six passes for 101 yards.

Troy Mitchell threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns to Spearman Robinson for
Western Carolina (7-5), which has lost all four meetings with the Crimson

Western Carolina got off to a promising start as Mitchell’s 2-yard touchdown
pass to Robinson capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive on the opening possession
of the game.

But Alabama, which can clinch a spot in the SEC championship game with a win
over Auburn, responded with 17 straight points, though it lost Cooper in the

On 3rd-and-20, Cooper ran a dig route and caught the ball along the near
sideline before racing inside the Catamounts 4 for a 27-yard gain.

Cooper, a favorite to win the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation’s top
receiver, took a solid hit to the left knee and limped off the field to the

After receiving attention from medical personnel, Cooper walked into the
locker room for further observation. He jogged out to the field moments later,
but he still moved with a noticeable limp and did not return.

Fellow wide receiver DeAndrew White (hamstring) and running back T.J. Yeldon
(ankle) were held out of the lineup due to injury.

The Crimson Tide tied the game a play later on Sims’ 4-yard toss to Cam Sims.

Gunnar Raborn, who filled in for Adam Griffith, kicked a 20-yard field goal
late in the first and Henry’s 10-yard touchdown run early in the second gave
the hosts a 17-7 advantage.

Following a Henry fumble later in the quarter, Mitchell and Robinson hooked up
again for another touchdown that cut the deficit to three.

Alabama crushed any hope of an upset victory from the Catamounts with 21
straight points to end the half.

Tyren Jones capped a 10-play, 69-yard drive with a 7-yard TD scamper and Henry
bolted into the end zone from 23 yards out to make it 31-14 with 3:16 left.
Sims threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Henry with under a minute left to make
it 38-14

Jake Coker came on at quarterback to begin the second half and led a 51-yard
drive out of the locker room that resulted in a 28-yard field goal by Raborn.

Western Carolina drove deep into Alabama territory on its ensuing possession,
but a fake field goal attempt on fourth down was unsuccessful. Coker then led
another scoring drive, completing a 12-yard touchdown pass to Michael
Nysewander to account for the final margin.

Game Notes

Yeldon, White and Griffith were all considered day-to-day throughout the week
… Alabama routed Western Carolina 49-0 in the last meeting between the teams
in 2012 … The Crimson tied converted 36 first downs compared to just 12 for
the Catamounts … Western Carolina had negative-8 yards rushing … Alabama
outgained the Catamounts 612-213.