The bad news: Alabama’s offense slept through most of the first half. The Tide scored 10 offensive points in their first two frames and rushed for all of 13 yards on 16 carries.
The good news: When you’re Alabama, your offense can take a whole half off and your defense will still spot you a 14-point lead.
Top-ranked Alabama turned a lackluster 17-3 halftime edge into a 38-10 romp over Western Kentucky Saturday in Tuscaloosa, a clear step down from last week’s 52-6 opening blowout of USC but more than enough to continue the Tide’s status as the top team in the country.
True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts earned his first official career win, hitting 23-of-36 passes for 287 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while adding 19 yards on the ground. His first scoring strike came to Calvin Ridley on a four-yard toss with no time left in the first quarter, staking the Tide to a 10-3 edge on a drive started when Alabama intercepted a wide receiver reverse pass. Another interception gave Alabama its second touchdown as safety Eddie Jackson did the deed himself from 55 yards out.
Hurts’s second scoring throw, an 8-yarder to ArDarius Stewart, ended any reasonable hope of an upset for the Hilltoppers with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter.
Alabama tacked on a pair of fourth quarter scores in the forms of short runs by Bo Scarbrough and B.J. Emmons. On the whole, though, Alabama struggled to rush the ball against the WKU front. The Tide notched just 116 yards and 3.1 yards per carry as a team; Damien Harris led the bunch with 45 yards on 11 carries. None of Alabama’s 37 credited rushes went longer than 13 yards.
Western Kentucky, for its part, failed to accomplish anything on offense. Starter Mike White was pulled after hitting 10-of-24 passes for 135 yards with a pick-six, and the entire team registered 23 yards on 22 carries. Backups Tyler Ferguson and Drew Eckels did some nice things in relief; Ferguson hit seven of his 10 passes for 55 yards, and Eckels connected on 2-of-3 passes for 26 yards and a garbage time touchdown toss to Lucky Jackson with 46 ticks remaining.
Western Kentucky (1-1) continues non-conference play at Miami (Ohio) next week, while Alabama (2-0) opens SEC play at Ole Miss.