EditorsNote: corrects McKinney’s TD to 81 yards; updates Saban quote; minor edits
Sophomore quarterback Mac Jones passed for 275 yards and three touchdowns in a little over a half and No. 5 Alabama rolled over Western Carolina 66-3 on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Injured starter Tua Tagovailoa sat in a cart and watched from the sideline as his replacement completed 10 of 12 passes before true freshman Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s younger brother, took over in the third quarter and threw his first touchdown pass.
The Crimson Tide (10-1) ran their streak of 10-win seasons to 12 and their winning streak in regular-season games against nonconference foes to 48. The Tide also have won 91 consecutive games against unranked teams, the longest such streak since the initiation of The Associated Press poll in 1936.
The Catamounts (3-9) got their only points on Julian Pletz’s 38-yard field goal to start the fourth quarter. Quarterback Tyrie Adams (10 of 19 for 112 yards) was picked off four times and lost a fumble.
Safety Xavier McKinney was responsible for three of Alabama’s five takeaways, returning one of his two interceptions 81 yards for a touchdown and later forcing Adams’ fumble. Safety Jared Mayden also had two interceptions, both in the third quarter.
Jones’ first completions were a little shovel pass to wide receiver DeVonta Smith and screens to receiver Jaylen Waddle and Smith again for a 57-yard touchdown. But he also connected on some deep passes, including to receiver Jerry Jeudy for a 44-yard gain.
A much bigger test awaits in next week’s game at Auburn.
“I thought Mac was pretty efficient,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said after the game. “He made some explosive plays. He did not throw it much, but I was pleased with the overall performance.”
Alabama’s defense was without injured starters Raekwon Davis and D.J. Dale and backup Phidarian Mathis up front. The offense was without injured receiver Henry Ruggs III.
—Field Level Media