Tide Top Five: Best plays from Alabama’s win over Western Carolina

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Tide Top Five: Best plays from Alabama’s win over Western Carolina

CW / Hannah Saad

CW / Hannah Saad

CW / Hannah Saad

CW / Hannah Saad

Carey Reeder | @realCareyReeder, Staff Reporter

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The Alabama Crimson Tide posted its highest scoring total of the season in its 66-3 thrashing of Western Carolina in the last home game of the season and last game inside the current configuration of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Mac Jones excelled in his first game as ‘the guy,’ tossing three touchdown passes and with the help of four interceptions by the Alabama defense, two each by senior safety Jared Mayden and junior safety Xavier McKinney, Alabama moves onto the Iron Bowl on Saturday in hopes to keep their playoff aspirations alive.

Top Plays:

  1. McKinney grabbed both of his interceptions in the first quarter on Saturday and the second of those was the longest scoring play of the day for Alabama. After a deflection by senior cornerback Trevon Diggs, McKinney intercepted the ball off the tipped pass and found the sideline. With a wall of blockers and tremendous speed, the junior housed the interception 81 yards to put the Crimson Tide ahead 17-0.
  2. The last passing touchdown of the game was the most special, as freshman Taulia Tagovailoa threw his first career touchdown pass to junior wide receiver DeVonta Smith on a 15-yard screen. While the score didn’t matter in the context of the game, it was a confidence booster for Tagovailoa, who is now the backup quarterback. He did it in front of his parents and after the week his family has had, it was a silver lining for the Tagovailoa family.
  3. Jones’ first of three touchdown passes in the game came on a screen pass to Smith that started behind the line of scrimmage. The junior veered right towards the sideline and stopped on a dime, shaking two Catamount defenders. He turned back left and accelerated between four defenders to take the pass 57 yards to the end zone to put Alabama ahead 10-0 quickly in the first quarter.
  4. Freshman running back Keilan Robinson had his best game of the season Saturday and he capped it with a long touchdown run in the third quarter. Robinson busted through the right side of the Crimson Tide offensive line and weaved his way through the Catamount secondary down the Alabama sideline for a 46-yard touchdown. It was the freshman’s first touchdown since the New Mexico State game on Sept. 7.
  5.  With the score already at 31-0 in the second quarter, sophomore wide receiver Jaylen Waddle decided that wasn’t enough. On the first play of the drive, Waddle caught a screen pass coming in motion from the right side. Waddle caught it and broke two tackles before making a sharp cut to the sideline. With six defenders around him, Waddle turned what looked to be a short gain into a 54-yard scamper to the end zone to push the Alabama lead to 38-0 at halftime.

Statistical leaders

Passing:

Mac Jones: 10-for-12 passing for 275 yards and three touchdowns.

Rushing:

Keilan Robinson: Eight rushes for 92 yards and one touchdown.

Receiving:

Jaylen Waddle: Three catches for 101 yards and one touchdown.