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Croyle sustains season-ending injury to right knee

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama starting quarterback Brodie
Croyle knew his season was over when he went down at the end of a
short run early in the third quarter of the Crimson Tide's 52-0
victory over I-AA Western Carolina on Saturday night.

Croyle sustained a season-ending injury to his right knee with
Alabama leading 31-0. He's expected to have surgery Tuesday.

"I went to plant and my knee just went out. This isn't how I
imagined it happening," said Croyle, who missed most of his senior
year in high school with a similar injury to his left knee.

Coach Mike Shula said he had planned to take Croyle out of the
game after the drive.

"It was obviously a tough day for us in a winning effort losing
Brodie," Shula said. "A lot of times there are some things that
can happen, especially in this game. You don't quite understand,
but you've got to believe that all things happen for a reason."

Backup quarterback Mark Guillon, who led the Crimson Tide (3-0)
on two second-half touchdown drives, will take over the starting
spot.

Croyle completed 14 of 22 passes for 160 yards and two
touchdowns, and Guillon was 5-of-7 for 71 yards and a touchdown.

Guillon said he felt confident coming into the game for Croyle.

"As a backup you prepare as a starter every week. No one wants
to see that happen, but I'm going to keep going hard," said
Guillon, who transferred from Miami.

Alabama quickly pulled away from the overmatched Catamounts
(2-1) and finished with 478 yards of total offense to just 191 for
Western Carolina.

The Catamounts lost three fumbles and threw two interceptions.

"We said coming into the game that if we didn't turn the ball
over then we could win the game. But we did and for us to beat
anybody, we have to do a better job in that area," coach Kent
Briggs said.

Alabama's Brandon Brooks returned the opening kickoff 87 yards
to the Western Carolina 13, setting up Croyle's 9-yard touchdown
pass to tight end Clint Johnston.

Alabama scored again two minutes later when Marcel Stamps
blocked a Western Carolina punt, picked up the ball and ran 14
yards for a touchdown.

Freshman Aaron Johns led the Crimson Tide in rushing with 86,
most in the second half. Ray Hudson, the Tide's leading rusher in
the first two games, ran for 68 yards, but played sparingly in the
second half.

After falling behind 14-0, the Catamounts played the Crimson
Tide even for much of the remainder of the first half before
Alabama scored 17 points in the final three minutes of the second
quarter.

After a 4-yard touchdown run by Kenneth Darby with 2:42 to play
and a 37-yard field goal by Bostick, Alabama recovered a fumble.
That set up a 41-yard pass from Croyle to Matt Caddell to give
Alabama a 31-0 halftime lead.

Western Carolina's only serious scoring threat came in the first
quarter, when the Catamounts drove from their own 20 the length of
the field before Alabama's DeMeco Ryans recovered a fumble at the
Alabama 1.

Darby scored on a 26-yard run in the second half, Le'Ron McClain
added a 14-yard scoring run, and Guillon threw a 3-yard TD pass to
McClain.