Scores

Final

W Carolina 0

(2-1, 0-1 away)

Alabama 52

(3-0, 1-0 SEC)

7:00 PM ET, September 18, 2004

Bryant-Denny Stadium, TUSCALOOSA, AL

1 2 3 4 T
WCU 0 0 0 00
ALA 14 17 7 1452

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.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
WCU
ALA
1st Downs1021
Total Yards191478
Passing108231
Rushing83247
Penalties2-149-84
3rd Down Conversions2-136-14
4th Down Conversions0-11-1
Turnovers51
Possession24:4935:11

Passing Leaders

Western CarolinaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Swygert6/19854.502-
Hemby2/5234.600-
AlabamaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Guillon5/77110.110-
Croyle14/221607.320-

Rushing Leaders

Western CarolinaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Wishart15533.5021
Reid4215.3010
AlabamaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Johns11867.8044
Hudson9687.6021

Receiving Leaders

Western CarolinaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Cohen44511.3018
Reeder34816.0025
AlabamaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Castille5459.0020
Caddell25728.5141

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERWCUALA
TD13:19CLINT JOHNSTON 9 YD PASS FROM BRODIE CROYLE (BRIAN BOSTICK KICK)
Drive info: 3 plays, 13 yards.
07
TD11:39MARCEL STAMPS 14 YD BLOCKED PUNT RETURN (BRIAN BOSTICK KICK)014
SECOND QUARTERWCUALA
TD2:42KENNETH DARBY 4 YD RUN (BRIAN BOSTICK KICK)
Drive info: 12 plays, 61 yards.
021
FG0:48BRIAN BOSTICK 37 YD FG
Drive info: 4 plays, 5 yards.
024
TD0:25MATT CADDELL 41 YD PASS FROM BRODIE CROYLE (BRIAN BOSTICK KICK)
Drive info: 1 plays, 41 yards.
031
THIRD QUARTERWCUALA
TD8:07KENNETH DARBY 26 YD RUN (BRIAN BOSTICK KICK)
Drive info: 3 plays, 43 yards.
038
FOURTH QUARTERWCUALA
TD9:27LE'RON MCCLAIN 3 YD PASS FROM MARC GUILLON (BRIAN BOSTICK KICK)
Drive info: 6 plays, 62 yards.
045
TD5:02LE'RON MCCLAIN 14 YD RUN (BRIAN BOSTICK KICK)
Drive info: 6 plays, 34 yards.
052