By (Terrin Waack)

Western Kentucky had the ball on its own 32-yard line during the second quarter Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium with only two downs and 8 yards to go, trailing 10-3, to the Crimson Tide.

Hilltoppers quarterback Mike White threw a pass right up the middle of the field where it connected with another player — Alabama defensive back Eddie Jackson.

“When I catch the ball, I just try to turn into an offensive player and score a touchdown, make a big play for the team,” Jackson said. “I knew it was a crucial turnover. We needed to score, so I tried my best to get into the end zone.”

And he did. Jackson returned the interception 55 yards for a Crimson Tide score, just one of many touchdowns as No. 1 Alabama defeated WKU, 38-10, in its home opener.

The Crimson Tide defense was strong Saturday and limited the Hilltoppers to only 23 rushing yards. WKU was able to accumulate 216 yards in the air.

Doesn’t mean it worked, though. Alabama recorded two interceptions. Defensive back Ronnie Harrison also snagged one during the first quarter, just not for a score like Jackson.

“Well, we had to take some shots up the field, and unfortunately, one-on-one matchups we didn’t win,” WKU coach Jeff Brohm said.

White complete 19 of 38 passes for the Hilltoppers.

The week prior against Rice, WKU totaled 552 passing yards, and White didn’t throw a single interception.

Alabama made sure the Hilltoppers’ numbers weren’t that high again.

“They don’t give you anything easy — they make you earn it,” Brohm said. “They’re going to cover you the entire route and they make you get open to make the play, and we didn’t do that.”

Linebacker Reuben Foster led the Alabama defense with six total tackles, five of which he accomplished on his own. Defensive lineman Dakota Ball followed five total tackles, and helped linebacker Ryan Anderson bring down a sack.

Defensive linemen Jonathan Allen and Dalvin Tomlinso also each recorded a sack of their, as did linebacker Christian Miller.

Alabama coach Nick Saban thought the defense played pretty well, but he was still disappointed in his team’s efforts overall.

“We had two picks, scored on defense, [but] had a couple other opportunities where the ball was on the ground, and we didn’t get it,” Saban said. “We’re going to have to do a better job in the turnover department.”

The Hilltoppers squeezed in a 25-yard field goal in the first quarter to put themselves on the board. They remained out of the end zone, until there were 46 second left in the game when WKU backup quarterback Drew Eckels completed a 24-yard pass to wide receiver Lucky Jackson.

Alabama limited WKU to six third-down conversions and only 10 first downs over the course of 475 yards.

Despite the large point deficit, the Crimson Tide believes there is work to be done before it travels to Oxford, Mississippi, to face Ole Miss next Saturday.

“Sloppy, man,” Jackson said. “It was a bad performance.”

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Source:: The Crimson White Sports