By: Ryan Mace
The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) will take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (1-0) Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
After a complete dismantling of the No. 8 Michigan Wolverines (0-1) on Saturday night, 41-14, the Tide has jumped to the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll. Dee Milliner and the Alabama defense were a big reason the Tide was able to dominate the Wolverines.
“I think we came out in the first game and established the kind of identity we’re going to have on this team,” Milliner said. “On defense, we were aggressive. On offense, we came out and attacked.”
Western Kentucky has started off the season in similar fashion, polishing off Austin Peay 49-10 in its season opener. Quarterback Kawuan Jakes threw for a career-high 296 yards and four touchdowns, while the defense only allowed seven first downs.
Western Kentucky brings in a west-coast style offense that features a dual-threat quarterback in Jakes. They lost most of their receiving core from last year, but bring more talent to the table than most would assume. They also have a veteran offensive line that is able to protect Jakes and allow him to flourish in the pass-heavy offensive scheme.
On defense, the Hilltoppers run a 4-3 scheme that is effective against the type of offense that Alabama has (a smash-mouth, pro-style attack). The only thing lacking is size; their secondary is full of veteran talent but doesn’t feature a player over six feet.
On special teams, neither team is spectacular, but Alabama does have the advantage. In last week’s 49-10 win over Austin Peay, WKU kickers Jesse Roy and Garrett Schwettman combined to go 0-for-3 on field goal attempts, while making all seven extra point tries.
Western Kentucky brings little threat to the defending National Champs, especially in Tuscaloosa. Look for the Tide to roll on in this non-conference match-up.
Alabama 42 WKU 7