Home Openers Are Usually Tide Wins

With Saturday's 35-0 win over Western Kentucky in Bryant-Denny Stadium, the Alabama football team is 98-16-3 all-time in home opening games. Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban is 6-0 in his Bama career. Alabama has won 11 consecutive season-openers. Here are notes from Saturday's game:

Alabama's game against Western Kentucky was delayed starting by five minutes because the South Carolina-East Carolina game, also televised on the Southeastern Conference Network, ran long. Kickoff in Bryant-Denny Stadium had been scheduled for 2:39 p.m. CDT, but the game started at 2:44.

Alabama has compiled a 193-126-4 all-time record in 323 televised games. This does not include pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts.

Alabama led Western Kentucky 28-0. The Crimson Tide is now 51-3 when leading at halftime under Coach Nick Saban. Alabama has helped its own cause over the last few seasons by not trailing while entering the locker room at the half. The Tide has either held a lead or been tied entering the intermission in 22 straight games. Over that span UA has outscored the opposition 408-90. The last time the Tide trailed at the half was at South Carolina on Oct. 9, 2010.

Alabama raised its current total of games in which it scored to 144. The 144 straight games mark the longest streak in program history.

With the victory over Western Kentucky, Alabama improved to 23-3 against nonconference opponents under head coach Nick Saban. Alabama has now won 16 in a row against out of league opposition. Over the Saban tenure, the Tide has outscored those opponents, 979-302.

Alabama has made a habit of getting out early and playing with the lead. The Crimson Tide has not trailed after the first quarter in its last 16 games, starting with the 2011 Capital One Bowl against Michigan State. During those 16 games, or 960 minutes of game action, UA has trailed for only 25 minutes and 12 seconds, which means the Tide has held the lead or been tied for 934 minutes and 48 seconds. UA's only loss during that stretch was to LSU last season in overtime of a game that Alabama had led or been tied until overtime. In fact, Alabama has not trailed in regulation since a 3-0 deficit at the 2:26 mark of the first quarter against Tennessee last season. That streak spans parts of eight games, which totals 467 minutes and 26 seconds.

The three forced fumbles in the first half for the Crimson Tide defense are the most in a single game since the season opener against Western Carolina on Sept. 1, 2007. Alabama forced two fumbles three times last season and has now forced a fumble in four of its last five games.

Nick Perry started at safety in place of Vinnie Sunseri, John Fulton was in for Dee Milliner, and Brandon Ivory was at nose tackle for Jesse Williams. Sunseri came into the game later. Milliner has a reported hip flexor injury and Williams was diagnosed in last week's win over Michigan as having suffered a minor concussion.

A.J. McCarron equaled Freddie Kitchens for the sixth-most consecutive passes without an interception in UA history. McCarron entered the season with 95 straight passes without a pick and finished the season-opener against Michigan with 21 attempts and added 19 attempts against Western Kentucky, bringing his total number of consecutive passes without an interception to 135. This is McCarron's second run in this particular category as he went 152 straight attempts last season before throwing an interception. Brodie Croyle's mark of 190 consecutive attempts without an interception remains an Alabama record.

Freshman linebacker Reggie Ragland has an ankle injury and did not play.

True freshman linebacker Tyler Hayes and nose tackle Darren Lake saw their first college action. Hayes was on Alabama's starting kickoff team and Lake played late on defense.

Alabama had used eight true freshmen in the opener against Michigan. They were defensie back Landon Collins, wide receiver Amari Cooper, running back Kenyan Drake, linebacker Denzel Devall, linebaker Dillon Lee, linebacker Reggie Ragland, defensive back Geno Smith, and running back T.J. Yeldon.

Captains for Alabama were snapper Carson Tinker, offensive guard Chance Warmack, and defensive end Quinton Dial.

Honorary captains for the Crimson Tide were former wide receiver Keith Pugh of Evergreen and former offensive lineman Steve Sprayberry of Sylacauga.

Block that kick: For the first time, Alabama has nets behind the goalposts that are raised on extra point and field goal kicks to prevent the ball from going into the stands. The nets carry advertising.

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