USA Today Sports

Hilltoppers will play the Crimson Tide on Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium

WKU will face Alabama in the Crimson Tide's home-opener

Saturday's meeting between WKU and Alabama will mark the third meeting between the two programs, with the Crimson Tide claiming both prior meetings. 

The Hilltoppers (1-0) enter the game following a 46-14 home win over Rice last week, while top-ranked Alabama rolled over Southern Cal 52-6.

LOCATION: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (101,821)
DATE:  Saturday, September 10
KICKOFF: 2:30 p.m.CT
RADIO:  Hilltopper IMG Sports Network: 105.3 FM/1450 AM
TV:  ESPN2
Play-by-Play: Beth Mowins
Analyst: Anthony Becht
Sideline: Rocky Boiman

NOTEBOOK

Western Kentucky

  • Since joining the FBS level, WKU has compiled a 3-7 record against the SEC, with two wins against Kentucky and a victory last season at Vanderbilt.
  • Since 2012, the Hilltoppers are 14-6 against non-conference opponents.
  • WKU has had a running back reach the 1,000-yard mark in each of the last six seasons, after becoming just the second program in NCAA history to have a 1,500-yard rusher in five consecutive seasons.
  • WKU is one of seven “Group of Five” programs to win seven or more games in five consecutive seasons - the longest active streak in Conference USA.
  • The Hilltoppers boast of having one of the nation's better offensive line units.  The group returns five starters with a combined 131 total starts between them - the second-most experienced line in the country.
  • WKU features 12 players from the Yellowhammer State, and of those 12, eight see regular game action and four are starters - LG Brandon Ray (Madison), KR Kylen Towner (Mobile), SS Marcus Ward (Birmingham) and LB T.J. McCollum (Birmingham).
  • WR Taywan Taylor is just 11 receptions shy of tying the program’s career record. He already owns career records for yardage and touchdowns.

Alabama

  • Alabama owns a 75-11-2 (.863) all-time record through 88 season openers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Currently, UA is riding a 14-game winning streak in the team’s first game in Tuscaloosa. Under head coach Nick Saban, the Tide sports a perfect 9-0 record in home openers.
  • Alabama has won 20 of its last 21 games at its home stadium.
  • Since the 2008 season, Alabama has played in just three regular season games without national championship implications. Following the Crimson Tide’s 24-21 loss to LSU during the 2010 calendar year, UA was essentially eliminated from a chance to keep itself in the national championship discussion. The final three games of that season mark the only three regular season contests without national championship implications during that time.
  • Going for 100! Dating back to the start of the 2008 season, Alabama has won 99 games, which is the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
  • 16 UA players received at least one 2016 preseason accolade.

[------ article continues below video ------]

IMPACT PERFORMERS

Western Kentucky

QB Mike White:  Just how well did Mike White do in his WKU debut in week one?  His 517 throwing yards against Rice has him currently leading the nation in passing yards.  White is also second in the country in passer rating (252.67) and fifth in completion percentage (80.6).  The impressive numbers don't stop there as White also leads the country in 25-plus yard plays (8) and yards per pass attempt (16.7).

LB T.J. McCollum:  A week after leading WKU with 12 tackles, McCollum will be leaned on to help slow a dangerous Alabama offense.

WR Taywan Taylor: One of three receivers in the country with four receptions of 25-plus yards in Week 1.  Taylor drew praise from Nick Saban and for good reason.

Alabama

DE Jonathan Allen: Led UA in tackles for loss (14.5) and sacks (12.0) in 2015.  Recorded two sacks against USC in week one.

WR Calvin Ridley: Established new school and SEC single-season freshman record for receptions with 89 last fall.  Also a dangerous punt returner.

RB Damien Harris: A product of Richmond, Ky., Harris rushed for 138 yards in the Crimson Tide's season-opening win over USC.

QUOTABLE

Alabama head coach Nick Saban on WKU WR Taywan Taylor:

"He's an outstanding player. Really, really outstanding player. He's got great production. He's a tough competitor. Good route runner. Good hands. The thing I respect of him most is his production and his competitive spirit in the way he goes about playing the game. He does a really, really good job, and I think he's as good as any receiver that we'll play against this year."

WKU head coach Jeff Brohm on Alabama:

"This isn't just another opponent.  This one is really good.  After watching them on video, they are scary good."


WKU Insider Top Stories