Western Carolina-Alabama Preview Capsule

Western Carolina (1-9) at No. 4 Alabama (9-1), 12:21 p.m. (SEC Network)

Line: N/A.

Series Record: Alabama leads 2-0 (2007 win vacated).

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Alabama would like to get in a better mood after its first loss of the season. More meaningful games for the Crimson Tide will be happening elsewhere involving the three remaining unbeaten teams standing in the way of a national title shot. Western Carolina, which plays in the FCS, can dream of a monumental upset to end coach Mark Speir's first season.

KEY MATCHUP

Alabama's offensive line versus Western Carolina defensive front. The Catamounts are allowing 332.2 rushing yards per game and have allowed 33 touchdowns on the ground, so the Tide can pound away as much as offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier wants.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Western Carolina: QB Troy Mitchell. The freshman's eight rushing touchdowns is a school record for quarterbacks. He has completed 60.4 percent of his passes and is the No. 2 rusher with 428 yards.

Alabama: RB T.J. Yeldon. Yeldon has lost two fumbles in the opposing team's territory the past two games, one on a botched handoff. He's also a very talented freshman with 754 rushing yards and a chance to rebuild his confidence and work on securing the ball.

FACTS & FIGURES: The Tide hasn't lost back-to-back games since the SEC championship game against Florida and Sugar Bowl match with Utah to end the 2008 season. ... Alabama coach Nick Saban faced Western Carolina in his first game in Tuscaloosa and at LSU, winning 58-0 in Baton Rouge and 52-6 for his Tide debut in 2007. ... Western Carolina's last win over a Division I (FCS or FBS) team came over The Citadel on Oct. 2, 2010. ... Catamounts defensive line coach Mark Rhea played for Saban at Toledo and was one of his graduate assistants at Michigan State in 1994-95. ... Speir was an assistant on the Southern Conference's Appalachian State team that shocked No. 5 Michigan in 2007, the same day Alabama beat his current team. Assistants Trey Edder and John Holt played for Appalachian State in that game. ... Western Carolina is 0-13 against Southeastern Conference teams, getting outscored 47-4 on average.

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