Western Carolina (3-8) at No. 5 Alabama (9-1, No. 5 CFP), Saturday at 12 p.m. EST (ESPN).
Series record: Alabama leads 4-0.
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
Alabama must adjust to life without star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who had hip surgery on Monday. The Crimson Tide is still hoping for a playoff shot. Western Carolina is seeking its first win over an FBS team, coming in 0-56.
Alabama’s passing game against Western Carolina’s pass defense. New Tide QB Mac Jones still has a talented group of wide receivers to target. Western Carolina leads the Southern Conference and ranks sixth in the FCS in pass defense.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Western Carolina: QB Tyrie Adams is the Catamounts’ career leader in passing yards, total offense and touchdown passes. The preseason SoCon offensive player of the year served an earlier two-game suspension.
Alabama: WR/PR Jaylen Waddle is often overlooked in a crowded group of receivers. With Henry Ruggs III questionable with an injury, Waddle could get targeted more frequently and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. He’s also the nation’s leading punt returner, averaging 23.9 yards per return.
FACTS & FIGURES
This will be the second career start for Jones, who was 18-of-22 passing for 235 yards and three touchdowns against Arkansas. ... Western Carolina is 0-19 against SEC teams. The Tide has won the first four meetings by a combined 201-20. ... Alabama’s string of seven straight seasons with at least one defensive shutout is in jeopardy. The Tide has shut out at least two opponents each year during that streak and held Western Carolina scoreless twice in their four previous meetings. ... Alabama defensive linemen Raekwon Davis and D.J. Dale are both questionable with injuries.