Top 25 football • Alabama's defense shut out an opponent for the third time this season.
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Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Eddie Lacy rushed for three touchdowns in the first half, AJ McCarron set Alabama's single-season record for passing TDs and the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide routed Western Carolina 49-0 on Saturday.
Alabama (10-1) rebounded from a loss to No. 9 Texas A&M by building a 42-0 halftime lead against the Catamounts (1-10), a Football Championship Subdivision team with two wins in as many seasons. It was Alabama's third shutout this year.
McCarron completed all six of his attempts for 133 yards and his 21st touchdown before exiting midway through the second quarter. Lacy ran for 99 yards on 10 carries with two 7-yard touchdowns and a 3-yarder. Neither played after halftime.
Cornerback Deion Belue returned a fumble 57 yards in the final seconds before halftime.
The 42 points were the most Alabama had scored in the first half since producing the same amount against Georgia State on Nov. 18, 2010.
The Tide, who still are hoping for a shot at a second straight national title, can secure a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game against No. 5 Georgia with a victory over rival Auburn.
This one was a welcomed respite for Alabama after games against No. 8 LSU and the Aggies went down to the final minute. It followed three straight against opponents ranked in the top 15 at the time of the game, including Mississippi State.
Alabama outgained the Catamounts 463-163 in yards and outrushed them 300-70. The Catamounts have lost all 14 meetings against SEC teams and haven't beaten a Division I (FCS or FBS) team since topping The Citadel on Oct. 2, 2010.