Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Football Game Three Notes: Western Carolina


Alabama seeks its first 3-0 start since the 1996 season
Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Clint Johnston
Clint Johnston

Helmet Western Carolina

Helmet Alabama

Western Carolina Catamounts (2-0) at
Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0, 0-0)

September 18, 2004 • 6:07 p.m. CST (PPV)
Bryant-Denny Stadium • Tuscaloosa, AL



  • Alabama seeks its first 3-0 start since the 1996 season
  • The Crimson Tide is 3-0 all-time against I-AA teams
  • Western Carolina is the first I-AA opponent since 1994
  • In addition, Western Carolina is Alabama's 118th different opponent
  • UA is 86-29-2 (.744) all-time against first-time opponents
  • Senior tailback Ray Hudson needs four yards for 2,000 career all-purpose yards
  • Junior safety Roman Harper was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week last week against Ole Miss (11 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, 2 PBUs and 1 QB hurry)
  • Alabama is 4-3 (.571) all-time in games played on Sept. 18th
  • The Western Carolina game is the third straight night game to open the season
  • The last time UA opened the year with three straight night games was 1972
  • Bama is 6-for-7 (.857) in fourth-quarter, third-down conversions


Seeking its first 3-0 start since the 1996 season, the Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0, 1-0 SEC) hosts the Western Carolina Catamounts (2-0) at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.  The Western Carolina game will mark the third straight home night game for the Crimson Tide.    Both teams are coming off identical 28-7 wins.  Alabama beat Ole Miss 28-7 to improve to 2-0 for the first time  since 1999.  Western Carolina beat Nicholls State 28-7 and is 2-0 for the first time since 1996.  Alabama has not started the season with a 3-0 record since 1996. For the second week in a row, senior tailback Ray Hudson broke the 100-yard barrier on the ground with a career-best 114 rushing yards.  Hudson finished the game with 150 total yards and a career-high two TDs Alabama won its 13th straight SEC opener.  Western Carolina is Alabama's first I-AA opponent since beating Chattanooga 42-13 on Sept 3, 1994.  The Alabama-Western Carolina game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis beginning at 6:07 p.m. (CDT).  Handling the announcing duties for the CTSM telecast are David Crane (play-by-play), Tyler Watts (color) and Chris Stewart (sidelines).  Fans can also tune to the 80-plus station Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold (play-by-play), Kenny Stabler (color analyst) and Tom Roberts (sidelines) describing the action. 


Coach Mike Shula (6-9, .400) is 2-0 in his sophomore season as the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Shula compiled a 4-9 (.308) record in his rookie season at Alabama last year against the nation's most difficult schedule.  The Crimson Tide lost to both teams (Oklahoma and LSU) that played in the BCS National Championship game last season.  Shula previously served as an assistant coach in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Chicago and Miami.  A three-year letterman at Alabama (1984-86), Shula was a two-time All-SEC selection and threw for over 2,000 yards as a junior (1985), leading Alabama to dramatic come-from-behind wins over Georgia and Auburn.  Western Carolina head coach Kent Briggs is 12-13 (.480) in his third season at his alma mater.  Briggs spent eight years (1980-88) on the Catamounts staff before taking a job at NC State (1989-1999), where he eventually became co-defensive coordinator. He also served one year as defensive coordinator at UConn (2001) before being named head coach at WCU.


Coach Paul Bryant's last national championship team will hold its 25th anniversary reunion this weekend at the Western Carolina game.  The 1979 team capped Bryant's only 12-0 season with a 24-9 win over Arkansas in the Jan. 1, 1980 Sugar Bowl.  Don McNeal and Steve Whitman will sign autographs in the Legends Autograph tent on the Quad prior to Saturday's game.


Alabama plays its first road game of the 2004 season next Saturday, Sept. 25 as they face the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.  The game will be televised by CBS Sports with a 2:30 p.m. (CDT) kickoff.


*A limited number of tickets remain for this Saturday's game with Western Carolina. 

*Tickets may be obtained on or by calling 1-877-TIDETIX or (205) 348-2262.  Tickets are also on sale at the Coleman Coliseum Ticket Office.


*Don McNeal and Steve Whitman, decorated members of the 1979 Alabama National Champions, will be in the Alabama Power Legends tent to highlight Saturday's activities as the seventh edition of Coca-Cola Kickoff on the Quad continues the Crimson Tide Football Experience prior to the Alabama-Western Carolina football game, Saturday.

*The Coca-Cola inflatables will again be present on the Quad at 3 p.m. with their usual activities of throwing a football, kicking at mock goal posts and diving for the goal line with bungees attached.  In addition to sampling of Coke products, free temporary, stick-on Big Al tattoos and shakers will be distributed while supplies last.

*Eli Gold, Ken Stabler and Tom Roberts host the Jeep pre-game radio show on the Crimson Tide Sports Network from the stage in the shadow of Denny Chimes starting at 4 p.m.

*McNeal, a cornerback from McCullough in 1977-79, earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference honors his senior season as the Tide posted a 12-0 record including a 24-9 victory over Arkansas. 

*Whitman, a fullback from Birmingham in 1977-79, earned second-team All-SEC honors in 1979.

*The Crimson Tide softball team will appear in the Mayfield Dairy team tent at 4:15-5:00 p.m.


*University of Alabama junior free safety Roman Harper has been named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week following a dominating performance in the Crimson Tide's 28-7 win over Ole Miss on Sept. 11.

*Harper had his second consecutive standout performance this season recording a game-high 11 tackles including a sack for a loss of 15 yards, a forced fumble, a career high two pass breakups and a quarterback hurry.  His sack and ensuing forced fumble in the second quarter led to Alabama's second touchdown of the game.  Harper has now recorded an interception and a forced fumble on the season, both resulting in touchdowns for the Crimson Tide. 

*The honor marks the 66th time an Alabama player has been named SEC Player of the Week and the 26th time the Tide has had the SEC Defensive Player of the Week since the award began in 1985.  Harper is also the first defensive player from Alabama to be honored since Waine Bacon won the award in 2002.

*In addition, named Tide senior tailback Ray Hudson its SEC Player of the Week. 

*Hudson recorded a career high 116 yards rushing in the victory over Ole Miss.  He recorded the first multi-touchdown game of his career, scoring both a receiving and a rushing touchdown.  In the third quarter Hudson took a pass from Brodie Croyle and scored from 13 yards out.  In the fourth quarter he took a handoff and scampered 46 yards for his second touchdown of the night.  Hudson accounted for 150 total yards (116 rushing, 34 receiving) and has now rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games for the first time in his career. 

*He currently leads SEC in rushing at 113.5 yards per game and ranks second in SEC in all-purpose yards at 135.5 per game.

* also named Alabama as its SEC Team of the Week.


*Heading into the 2004 season, Alabama has six players who have earned their undergraduate degree.  They are Carlos Andrews (Management), Antonio Carter (Human Environmental Sciences), Wesley Britt (Management), Danny Martz (Criminal Justice), Evan Mathis (Management) and Cornelius Wortham (Human Environmental Sciences).


*Alabama dressed 101 players for the 2004 season opener. 

*Of the 101 players that dressed for the Utah State game, a total of 57 had never played in a game for the Crimson Tide.

*Alabama's opening day depth chart showed that 23 of the 44 players listed had never played in a game before the season opener.

*A total of 27 players made their debut against Utah State, including 10 "true" freshmen.

*Coach Shula mentioned throughout the preseason that as many as 10 "true" freshmen could see playing time in 2004.

*That is a contrast to last season, when only five `"true freshmen" played for the Crimson Tide.


*The Crimson Tide has used seven first-time starters in the first two games of the 2004 season.

*Alabama used three first-time starters in its 28-7 win over Ole Miss in its Southeastern Conference opener on Sept. 11.

*All three were on offense and included senior tailback Ray Hudson (Bonifay, Fla) and freshmen wide receivers DJ Hall (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.) and Keith Brown (Gulfport, Miss.).

*Hudson snapped a streak of 37 consecutive games without a start in the win over Ole Miss.

*In the Sept. 4 season opener with Utah State, Alabama used four, first-time starters, including two on offense and two on defense.

*On offense, Alabama employed two first-time starters, including Kyle Tatum (RT) and Tyrone Prothro (WR).

*On defense two more players made their first career starts, including junior Rudy Griffin (LDT) and junior Juke King (SLB).

*King subbed for the injured preseason All-American DeMeco Ryans, who saw limited action while still trying to completely heal from a preseason ankle sprain.

*Senior Evan Mathis has now made 37 consecutive starts for Alabama, the longest active streak on the team.  Mathis has started both games this season at his new postion (left guard), a move he made this spring.

*Mathis' right tackle position is now anchored by Tatum, who switched from the defensive line to the offensive line this spring.

*Junior Charlie Peprah has made 16 consecutive starts for Alabama.  Peprah is also playing a new position this season, moving from corner back to strong safety this spring.

*Two start streaks ended against Utah State as Ryans and Anthony Bryant were not in the starting lineup. 

*Ryans was nursing a ankle injury suffered on Aug. 21 and saw limited action as a backup linebacker, which ended his streak of 14 consecutive starts for the Tide. 

*Bryant lost his starting job to Grffin in the preseason and saw his streak end at 13 consecutive starts.

*Senior Chris James (LCB) has played more games (38) than anyone on the Alabama team without at least one career start. 

*Senior Carlos Andrews (FS) has played in 39 games in his Alabama career, but has started only one game.


*Alabama had two "true" freshmen in the starting line up against Ole Miss as wide receivers DJ Hall (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) and Keith Brown (Gulfport, Miss.) both started the 2004 SEC opener.

*The duo became the first true freshmen to start for Alabama at wide reciever since Ozzie Newsome started at the receiver position in 1974.

*The Ole Miss game marked the first time since freshmen regained eligibility in 1973 that Alabama has ever started two true freshmen wide receivers in the same game.

*In addition, Hall and Brown become the 13th and 14th true freshmen to start a game for the Crimson Tide since 1973.

*The 2004 season marks the third time since 1973 and second year in a row that Alabama has started two freshmen in the same season.


*Freshman cornerback Simeon Castille and  sophomore fullback Tim Castille both scored touchdowns in the Crimson Tide's season opening win over Utah State. 

*Simeon scored his first collegiate touchdown with a 31-yard interception return on the second play of the third quarter to give Alabama a 24-10 lead. 

*Tim added a one-yard run in the fourth quarter to extend Alabama's lead to 41-17 with just under 13 minutes to play.

*When the elder Castille crossed the goal-line it sent Alabama football historians and researchers scurrying to find the last time, if ever, two brothers had scored in the same game.

*After some exhaustive research, the Castille's are the first set of brothers to score touchdowns in the modern era (since 1933) of Alabama, but not the first set brothers to accomplish the feat in the Crimson Tide's long and storied football history. 

*The feat has now actually happened six times.

*Adrian and Hargrove "Hog" VandeGraaff were the first brothers to score a touchdown in the same game accomplishing the feat in the Crimson Tide's 47-5 win over Birmingham College on Oct. 7, 1911.  Adrian scored four TDs and Hargrove added one TD in the win.

*The duo did it again in the Crimson Tide's 22-0 win over Tulane on Nov. 11, 1911, scoring one TD each in the win. 

*Adrian and Hargrove combined for three TDs in the Crimson Tide's 52-0 win over Marion on Sept. 28, 1912 as "Hog" scored two and Adrian added one score.

*Hargrove "Hog" and his younger brother W. T. "Bully" VandeGraff scored one TD each in the Crimson Tide's 81-0 win over Birmingham College on Oct. 4, 1913.

*Bully VandeGraaff became the Crimson Tide's first All-American in 1915, earning First-Team honors from the Walter Camp Foundation.

*Two more brothers added their names to list in 1914 as Bill and Griff Harsh combined for four TDs in the Crimson Tide's 58-0 win over Tulane on Oct. 31, 1914.  Bill accounted for three TDs and Griff added one.


*Alabama lost three games last season as a result of the fourth quarter, including a pair of overtime losses in SEC play.

*Alabama blew a 31-10 lead at home to Arkansas and eventually lost 34-31 in overtime, allowing 17 points in the fourth quarter and overtime period.

*Against Tennessee, Alabama gave up a late seven-point lead and was outscored 31-23 in the five-overtime loss, in a 51-43 setback.

*In the season finale, Hawai'i scored 21 fourth-quarter points to erase a 21-16 deficit to post a 38-29 win at Aloha Stadium.

*Through two games this season, the fourth quarter results have been dramatically different.

*Against Utah State and Ole Miss, the Crimson Tide has used a ball-controlled offense to post its first 2-0 start since 1999.

*Alabama has rushed for 207 yards in the final quarter of its first two games, which accounts for more than 49 percent of season rushing totals.

*In terms of total offense, Alabama has generated 258 of its 850 total yards (30.5 percent) in the fourth quarter.

*The Crimson Tide has also been efficient in clock management and third downs, too.

*Against Utah State and Ole Miss, Alabama is a combined 6-for-7 (.857) on third downs.

*Alabama's average time of possession in the fourth quarter is 10:46.


*Alabama has had eight touchdown returns in 15 games during the Shula era.

*The Crimson Tide already has one touchdown return in two games this season as true freshman Simeon Castille posted a 31-yard interception return in the third quarter of the season opener with Utah State.

*Alabama scored on five different returns last season, accounting for seven total touchdown returns.

*The 2003 season is believed to be the first time in school history that Alabama has had an interception return, fumble return, punt return, kickoff return and blocked field goal return for touchdowns in the same season.

*In 1990 and 1999, Alabama scored on a punt return, kickoff return and interception return, but did not have the fumble return for a touchdown.


Player, Return (Opponent)
Charlie Peprah 59-yard interception return (USF)
Shaud Williams 73-yard punt return (USF)
Charles Jones 33-yard punt return (Georgia)
Juwan Garth 10-yard fumble return (Georgia)
Chris James 44-yard punt return (Ole Miss)
Brandon Brooks 96-yard kickoff return (Auburn)
Roman Harper 73-yard blocked FG return (Hawai'i)
Simeon Castille 31-yard interception return (Utah St.)


Here is a brief notebook from each of the Crimson Tide's football games this season.

ALABAMA 48, Utah State 17 (Sept. 4)

Alabama improves to 85-21-3 all-time in season openers ... Alabama has won three straight season openers ... The 48 points against Utah State are the most points in a season opener since Alabama beat Cal 66-0 on Sept. 15, 1973 at Legion Field ... Alabama has scored 40 or more points in back-to-back season openers for the first time since 1941-42 ... During those two years, Alabama whipped Southwestern Louisiana 47-6 in 1941 and 54-0 in 1942 ... Utah State was the Crimson Tide's 117th different opponent ... The win over Utah State snaps a five-game losing streak to first-time opponents at Bryant-Denny Stadium ... The streak included losses to Central Florida (2000), UCLA (2001), Auburn (2002), Oklahoma (2003) and Northern Illinois (2003) ... Alabama posted its 150th all-time win in the month of September ... The win over Utah State improved Alabama to 3-0 all-time on Sept. 4th ...

ALABAMA 28, Ole Miss 7 (Sept. 11)

The Crimson Tide improved to 46-20-2 (.691) all-time record in SEC openers since the league was formed in 1933 ...  Alabama has now won 13 consecutive SEC openers, dating back to 1992 ... The current 13-game winning streak in SEC openers, includes 10 wins over Vanderbilt (1992-2001) and one win over Arkansas (2002), Kentucky (2003) and Ole Miss (2004) ... Alabama is now 9-2 (.818) in SEC openers against Ole Miss ... Alabama earned its sixth straight home win against Ole Miss, dating back to 1992 ... In its last three home wins, Alabama has beaten Ole Miss by a combined 115-21 score ... In addition to this year's 28-7 win, the Crimson Tide also posted a 42-7 win in 2002 and a 45-7 win in 2000 ... The three losses to Alabama in Bryant-Denny Stadium are the only three times a David Cutcliffe-coached team has lost by 20 or more points ...


Alabama fumbled on its opening drive of the Ole Miss game, its first turnover of the 2004 season ... Alabama lost two fumbles in the first quarter of the Ole Miss game, but the defense did not surrender any points ... The Alabama offense had four drives that began inside its own 20-yard line ...Those four drives began at the UA 2, 3, 7 and 15-yard lines ... UA scored touchdowns on two (98-yard drive and 85-yard drive) of those four possessions ... Senior Ray Hudson (Bonifay, Fla.) recorded his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game tonight against Ole Miss ... Hudson ran 14 times for 116 yards and one touchdown ... He also scored two touchdowns in the win over Ole Miss, his first career multiple touchdown game for the Tide ... Hudson's first touchdown was a 13-yard TD reception from Brodie Croyle with 8:15 left in the third quarter ... His second TD was a 46-yard run with 10:34 left in the game to give the Tide a 28-7 lead ... Sophomore running back Kenneth Darby (Huntsville) had a career-high 17 carries for 86 yards in the win over Ole Miss ... Redshirt freshman Matt Caddell (McCalla) hauled in the longest reception of his UA career, gaining 34 yards on a third-and-seven at the Alabama 45-yard line with just over 10 minutes left in the second quarter ... Alabama's first touchdown of the game came on a 10-play, 98-yard drive ... Sophomore tailback Tim Castille (Birmingham) capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run ... The 10 plays and 98 yards are the longest drives of the season by the Crimson Tide ... Sophomore wide receiver Tyrone Prothro (Heflin) hauled in his second career TD reception with a 15-yard catch from Croyle with 7:50 left in the first half to give Alabama a 14-0 lead ...


Junior free safety Roman Harper (Prattville) led the UA defense with 11 tackles, including one sack (-15) in the win over Ole Miss ... He also added two pass breakups, one forced fumble and one QB pressure ... He recorded his third career sack in the second quarter of tonight's game ... Harper's sack (-15 yards) also resulted in a fumble and gave Alabama the ball at the Ole Miss eight-yard line ... Sophomore linebacker Juwan Garth (Decatur) recovered the fumble and was credited with a one-yard return ... The offense scored a touchdown two plays later to give the Tide a 14-0 lead with 7:50 left in the half ... Alabama has forced three turnovers this season resulting in 21 points ... Alabama forced two turnovers in the opener against Utah State and scored 14 points off those two turnovers ...


Redshirt freshman Jamie Christensen (Norcross, Ga.) handled the kickoffs for the second week in a row ... Christensen boomed five touchbacks (9 KO) in the opener and added three more (5 KO) against Ole Miss ... Senior punter Bo Freelend (Eutaw) punted six times for a 40.2 average ... Senior Brian Bostick (Cullman) has made all 12 kicks this season, including 10 extra points and two field goals .. Bostick had a career-high six PATs in the win over Utah State ...


*Senior punter Bo Freelend (Eutaw) has been named to the 2004 Ray Guy Award watch list as potential candidate for the top collegiate punter of the year.

*Freelend has punted 11 times this season for a 41.7 yard average, which ranks fifth in the SEC.   His net punting average of 39.2 yards also ranks fifth in the SEC.

*Last year, he punted 73 times for a 40.8 average.  The 73 punts and 2,976 punting yards ranked third on the school's single-season charts.  Against Ole Miss, he punted five times for 262 yards and tied the Alabama single-game record with a 52.4 yard average for a minimum of five punts. 

*In his UA career, Freelend has punted 84 times (3,435 yards) for a 40.9-yard career average.

*The Ray Guy Award will be presented to the nation's best collegiate punter as determined by a national selection committee made up of sports writers, college football coaches and sports information directors, former punters and members designated by the Greater Augusta Sports Council. Among the statistics to be included in determining the Ray Guy Award winner are total yardage, number of times a punt is downed or kicked out of bounds inside of the opponent's 20-yard line, net average, average return yardage and percentage not returned.  The winner will display leadership and self-discipline, and will have a positive impact on the team's success.

*The Ray Guy Award watch list will be narrowed to ten semi-finalists who will be announced in early November. The national voting body will then vote for the three finalists who will be announced in late November.

*On December 9, 2004 the three finalists will travel to Orlando, Florida for the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, with the winner being announced and presented with the award live on ESPN. Punters are eligible to join the watch list at any time prior to the announcement of the ten semi-finalists.

*Further, the Ray Guy Award winner will be invited to Augusta, Georgia for an exciting two-day celebration, including the Greater Augusta Sports Awards Gala, the Ray Guy Kicking & Punting Academy, and community appearances.


*This is the first-ever meeting between Alabama and Western Carolina.


*Western Carolina is a member of the Southern Conference, a league that was founded more than 80 years ago with the Alabama Crimson Tide as one of its charter members.

*The Southern Conference was formed on February 25, 1921 at a meeting in Atlanta, Ga. Fourteen institutions from the 30-member Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SIAA) reorganized as the Southern Conference.

*The Southern Conference is the nation's fourth oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association. Only the Big Ten (1896), the Missouri Valley (1907) and the Pac-10 (1915) conferences are older in terms of origination.

*Throughout its history, the Southern Conference has been an innovator in college athletics. The Southern Conference was the first "super conference" with its charter membership including the likes of Alabama, Auburn, and North Carolina.

*Those charter members included Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Washington & Lee. Athletic competition began in the fall of 1921.

*In 1922, six more schools - Florida, Louisiana State, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tulane and Vanderbilt - joined the fold. A year later, the University of the South joined the ranks. Virginia Military Institute became a member in 1925 and Duke University came into the fold in 1929. Since then, conference membership has experienced a series of membership changes with 42 institutions having been affiliated with the league. The league has undergone two major transitions during its history.

*The first occurred in December 1932 when the Southeastern Conference was formed out of the 23-school Southern Conference. The league's 13 members west and south of the Appalachian Mountains reorganized to help reduce the extensive travel demands that were present in the league at the time. In 1936, the Southern Conference invited The Citadel, William & Mary, Davidson, Furman, Richmond and Wake Forest to join the membership.

*The second major shift happened in 1953 when Clemson, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest officially withdrew from the league to form the Atlantic Coast Conference. This change was brought about due to the desire of many of those schools to schedule a greater number of regular season basketball games against their local rivals.

*Former Alabama head football coach Wallace Wade was named the first commissioner in December 1950. 

*Former Alabama basketball player Dave Hart, Jr., was named the commissioner of the Southern Conference in 1987.  Hart orchestrated the transfer of the league office from Charlotte, NC to Asheville, NC.

*Alabama alum and former general manager of the Crimson Tide Sports Network, Wright Waters (now the commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference) succeeded Hart upon his retirement in 1991.  Under Waters' leadership, the Southern Conference expanded to 12 members, added three women's sports and posted record revenue from the basketball tournament.

*The Southern Conference has also been a breeding ground for some of college athletics' most recognized coaches and administrators.

*The legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant got his coaching start in the Southern Conference as he guided the Maryland Terrapins in 1945.  Bryant led the Terps to a 6-2-1 record in his lone season as head coach.

*Another former Crimson Tide football player and Southern Conference football coach, who reached "folk legend" status is the late Frank Howard of Clemson, who guided the Tigers as a league member from 1940-52.  The incomparable Howard won 69 Southern Conference games which still ranks tied for fourth on the league's all-time coaching victories list.  Howard lettered in football at Alabama from 1928-30, while the Crimson Tide was a strong member of the Southern Conference.

*Wade led the Duke football program to six Southern Conference championships in his 16-year term as the Blue Devils head coach. Wade was the league's all-time winningest gridiron coach with 110 victories until that mark was surpassed in 2002 by Appalachian State's Jerry Moore.

*Wade coached at Alabama from 1923-30 and led the Crimson Tide to Southern Conference football titles in 1924, 1925, 1926 and 1930. 

*The Crimson Tide also won two national championships while playing in the Southern Conference in 1925 and 1926.

*The 1925 Alabama team posted a 10-0 record and beat Washington 20-19 in the Jan. 1, 1926 Rose Bowl.

*The 1926 Alabama team was 9-0-1, which included a 7-7 tie with Stanford in the Jan. 1, 1927 Rose Bowl.


*Western Carolina (2-0) has rolled to a pair of relatively easy wins to open the 2004 season, beating West Virginia State (77-7) and Nicholls State (28-7).

*The Catamounts rank second in the Southern Conference in scoring offense (52.5 ppg).

*Western Carolina leads the Southern Conference in scoring defense (7.0 ppg), total defense (156.5 yards) and passing defense (68.0 yards/per game).

*WCU also leads the league with a plus eight turnover margin in two games.  The Catamounts have forced 10 turnovers (six interceptions and four fumbles) this season.

*The 77-7 win over West Virginia State in the 2004 season opener (Sept. 2) are the most points ever scored by a Western Carolina football team.  The previous record was 70 points in win over Newberry in 1969.

*In the win over West Virginia State, true freshman line backer Travis Hill (Rock Hill, SC) earned Southern Conference and National Player of the Week honors with an impressive collegiate debut, which included two interception returns for touchdowns.

*With the Catamounts leading 43-0 early in the third quarter, Hill intercepted a pass and returned it six yards for a touchdown.  Later in the quarter, he added a 35-yard interception return for a score.  With that, he tied the Southern Conference and NCAA I-AA record by returning two interceptions in the same game. 

*Hill finished the game with nine tackles, including one for a loss, with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery to go along with his two interceptions.

*Western Carolina recorded five interceptions in the win over West Virginia State and tied a Southern Conference and NCAA I-AA record with three interceptions returns for touchdowns in the season opener.

*The five interceptions against West Virginia State are even more impressive considering that Western Carolina had only six interceptions all of last year.

*In the win over Nicholls State, sophomore Nicholas Wishart rushed for 92 yards and three touchdowns.

*Western Carolina is 0-8 (.000) all-time against teams from the SEC, including 0-4 vs. South Carolina; 0-2 vs. Auburn and 0-1 against Georgia and LSU.

*The Alabama game is the first of three straight road games for Western Carolina.  After playing Alabama this week, the Catamounts play at Gardner-Webb on Sept. 25 and Furman on Oct. 2.  WCU returns home Oct. 9 to face NCAA I-AA power Georgia Southern.

*Alabama running backs coach Sparky Woods is a former head coach at Appalachian State, a member of the Southern Conference.

*Woods coached at Appy State from 1983-88 and posted a 4-2 record against Western Carolina.

*Woods led the Mountaineers to a pair of Southern Conference championships in 1986 (9-2-1, 6-0 SoCon) and 1987 (11-3, 7-0 SoCon) reaching the NCAA I-AA playoffs each year.

*Alabama wide receivers coach Charlie Harbison served as an assistant coach at Southern Conference member Gardner- Webb on two different occasions.  Harbison was the defensive backs coach in 1984-85 and was the receivers coach at Gardner-Webb in 1992-93.  Gardner-Webb did not play Western Carolina during those four years.


*Alabama is 8-1 (.889) all-time against teams from the state of North Carolina.

*Alabama is 6-0 at home against teams from the Tar Heel state.

*The Crimson Tide's only loss was a 29-26 setback to Duke in the 1945 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.


Date               Result of Game
Oct. 8, 1938       Alabama 14, NC State 0
Jan. 1, 1944       Duke 29, Alabama 26
Oct. 14, 1961      Alabama 26, NC State 7
Oct. 3, 1964       Alabama 21, NC State 0
Sept. 9, 1972      Alabama 35, Duke 12
Dec. 31, 1993      Alabama 24, UNC 10
Oct. 7, 1995       Alabama 27, NC State 11
Oct. 12, 1996      Alabama 24, NC State 19
Oct. 17, 1998      Alabama 23, ECU 22


*Alabama is 3-0 (1.000) all-time against I-AA teams since the division of football was formed in 1978.

*The Western Carolina game will be Alabama's first against a I-AA opponent in 10 years.

*The last meeting with a I-AA school took place on Sept. 3, 1994 as the Crimson Tide opened the season with a 42-13 win over UT Chattanooga.  Alexander City native and current NFL star Terrell Owens played in the game for the Mocs.  He caught one pass for seven yards.

*Alabama's first-ever game against a I-AA opponent took place on Oct. 2, 1982 at Legion Field as the Crimson Tide beat the Arkansas State Indians, 34-7.  The game was arranged by coach Paul "Bear" Bryant to play ASU, who was coached by one of Bryant's close, personal friends, Larry Lacwell.


Date        Result of game
10-2-82     Alabama 34, Arkansas State 7
10-5-91     Alabama 53, Chattanooga 7
9-3-94      Alabama 42, Chattanooga 13


*Western Carolina is Alabama's 118th different football opponent and second this season.

*Alabama opened the 2004 season against another first-time foe Utah State.

*The 2004 season marks the fifth consecutive year that Alabama has played two teams for the first time in its history.

*Alabama has compiled an 86-29-2 (.743)  all-time record against first-time opponents.

*The Crimson Tide is 72-21-1 (.763) during the regular season against first-time foes.

*Alabama also owns a 14-8 (.636) record in bowl games when playing an opponent for the first time.

*Alabama is 6-3 (.667) against first-time opponents since the 2000 season and 12-3 (.800) since 1988.

*The 1999 season is the last time Alabama did not play a first-time opponent.


Alabama's on campus home since 1929, Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of college football's most scenic venues.

*The 2004 season marks the 75th anniversary of Bryant-Denny Stadium and Denny Chimes, two of the campus' more famous landmarks.

*The Crimson Tide has compiled an all-time record of 191-38-3 (.830) in 232 games at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

*The stadium was originally named for former University of Alabama President Dr. George H. Denny.  Denny, who was named UA President on Jan. 1, 1912, began an extraordinary career that spanned almost a quarter of a century. 

*Bryant-Denny Stadium and Denny Chimes (located on the UA quadrangle) stand as reminders to Denny's legacy to the Capstone.

*In 1976, the State of Alabama Legislature and the UA Board of Trustees added coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's name to the stadium, thus calling Alabama's football home Bryant-Denny Stadium.


In addition to its impressive record at Bryant-Denny Stadium (1929-present), Alabama has made Tuscaloosa a very difficult place to play for opposing football teams. 

*Alabama has compiled a 276-51-3 (.841) record in 330 all-time games in Tuscaloosa. 

*Alabama was 2-5 (.286) here in Tuscaloosa last season and is 6-7 (.462) here during the 2002-03 seasons.

UA Football All-Time Tuscaloosa Record

Site             Record       Pct.
Quad              42-11      .794
Denny Field       43-2       .956
Bryant-Denny     191-38-3    .830
Total            276-52-3    .841

*Alabama's first game on campus was a 4-0 loss to Birmingham Athletic Club on Oct. 14, 1893.

*From 1911-28, Alabama posted a 55-2 (.965) record in Tuscaloosa.  The 1929 season marked the opening of what is now known as Bryant-Denny Stadium.

*Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant posted a remarkable 72-2 (.973) record in Tuscaloosa, losing only to Florida (1963) and Southern Miss (1982).  The USM game was the last game he ever coached at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

*From 1963-82, Alabama posted an NCAA record 57-game home winning streak. 

*Miami has since broken that record with a 58-game home winning streak, but the Hurricanes record also includes three wins in the post-season Orange Bowl game.  All of UA's 57 wins were in the regular-season.

*The 57-game winning streak is one of seven winning streaks longer than 15 games for the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.


Alabama has compiled a 120-38-7 (.748) all-time record in its previous 165 night games.

*The Crimson Tide's first-ever night game was a 26-0 win over Spring Hill College at Murphy High School in Mobile on Sept. 27, 1940.

*The first-ever Tuscaloosa night game was a 48-6 win over Duquesne on Oct. 8, 1948.


*Alabama will play its first three games of the 2004 season under the lights marking the first time since the 1972 season that the Crimson Tide opened the year with three consecutive night games.

*Alabama began the 1972 season with consecutive night games against Duke, Kentucky and Vanderbilt.  The Duke and Kentucky games were played at Legion Field.

*The 2004 season marks the 10th time in school history the Crimson Tide has opened the year with three straight night games.  In fact, Alabama played four straight night games to open the 1951 season under coach Harold "Red" Drew.


Year     Opponents
2004     Utah State, Ole Miss and Western Carolina
1972     Duke, Kentucky and Vanderbilt
1964     Georgia, Tulane and Vanderbilt
1962     Georgia, Tulane and Vanderbilt
1958     LSU, Vanderbilt and Furman
1957     LSU, Vanderbilt and TCU
1954     Southern Miss, LSU and Vanderbilt
1953     Southern Miss, LSU and Vanderbilt
1952     Southern Miss, LSU and Miami, Fla.
1951     Delta State, LSU, Vanderbilt and Villanova


The Western Carolina game will mark just the 25th night game in the history of Bryant-Denny Stadium, but eighth in the last 12 games played on campus.

*Alabama played a school record four night games here in Tuscaloosa last season, including games with Oklahoma, Kentucky, Northern Illinois and LSU.

*Overall, Alabama has compiled an 19-5 (.792) record in Bryant-Denny Stadium night games. 


*Alabama has compiled a 151-37-5 (.795) in 193 all-time games in the month of September. 

*The Crimson Tide won its 150th all-time September game with a 48-17 win over Utah State in the 2004 season opener.

*Dating back to 1997, Alabama is just 16-12 (.571) in its last 28 September games.

*In its first-ever game in the month of September, Alabama posted a 24-0 win over Howard on Sept. 30, 1911.

*Alabama was 1-3 (.250) last season in the month of September.

*Alabama posted a 30-0-2 (.968) record in its first 32 September games before finally losing at Tulane (21-20) on Sept. 27, 1945.

*The school's longest winning streak in the month of September is 19 games from Sept. 30, 1911 through Sept. 29, 1934. 

*The Crimson Tide also posted an 18-game winning streak (Sept. 19, 1970-Sept. 28, 1974) and a 16-game winning streak (Sept. 21, 1991 through Sept. 9, 1995) in the month.


*Alabama has compiled a 4-3 (.571) all-time on-the-field record in games played on Sept. 18th.

*The Crimson Tide has not played on this date since suffering a last-second 29-28 loss to Louisiana Tech at Legion Field in 1999.

Games Played on Sept. 18th

Date     Result of Game (Site)
1953     Southern Miss 25, Alabama 19 (Montgomery)
1965     Georgia 18, Alabama 17 (Athens)
1971     Alabama 42, Southern Miss 7 (Birmingham)
1976     Alabama 56, SMU 3 (Birmingham)
1982     Alabama 42, Ole Miss 14 (Jackson)
1993     Alabama 43, Arkansas 3 (Tuscaloosa)
1999     Louisiana Tech 29, Alabama 28 (Birmingham)