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Final Predictions for Alabama vs. Western Kentucky

It’s finally gameday in Tuscaloosa and Bryant-Denny Stadium is starting to fill in for the Crimson Tide’s home opener. After beating down USC in Week 1, Alabama looks to stay undefeated against Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers bring a high-powered offense that is led by the nation’s leading passer Mike White. As the countdown to kickoff winds down, I make a few final predictions for the game.

Damien Harris outgains Bo Scarbrough. Again. 

For some reason, we all overlooked Damien Harris over the offseason because of the big, talented Tuscaloosa-native. However, Harris showed why experience means so much in football when he ran for 138 yards in the season opener. This tandem looks like it could work a lot like an NFL backfield. Harris could work as the speed back, playing through most of each drive, while Scarbrough plays as a power back. He would be the go-to-guy in short yardage and goal line situations.

Mike White throws for 300 yards. And two interceptions.

This may have more to do with how much the Hilltoppers will be forced to throw but White has stepped in and shown he could be better than former quarterback Brandon Doughty. White has plenty of options in the passing game. Look for Taywan Taylor to have the defense’s focus but he will still be capable of making plays. Wide receiver Nacarius Fant and tight end Shaquille Jackson will be two players that could help pad White’s passing stats. That being said, passing yards do not always lead to scores. I expect the Tide’s defense to be lockdown inside the red zone and force some bad throws with the pass rush.

2016 Calvin Ridley introduces himself.

Ridley did not need to do much against USC and will likely not be needed again but he’ll show up on Saturday. I expect he gets the ball on his normal bubble screens but they will work better against the Western Kentucky defense. I’ll put him at going for 110 yards and a touchdown.

Alabama wins 41-14. 

That score line may not look great for any of you that picked Alabama to cover the spread (-28.5) but the Crimson Tide will get the job done. This week in college football needs some excitement and I’ve learned the sport will always give it to the fans in one way or another. So I expect Western Kentucky to get off to a fast start and possibly hold a first half lead. It will give Twitter something fun to discuss for about 30 minutes before Lane Kiffin’s offense takes over in the second quarter.

BONUS: Nick Saban officially names Jalen Hurts as the starter for the season before next week.

Hurts was the clear choice last weekend and I think today’s game against the Hilltoppers pushes him even higher. I think all three quarterbacks get plenty of snaps on Saturday afternoon but the true freshman will make the most of his plays and will face the toughest test of his short career in Week 3: A trip to Oxford to stop a two-game losing streak to the Rebels.

Caleb Turrentine is a columnist and contributor at Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He also does work for Alabama’s team page at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @CalebTurrentine.

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