TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama's 35-0 win over Western Kentucky will look good on paper -- that is, unless you scroll down to the injury and participation report.
No. 1 Alabama didn't escape its home debut Saturday without a few players getting dinged up. Junior running back Jalston Fowler had a scare late in the fourth quarter, injuring his knee. The Tide's No. 2 tailback had to be helped off the field and sat in pain on the trainer's table for several minutes. Players crowded around him and offered their support after seeing how serious the injury looked.
After the game, coach Nick Saban had no update on Fowler's knee and said he would get an MRI in the morning. Fowler left the game on a stretcher, emotionally distraught.
"It's really tough when you see a player, no matter what it is or who it is, go down," said receiver Christion Jones. "But one thing you have to do, is figure out what you can do to get him back right."
Sophomore linebacker/H-back Brent Calloway had to leave the game after injuring his shoulder. True freshman linebacker Reggie Ragland didn't dress out after injuring himself during last Saturday's game against Michigan.
Ragland's injury wasn't the only holdover to affect the game against Western Kentucky. Alabama had to play without two starters on defense. Nose guard Jesse Williams and cornerback Dee Milliner never saw the field. Williams suffered a concussion against Michigan and practiced on Wednesday and Thursday after scoring well on his post-concussion tests, prior to experiencing the headache Saturday morning.
"The doctor said if you don't need [Williams] to play, don't play him, so we didn't," Saban said. "Hopefully that will give him time to get over that."
Williams' loss on the defensive line meant Alabama was forced to take the redshirt off true freshman Darren Lake. the 6-foot-3, 315-pound nose guard gave the Tide some much-needed depth on the line, according to Saban.
Milliner, who was an SEC Player of the Week for his performance against Michigan, strained his hip flexor and didn't feel 100 percent in pre-game warmups, according to Saban.
"He said he could have played if we needed him to play," Saban said. "I just didn't want to take a chance setting him back.
"I thought it was good that John Fulton got a chance to play and get some experience. I thought John did a good job for us."