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Alabama survives West Virginia scare

Blake Sims, Kyle Rose

No. 2 Alabama (1-0) was a heavy favorite against West Virginia (0-1), but Nick Saban‘s Crimson Tide had to fight for a victory to prevent a rare three-game losing streak. Alabama held off West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta, winning 33-23.

Alabama used Blake Sims under center and never had a need to mix things up by inserting Jacob Coker, the Florida State transfer. Sims was efficient enough to run the Alabama offense, completing 24 of 33 passes for 250 yards. He was picked off once and did not throw a touchdown pass, but Alabama thrived enough on the ground to make that meaningless. T.J. Yeldon rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns and Derrick Henry added 113 yards and a touchdown. Alabama rolled up over 500 yards of offense and West Virginia struggled to keep up in the second half.

There were some bright spots for Dana Holgorsen to build off from moving forward. Quarterback Clint Trickett passed for 365 yards an a touchdown, but there were too many missed opportunities and dropped passes by West Virginia’s offense to keep the pressure on Alabama.

West Virginia had chances, but dropped passes on key downs and situations prevented the Mountaineers from giving Alabama even more of a challenge. But let’s say this much about the effort shown by West Virginia. We may have seen signs that this year’s team should be better and more respected in the Big 12 than they were a season ago. This may not have been the strongest effort or team we have seen from Alabama in previous seasons, but the Crimson Tide are still a behemoth. West Virgina was not quite playing David to Alabama’s Goliath, but they were a significant underdog that took it to the Tide and kept this game interesting from start to finish. Few seemed to expect that. Can West Virginia compete in the Big 12? There is still some work to prove worthy of being in the same conversation with Oklahoma or Baylor, but we now are taking notice of some potential from West Virginia.

Alabama will hope to get a little more of a breather next week when the Crimson Tide open up the home schedule against Florida Atlantic. West Virginia will open its home schedule next weekend in Morgantown against Towson.

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29 Responses to “Alabama survives West Virginia scare”
  1. penzfan329 says: Aug 30, 2014 7:15 PM

    Dropped passes and missed opportunities for wvu. And dont forget 2 questionable 3rd down penalties against wvu that led to 2 alabama scores. This game was much closer than the score

  2. Deb says: Aug 30, 2014 7:16 PM

    A win is a win, but if the defense isn’t rolling, I’m not happy. On the bright side, though, the offense looked pretty good. At least the defense should improve.

  3. bonnovi says: Aug 30, 2014 7:29 PM


    (Just wait and see.)

  4. dcroz says: Aug 30, 2014 7:41 PM

    Alabama played decently. The defense finally came on in the 4th quarter after being as porous as it was against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Kickoff coverage improved after the touchdown return. The offensive line gave Sims time all day to set up and throw while letting the running backs go for over 250 yards. Sims played well overall; he did give up the pick and was inconsistent at times, but given the situation he did better than expected (as evidenced that Coker didn’t see the field until the last two plays of the game). There is lots of work to be done, but with what should be easy games against Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss the next two weeks (emphasis on “should,” as if such a thing still exists in the modern FBS world) the Tide has time to get some things ironed out.

    As for West Virginia, my hat’s off to them for a well-played game. They looked much better than anyone gave them credit for, and they are going to make some serious noise in the Big XII this year. As shaky as the conference is this year (North Dakota State 34, Iowa State 14) the Mountaineers should make some serious noise.

  5. dhardy8207 says: Aug 30, 2014 7:48 PM

    It was ugly at times but our backs (Henry & Yeldon) did a great job of moving the ball. Our defense would have played better had the leadership been there. Nerves got the best of them in some plays. Would have thought more of
    Blake’s play if there had been at least a (1) in the TD column…

    Hats off to WVU they really played a great game.

    Roll Tide!….

  6. thraiderskin says: Aug 30, 2014 7:50 PM

    Alabama will be fine, they just need to tweak a few things. Its not like their O-line is a complete disaster.

  7. musketmaniac says: Aug 30, 2014 8:16 PM

    our offense plays so fast its hard to rest the D. Bad calls and dropped passes aside, it was a good game. I hope Alabama is a top five team. The game put us closer to where we need to be. Good game bama. and thank you vegas oddsmorons thank you thank you thank you.

  8. bonnovi says: Aug 30, 2014 8:19 PM

    Alabama will be fine, they just need to tweak a few things. Its not like their O-line is a complete disaster.



  9. polegojim says: Aug 30, 2014 8:21 PM

    Alabama is in a transition season… or two. It’s COMPLETELY normal to have scares and shaky games like this one.

    Saban and Co. are difference makers. That’s what you need from a driven and veteran coaching staff.

    Say what you want about Kiffin… but his offense played decently, especially with a green QB.

    All that said… I love the parity.

  10. skybox22blog says: Aug 30, 2014 8:35 PM

    3 times probation since 95, doesn’t matter if WVU scared them. They could have beaten them and bama would have stayed at number 2. Beat Ole Miss by one then they’ll be ranked number one. Don’t worry bama fans.

  11. dcroz says: Aug 30, 2014 8:39 PM


    Have stock in Kleenex?

  12. titansbro says: Aug 30, 2014 8:41 PM

    Some really bad drops by WVU WRs. Too bad, the offense looked good enough to take down the Tide otherwise.

  13. bonnovi says: Aug 30, 2014 8:44 PM

    3 times probation since 95, doesn’t matter if WVU scared them. They could have beaten them and bama would have stayed at number 2. Beat Ole Miss by one then they’ll be ranked number one. Don’t worry bama fans.



  14. iwishwvuwouldbeatbama says: Aug 30, 2014 9:56 PM

    WVU lost to the refs not the tide.

  15. pricecube says: Aug 30, 2014 10:51 PM

    The Big 12 looks shaky? WV and OSU … mid tier Big 12 teams… are giving the number 1 and 2 teams in the nation all they want. The Big 12 is looking pretty strong from where I am sitting.

  16. dallashomer says: Aug 31, 2014 12:10 AM

    You can’t spell CHEATERS without SEC.

  17. musketmaniac says: Aug 31, 2014 12:17 AM

    The un sportsmanlike penalty that led to a bama touchdown was total bullshyt. but bama still wins by a field goal remember they killed the ball late instead of trying to score late. good start hopefully we play that way all year. Wvu fans can be happy with tricket

  18. dcroz says: Aug 31, 2014 12:35 AM


    If WVU and OSU are “mid tier” Big XII teams, then who are the elite ones? The only team that anyone has faith in this season is Oklahoma, and that has about as much to do with their win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last year as anything else. Everyone else is either rebuilding or is just hideously horrible (Iowa State, Kansas). The Mountaineers and Cowboys gave a good accounting of themselves today, but the conference as a whole is not looking to challenge for the top league this year.

  19. pricecube says: Aug 31, 2014 12:41 AM


    Saying that the Big 12 is shaky based on the Iowa State game would be like saying the SEC is shaky based on Vanderbilt getting blown out by Temple. It was a stupid comment.

  20. pricecube says: Aug 31, 2014 12:59 AM


    For the record preseason polls are stupid… but Oklahoma State and West Virginia are ranked sixth and seventh in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State, Texas and TCU. In a conference with just ten teams that puts them a little below mid-tier currently.

    See here:

  21. pricecube says: Aug 31, 2014 1:18 AM

    Finally it seems to me you are moving the goal posts a little… “not looking to challenge” as the best conference in the nation is somehow equivalent to the whole conference being “shaky”? Wtf?

  22. 24pointlead says: Aug 31, 2014 9:11 AM

    Sims was better than expected, but I wanted to see Coker. Congrats to Bama on the win.

  23. totallysirius says: Aug 31, 2014 10:47 AM

    Good thing Saban paid off the refs or WVU would have score 2 more touchdowns and won 37-34.

    2 phantom 3rd down penalties right when bama needed them most?

    How convenient.

  24. huck222 says: Aug 31, 2014 3:03 PM

    ESPN has a large investment in the SEC…. So the calls will be questionable…. Based off of week 1… The teams all look even and this is going to be one interesting season…. I’m a USC Trojans fan and I think we might be on to something special! I just wish they let them young men play and stop all this cheating! WV killed it’s self with them drop passes, because everyone knows the Ref’s will cheat for ESPN & SEC!

  25. dhardy8207 says: Sep 2, 2014 9:26 AM

    iwishwvuwouldbeatbama says:Aug 30, 2014 9:56 PM

    WVU lost to the refs not the tide.


    DING DING DING!…Tell this commentor what he has won… Most Asinine comment of the day!

    The refs were hired by the ACC… Don’t think Saban or the SEC has any control over their calls…

  26. wadaea says: Sep 2, 2014 10:45 AM

    Thank you alabama for hiring lame kitten. the difference from last year to this year shows his impact on the program..even heard him and saban do not agree on a lot of issue..once again thanks..WDE

  27. 8to80texansblog says: Sep 2, 2014 12:50 PM


    Coming from someone who probably needs to change their screen name themselves….. It might be time for a new one for you…. unless you’re holding out for a playoff rematch?

  28. tigersgeaux says: Sep 2, 2014 10:44 PM

    Bama played well enough to win. That is the point.

    Playing WVU is tough. They will play you tough and they get up for the bigger teams. We played them at Baton Rouge and at Morgantown and it was tough both times. When you beat them, you’re happy, but you know you had a game and a game opponent.

  29. politicallyincorrect says: Sep 6, 2014 3:35 PM

    West Virginia is scary

    loved when they came to MD… fans are good but we called them the “toothless horde” and sang the Daniel Boone song with them

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