banner

College Football

more stats

23
Final 1234Score
West Virginia3143323
Alabama31710333
Preview | Matchup | Log | Wrap | Box
33


West Virginia (0-0) vs. (2) Alabama



Saturday, August 30, 3:30 p.m. (ET)

The Sports Network

GAME NOTES: The Big 12 meets the SEC at the Georgia Dome on Saturday afternoon, as the West Virginia Mountaineers challenge the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the Chik-fil-A Kickoff Game.

The 2013 season was another disappointing one for coach Dana Holgorsen and the West Virginia Mountaineers, as the team managed just a 4-8 overall record, which included a 2-7 conference mark. Despite the poor showing, WVU showed a competitive spirit late, as three of its final four games went to overtime.

The Mountaineers have won 10 consecutive season openers, but with a record of 21-17 at the school overall, there is perhaps no coach in the Big 12 feeling the heat more than Holgorsen.

The Crimson Tide, winners of the BCS National Championship in 2009, 2011 and 2012, came into last season with lofty expectations, and for the first 11 games they lived up to their billing as the No. 1 team in the land.

However, Alabama's quest for a third straight national title came to an end after the team dropped a stunning 34-28 decision to bitter rival Auburn. Despite the disappointment, coach Nick Saban's squad received an at-large bid to the Sugar Bowl, but came out on the short end of a 45-31 final against Oklahoma.

Alabama has won its last 12 season openers, and is 20-2 in such contests dating back to 1991.

This bout marks the first-ever meeting between West Virginia and Alabama on the football field.

West Virginia's strength on offense last season was in the passing game, as the unit ranked fourth in the Big 12 and 34th nationally with an average of 262.3 ypg. That number could have been even bigger if not for the fact that the Mountaineers were one of the worst teams in the nation in third-down conversions.

Quarterback Clint Trickett appeared to be on his way to making the team his last season, his first in Morgantown after transferring in from Florida State, but he suffered a shoulder injury and struggled afterward. Holgorsen, however, has all the faith in the world that the senior will be able to take the next step.

"Why I named him the starter, he's healthy, 100 percent. Arm strength is awesome, body weight is good," Holgorsen said last month.

"He's been out there working with our guys all summer. There's a rapport that needs to exist with him and the receivers in order to be successful."

Receivers Kevin White and Daikiel Shorts, the latter of whom is the team's top returning pass catcher (45 receptions, 495 yards, two TDs) will help keep the passing attack on point, while the run will feature the talents of Dreamius Smith, Dustin Garrison, Andrew Buie and Rushel Shell.

From a defensive standpoint, the Mountaineers took it on the chin more often than not in 2013, as they were battered for 33.3 points and 455.0 yards per contest -- both ranking them among the worst teams in the Big 12, as well as he nation. They were especially inept when it came to defending the pass (263.3 ypg -- last in the league, 106th nationally).

The defensive line doesn't welcome back a single starter, but a solid rotation of several guys, including sophomore Christian Brown, could help the unit be an area of strength as the season moves along.

Senior Brandon Golson is probably the most versatile of WVU's defenders, and he will join junior Nick Kwiatkowski, the team's top returning tackler (86 stops), to form a productive linebacking unit.

The secondary, which was much-maligned last season, could be in for a bounce- back campaign as senior safety Karl Joseph provides veteran leadership, while sophomore Daryl Worley and senior Ishmael Banks do their best to make plays from their spots on the outside.

Alabama returns five starters on offense, including three along the offensive line, but it will need to overcome the loss of the most prolific quarterback in team history.

The departure of A.J. McCarron (.673 completion percentage, 3,063 yards, 28 TDs, seven INTs in 2013) has left a gaping hole under center, but the squad is expecting big things out of Jacob Coker, a transfer from Florida State who spent last season serving as the backup to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. While Coker hasn't officially been named the starter, he apparently had the better training camp, thus giving him a leg up on Blake Sims.

While the quarterback position may still be uncertain, at least Saban knows he can trust his running backs. T.J. Yeldon scored 14 touchdowns last year and has rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons in Tuscaloosa. Derrick Henry is expected to garner more work, especially after his outstanding performance in the Sugar Bowl (eight carries, 100 yards, TD, 61-yard TD reception).

Amari Cooper (45 receptions, 736 yards, four TDs) is one of the SEC's top receivers, and he is expected to work alongside other talented pass catchers in Christion Jones (36 receptions, 349 yards, two TDs) and DeAndrew White (32 receptions, 534 yards, four TDs).

Saban brought in former Tennessee and USC head coach Lane Kiffin to serve as offensive coordinator after Doug Nussmeier left for Michigan.

"The players have responded to him very well," Saban said of Kiffin. "New energy, new enthusiasm, new ideas to do some things offensively that will enhance our chances of being successful."

In addition to efficient and productive offensive play, the Crimson Tide are known for having one of the top defenses in the nation, and last season was no exception as they ranked fourth in scoring defense (13.9 ppg) and fifth in total defense (286.5 ypg). It was the fifth straight season that 'Bama led the SEC in scoring defense, and the sixth straight in which it led in total defense.

Finding replacements for former stars C.J. Mosley (108 tackles, 9.0 TFL) and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (52 tackles, two INTs) won't be easy, but Saban is used to having to fill holes after the NFL raids his roster from one season to the next.

Safety Landon Collins (70 tackles, two INTs, two FF), linebacker Trey Depriest (65 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks) and defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson (8.0 TFL, 5.5 sacks) are the most experienced of the returning players, and all three were Preseason First Team All-SEC picks.

Other who could have a big year include defensive end Jarran Reed, linebackers Denzel Devall and Reggie Regland, and corner Bradley Sylve.

The Mountaineers are likely to have a bit more success this season than they did a year ago, but they are facing a very tough test in the opener. Even without a proven commodity at quarterback, the Crimson Tide are the better all-around team, and one that should challenge once again for SEC and national supremacy.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Alabama 35, West Virginia 17

08/29 15:14:59 ET

Other Stories

  • The Logan Zone

    Today at 11:30 am on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Detroit at New England

    Today at 1:00 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Cleveland at Atlanta

    Today at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Miami at Denver

    Today at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: NC State vs. South Florida

    Today at 4:00 pm on WRAL-FM

  • NFL: Washington at San Francisco

    Today at 4:15 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Dallas at NY Giants

    Tonight at 8:30 on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 21
NCA 14
 
Final
DAVID 72
UNC 90
Final
ECU 34
TULA 6
 
Final
COL 4
CAR 3
Final
DUKE 70
STAN 59
4:00pm Today
CREI
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
NCSU
SFLA
 
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
 
Final
ORL 92
MIA 99
Final
IND 83
PHO 106
Final
NYK 91
PHI 83
Final
CLE 93
TOR 110
Final
HOU 95
DAL 92
Final
MIN 101
SAC 113
Final
SAN 99
BRK 87
Final
MIL 100
WAS 111
Final
UTA 94
NOP 106
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
 
6:00pm Tonight
MEM
LAC
 
6:00pm Tonight
BOS
POR
 
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
GSW
 
9:30pm Tonight
LAL
DEN
 
Final
UGA 55
CHSO 9
Final
UF 52
EKU 3
Final
OSU 42
IND 27
Final
OKLA 44
KU 7
Final
UAB 18
MARS 23
Final
NEB 24
MINN 28
Final
PURD 14
NW 38
 
Final
ILL 16
PSU 14
Final
MSU 45
RUTG 3
Final
UCF 53
SMU 7
 
Final
SCAR 37
SALABAMA 12
Final
WKENT 45
TXSANANTO 7
 
Final
WAKE 6
VT 3
 
Final
ODU 30
LATU 27
Final
ARST 52
WASU 31
Final
CMICH 20
WMICH 32
 
Final
COLST 58
NMU 20
Final
LALAF 16
APPST 35
Final
BST 45
EMICH 30
Final
HOU 38
TULSA 28
Final
UTAH 10
ARZ 42
Final
FSU 20
BC 17
Final
UNT 17
FIU 14
 
Final
CLEM 28
GASTATE 0
 
Final
ND 28
LOU 31
 
Final
MICH 16
MD 23
 
Final
ARK 30
MISS 0
Final
PITT 30
SYR 7
Final
ISU 31
TTU 34
 
Final
ECU 34
TULA 6
 
Final
IOWA 24
WISC 26
Final
MEM 31
SFLA 20
Final
CAL 17
STAN 38
Final
NMST 17
LAMON 30
Final
ALA 48
WCAR 14
Final
OREG 44
COL 10
Final
MTST 35
FATL 34
Final
UVA 30
MIAMI 13
Final
AUB 31
SAMF 7
Final
TENN 21
MIZZ 29
Final
BAY 49
OKST 28
Final
MSST 51
VANDY 0
Final
UCONN 0
CIN 41
Final
UCLA 38
USC 20
Final
WYO 14
BSU 63
Final
NEV 20
FRES 40
 
Final
WASH 37
ORST 13
Final
HAW 37
UNLV 35
 
Final
PRIN 68
INCWORD 79
 
Final
UMASS 68
ND 81
Final
GEOR 80
RMU 66
 
Final
LAS 59
PETE 50
Final
VT 63
APP 65
 
Final
IUPUI 71
BST 69
Final
WMICH 91
DRAK 75
 
Final
RICH 80
HIGH 56
 
Final
MSST 71
UTST 63
Final
CAMP 48
COL 54
 
Final
DAVID 72
UNC 90
Final
NIOWA 66
UNF 49
 
Final
CSNO 79
SAMF 72
 
Final
YALE 61
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
NEV 50
CLEM 59
Final
PROV 80
FSU 54
 
Final
MARQ 89
NEOM 97
Final
DET 66
SALA 53
 
Final
TXSA 80
TXST 67
 
Final
CHIST 75
TRINCHRIS 52
 
Final
UMO 63
LIB 52
 
Final
BONA 59
CAN 53
 
Final
SAV 87
CLST 83
 
Final
NW 68
ELON 67
 
Final
RFLSH 57
MDES 53
 
Final
CARK 68
SEMIZ 74
 
Final
AFA 90
WSCO 60
 
Final
YOUNG 82
LONG 72
 
Final
MTST 66
SOUTH 48
 
Final
ARKLR 73
UMKC 68
Final
ABCHRIST 81
DUQ 102
 
Final
WEBER 58
LSU 72
 
Final
BUT 80
GHND 39
 
Final
CSFU 70
SJST 66
 
Final
WOFF 72
SD 68
Final
NORST 76
TXSOU 66
 
Final
COOK 42
TOWS 63
 
Final
SILL 46
YALE 53
 
Final
KNST 83
ALCOR 80
 
Final
MAN 78
BING 63
 
Final
JVST 88
MILES 71
 
Final
CSOU 79
WRST 86
 
Final
CITA 81
BOBJONES 50
 
Final
INDST 78
BRO 66
 
Final
WYO 56
COL 33
 
Final
GSOUT 97
FCCOL 41
 
Final
CCAR 76
PIEDINT 33
 
Final
LATU 63
AMER 44
 
Final
MAR 62
ARMY 76
 
Final
TENT 69
CHAT 67
Final
EKENT 115
CLERMONT 50
 
Final
SMU 77
EWASH 68
Final
NIAG 62
HART 65
 
Final
PENN 77
LAF 83
 
Final
UCSB 91
MASTERS 45
 
Final
BUCK 69
MNTER 73
 
Final
VMI 93
UNCW 110
 
Final
RIU 66
NEB 62
Final
NKENTUCKY 98
OHMWSTRN 48
 
Final
GTDNS 73
QUIN 76
 
Final
EMICH 70
UNCG 62
Final
ETST 98
UNCA 87
 
Final
TEMPL 50
UNLV 57
 
Final
STJOE 68
VERM 60
 
Final
MON 65
CCST 50
Final
KSU 78
ILLCH 60
Final
FAIR 60
SHSU 74
Final
LIP 74
TRANSYLVAN 63
 
Final
FUR 55
UCD 58
Final
WKENT 63
BEL 64
Final
NDST 74
HAMP 66
 
Final
IND 85
LAM 72
 
Final
TTU 80
MIZST 68
Final
HOU 72
MRGST 57
 
Final
NAVY 44
NE 68
Final
ALAAM 81
OAKW 61
 
Final
WILL 60
SELA 57
 
Final
TULA 89
SONO 45
 
Final
TXPA 82
A 77
 
Final
RICE 65
WMARY 69
Final
TXARL 87
HOUB 69
 
Final
MINN 69
UMBC 51
 
Final
UTEP 77
NMST 76
 
Final
GONZ 109
STTHOM 55
Final
SUTAH 75
WLVRN 85
 
Final
PBY 49
MORE 69
 
Final
DUKE 70
STAN 59
Final
WISC 78
BSU 54
Final
PORT 75
SIUE 53
9:30am Today
MAINE
VALPO
 
11:30am Today
GMAS
COC
 
12:00pm Today
FSU
UMASS
 
12:00pm Today
SHSU
WOFF
 
12:00pm Today
UNCG
YOUNG
 
12:30pm Today
CMICH
ARKPB
 
1:00pm Today
ILLCH
SILL
 
1:30pm Today
MORE
AMER
 
1:30pm Today
CORN
DREX
 
2:00pm Today
CCST
COOK
 
2:00pm Today
ARKLR
CSNO
 
2:00pm Today
LEH
CLMB
 
2:00pm Today
USB
MERMAR
 
2:00pm Today
FAIR
SD
 
2:00pm Today
NMU
TEXAM
 
2:00pm Today
STLU
TAMCC
 
2:30pm Today
EMICH
LONG
 
2:30pm Today
ND
PROV
 
3:00pm Today
RAD
CATAWBA
 
3:00pm Today
DEN
COPST
 
3:00pm Today
UAB
JST
 
3:00pm Today
WICHS
NWM
 
3:00pm Today
OKLA
NWST
 
3:30pm Today
PSU
USC
 
3:30pm Today
KSU
YALE
 
4:00pm Today
CREI
NCCU
 
4:00pm Today
NCSU
SFLA
 
4:00pm Today
UCR
STKAT
 
4:05pm Today
HC
NICHOLSCOL
 
4:30pm Today
BC
DAY
 
4:30pm Today
MON
TOWS
 
4:30pm Today
SAMF
UMKC
 
4:30pm Today
HOF
WAGN
 
5:00pm Tonight
CIN
EILL
 
5:00pm Tonight
UGA
FATL
 
5:00pm Tonight
BRAD
NCAT
 
5:00pm Tonight
LATU
PBY
 
5:00pm Tonight
RUTG
Terriers
 
5:30pm Tonight
NAVY
BING
 
6:00pm Tonight
SHU
GWEBB
 
6:00pm Tonight
UNT
IONA
 
6:00pm Tonight
KENT
MNTST
 
6:00pm Tonight
FORD
MLOWELL
 
6:00pm Tonight
UCF
USCU
 
6:30pm Tonight
SCAR
AKR
 
6:30pm Tonight
WVU
UCONN
 
7:00pm Tonight
CALST
DEL
 
7:00pm Tonight
HOW
HOOD
 
7:00pm Tonight
OSU
SHU
 
7:00pm Tonight
VANDY
TENST
 
8:00pm Tonight
NE
MAN
 
8:00pm Tonight
COLST
MERC
 
8:00pm Tonight
MISS
NARZ
 
8:00pm Tonight
WASH
PAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
LMU
SDCHR
 
9:00pm Tonight
CHAR
MIAMI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ILLST
ODU
 
9:00pm Tonight
GAELS
UCI
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCLA
LBSU
 
10:30pm Tonight
SEAT
MONT
 
Final
OTT 2
STL 3
Final
WAS 1
BUF 2
Final
PHI 4
CLB 2
Final
TOR 4
DET 1
 
Final
TAM 2
MIN 1
Final
BOS 0
MON 2
 
Final
NYI 4
PIT 1
 
Final
NAS 3
FLA 2
Final
DAL 5
LOS 4
Final
COL 4
CAR 3
Final
EDM 1
CHI 7
Final
CAL 5
NJD 4
Final
SJS 3
ARI 4
4:30pm Today
WIN
STL
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
MON
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
ARI
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
CHI
 
1:00pm Today
HOU
CIN
1:00pm Today
ATL
CLE
1:00pm Today
NEP
DET
1:00pm Today
MIN
GBP
1:00pm Today
IND
JAC
1:00pm Today
CHI
TAM
1:00pm Today
PHI
TEN
4:05pm Today
SEA
ARI
4:05pm Today
SDC
STL
4:25pm Today
DEN
MIA
4:25pm Today
SFX
WAS
8:30pm Tonight
NYG
DAL
Final
NCCU 21
NCA 14