Alabama Outlasts West Virginia


By John Antonik for WVUsports.com
August 30, 2014 05:22 PM

23

33
Georgia Dome | Atlanta, Ga.
Box Score | Post Game Notes | Photo Gallery
 
Team Stat Comparison
  ALA WVU
1st Downs 30 22
Total Yards 538 393
Passing 250 365
Rushing 288 28
Penalties 7-49 6-55
3rd Down Conversions 9-16 5-14
4th Down Conversions 0-1 0-1
Turnovers 1 0
Possession 37:47 22:13
 
Passing Leaders
West Virginia C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Clint Trickett 29/45 365 8.1 1 0
Alabama C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Blake Sims 24/33 250 7.6 0 1
 
Rushing Leaders
West Virginia CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Rushel Shell 10 38 3.8 0 14
Dreamius Smith 3 9 3.0 0 5
Alabama CAR YDS AVG TD LG
T.J. Yeldon 23 126 5.5 2 26
Derrick Henry 17 113 6.6 1 19
 
Receiving Leaders
West Virginia REC YDS AVG TD LG
Kevin White 9 143 15.9 1 29
Wendell Smallwood 6 73 12.2 0 21
Alabama CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Amari Cooper 12 130 10.8 0 24
DeAndrew White 6 73 12.2 0 38
 
Scoring Summary
First Quarter WVU ALA
FG 10:58 Josh Lambert 20 Yd Field Goal 3 0
FG 8:18 Adam Griffith 47 Yd Field Goal 3 3
Second Quarter WVU ALA
TD 14:11 T.J. Yeldon 15 Yd Run (Adam Griffith Kick) 3 10
TD 11:58 Kevin White 19 Yd pass from Clint Trickett (Josh Lambert Kick) 10 10
TD 1:57 T.J. Yeldon 1 Yd Run (Adam Griffith Kick) 10 17
TD 1:43 Mario Alford 100 Yd Kickoff Return (Josh Lambert Kick) 17 17
FG 0:00 Adam Griffith 41 Yd Field Goal 17 20
Third Quarter WVU ALA
TD 7:44 Derrick Henry 19 Yd Run (Adam Griffith Kick) 17 27
FG 4:59 Josh Lambert 42 Yd Field Goal 20 27
FG 1:27 Adam Griffith 27 Yd Field Goal 20 30
Fourth Quarter WVU ALA
FG 13:37 Josh Lambert 41 Yd Field Goal 23 30
FG 8:07 Adam Griffith 45 Yd Field Goal 23 33
 
ATLANTA – There was plenty of action in today’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and it involved both teams this afternoon.
 
As expected, heavily favored Alabama won, but it wasn’t a walk in the park – far from it. The Crimson Tide (1-0) needed three touchdown runs from T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry, and four Adam Griffith field goals to hold off uncooperative West Virginia, 33-23, Saturday at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
 
“I’m not interested in moral victories. We've been working hard to put ourselves in a position to get a win,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “We played hard and we felt like we put ourselves in a position to win.”
 
“I think you have to give West Virginia a lot of credit,” added Alabama coach Nick Saban. “I was really pleased with the way we controlled the ball on offense.”
 
Alabama quarterback Blake Sims completed 24-of-33 passes for 250 yards, and the Tide’s power running game accounted for 288 yards – the majority of those coming from Henry and Yeldon.
 
Yeldon led all ball carriers with 126 yards on 23 carries while Henry added 113 yards on 17 totes.
 
West Virginia moved the ball between the 20s against Alabama’s exceptional defense, finishing the game with 393 total yards, but couldn’t punch it into the end zone where the yards are much more difficult to get.
 
“It’s frustrating because you play against a really good team and you are in position in the fourth quarter to be able to win the game and you don’t have these opportunities very often,” said Holgorsen. “We were in a very similar situation last year when we played Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, and we were in that game, had a chance to win it and we didn’t.”
 
A big sequence came early in the fourth quarter with West Virginia trailing 30-23. The Mountaineers got the ball down to the Alabama 5 after a Clint Trickett-to-Kevin White 25-yard pass.
 
On first and goal, Trickett’s first down pass to a wide-open Elijah Wellman coming out of the backfield fell harmlessly to the ground. Trickett’s fade pass in the corner of the end zone to Kevin White on second down was knocked away brilliantly by Cyrus Jones, then, on third down, Tyler Orlosky’s shotgun snap sailed over Trickett’s head, forcing Josh Lambert to kick a 41-yard field goal, which he converted.
 
West Virginia (0-1) got the ball right back on Alabama’s next possession when Daryl Worley intercepted Blake Sims's pass at the 45 and returned it inside the Crimson Tide 30, but a holding penalty on the return placed the ball back at the 49.
 
West Virginia wasn’t able to cash in on the golden opportunity and Nick O’Toole’s punt was downed at the Alabama 12. Alabama responded with an 11-play, 60-yard drive that ended with Griffith’s fourth field goal, a 45-yarder, making the score 33-23.
 
Griffith’s other field goals covered distances of 47, 41 and 27 yards.
 
The day actually began with field goals, the first one coming from West Virginia’s Josh Lambert on the game’s opening possession – a 20-yarder. Griffith followed with a 47-yard field goal and after a Yeldon 15-yard touchdown run gave Alabama a 10-3 lead, Trickett responded with a beautiful pass to Kevin White in the corner of the end zone that White was able to wrestle away from Bradley Sylve for a 19-yard touchdown.
 
West Virginia’s other TD came on an electrifying 100-yard kickoff return by Mario Alford on which he escaped traffic on the far side of the field and outran Cyrus Jones for the Mountaineers’ first kickoff return for a touchdown since Tavon Austin took one to the house against Kansas State in 2012.
 
Lambert added field goals of 42 and 41 yards in the second half.
 
All seven of Alabama’s scoring drives consumed at least six plays, including four of nine plays or more. The Crimson Tide were outstanding on third down, going seven-for-nine at one point and ending the game nine-of-16.
 
“We had a tough time getting off the field on third down,” said Holgorsen.
 
Trickett completed 29-of-45 passes for 365 yards and a touchdown and White led all receivers with 143 yards receiving on nine catches.
 
After moving the ball ground on its first two possessions with Rushel Shell carrying the football, West Virginia’s running game could only produce 28 yards rushing on 24 attempts.
 
“I felt like we are better at every position and after watching this game I feel like we are better at every position,” said Holgorsen. “Now I think everybody has got to rally around this team for the rest of the season.”
 
The Mountaineers return to action next weekend with their home opener against Towson on Saturday, Sept. 6 in a game that will kick off at 7:30 p.m.
 



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