It might have been ugly, but the Alabama Crimson Tide walked off the field victorious at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers by a score of 33-23.
The two big story lines going into Saturday for the Alabama Crimson Tide was who would see the majority of snaps at the quarterback position, and how the Crimson Tide defense would do against the spread offense.
After being named starting quarterback earlier in the week, Blake Sims played the entire first half at quarterback. Sims was 15-of-19 for 165-yards through the air and had 31-yards on four rushes.
Those are pretty good numbers on paper, but a few of those incomplete passes were easy throws that should have been completions.
Regardless, as the game has progressed, Sims has looked better and better and has also been able to scramble outside of the pocket once it had collapsed.
To the second point, the Alabama defense looks the same as it did when they played the Sooners in January.
The spread offense is still giving Alabama problems as the West Virginia offense accumulated 216 yards in the first half. A majority of West Virginia's first half yards (168) came through the air.
West Virginia drove down the field on their first drive, but the Crimson Tide were able to hold them to a field goal.
Alabama then responded with a drive of their own which ended with a 47-yard field goal by Adam Griffith.
The Crimson Tide defense was able to hold off the Mountaineers on their second drive and forced West Virginia to punt.
Alabama's next drive was a 14 play, 95-yard drive that used up nearly seven minutes of the game clock. T.J. Yeldon scored on a 15-yard scramble to put the Crimson tide up 10-3.
The Mountaineers then responded with a long drive of their own, going 75 yards on nine plays in 2:13. The drive was capped off by a 19-yard pass from Clint Trickett to Kevin White, which tied the game at 10-10.
Alabama scored two drives later on an 88-yard drive with another Yeldon touchdown run, this time it was a one-yard run.
The momentum seemed to be on Alabama's side, until the ensuing kickoff when West Virginia returned it all the way for a touchdown. That tied the game up at 17-17.
The Crimson Tide were able to drive down the field before the half, and took a 20-17 lead into the locker room after Griffith nailed a 41-yard field goal.
The Crimson Tide opened up the second half with a 70-yard drive capped off by a 19-yard run by Derrick Henry. That put Alabama up 27-17 over the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers and Crimson Tide both added two additional field goals bringing the score to 33-23.
Blake Sims finished the game going 24-for-33 for 250 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. Jacob Coker only played on the final drive and did not have a pass attempt.
One of the bright spots of the Crimson Tide offense was, as usual, the running backs. T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry both had over 100 yards rushing on the day. The last time Alabama had two 100-yard rushers in a single game was Oct. 19, 2013 when Derrick Henry rushed for 111 yards and Kenyon Drake rushed for 104 yards against Arkansas.
The other bright spot was the kicking game. Kicker Adam Griffith was a perfect 4-for-4 on the day with field goals from 47, 41, 27 and 45-yards. After the disastrous kicking game from 2013, it is nice to see a solid kicker for the Crimson Tide.
Amari Cooper led the Alabama receiving corps with 130 yards on 12 receptions, and DeAndrew White was next in line with 73 yards on 6 receptions.
White did leave the game with a shoulder injury and was later seen on the sideline with his arm in a sling.
The Alabama defense allowed the Mountaineers to accumulate 393 yards of offense, 365 of those came through the air.
Alabama controlled the clock in this game, as they have had the ball for 37 minutes compared to West Virginia who had the ball for 22 minutes.
Alabama next plays Florida Atlantic University in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 6 at 11 a.m.
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