ALABAMA FOOTBALL (via UA Media Relations)
POSTGAME NOTES – WEST VIRGINIA VS. ALABAMA
SATURDAY, AUGUST 30, 2014 • GEORGIA DOME • ATLANTA
GAME CAPTAINS: Alabama’s captains for today’s game against West Virginia are Landon Collins, Christion Jones and Austin Shepherd. The Crimson Tide won the coin toss and elected to defer the opening kickoff.
SERIES HISTORY: Alabama and West Virginia met on the football field for the first time in the storied histories of the two programs. With the 33-23 win, Alabama improves to 14-17-2 in games against teams from the current Big 12 Conference.
FRESHMEN IN OPENER: Nine freshmen saw action in the first half of the Crimson Tide’s season opener on Saturday including redshirt freshmen Cooper Bateman and ArDarius Stewart and true freshmen Tony Brown, Rashaan Evans, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Da’Shawn Hand, Cam Robinson and JK Scott.
NEUTRAL SITES: Alabama is now 75-47-4 in neutral site games. The list includes all Alabama-Auburn games not played on campus, including Legion Field from 1948-88. The Crimson Tide played two neutral site contests last season, opening the year with a 35-10 win over Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dame. In the postseason, Alabama fell to Oklahoma 45-31 at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Crimson Tide improves to 12-4 in neutral site games during head coach Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa.
DOME SWEET DOME: Alabama is 16-6-1 in domed stadiums, including a 7-1 mark since 2009 and 8-3 in Coach Saban’s tenure. The Tide had two appearances in a dome last season with the opener against Virginia Tech at the Georgia Dome and versus Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl inside the Superdome.
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE SIDELINES: Six current NFL and former Crimson Tide players are in attendance for today’s game in Atlanta including Mark Barron, Barrett Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, AJ McCarron, Andre Smith and Javier Arenas, who delivered the game ball.
COLLINS LEADS DEFENSE: Junior Landon Collins led the Crimson Tide defense with a team-best eight tackles in the game. This is the fourth-straight game he has logged eight or more tackles with eight against Chattanooga, nine at Auburn and nine versus Oklahoma.
DICKSON TIES CAREER HIGH SACKS: Senior linebacker Xzavier Dickson recorded a pair of sacks in Saturday’s game, tying his career high that was previously set in the Georgia Dome against Georgia in 2012.
RECORD-BREAKING DEBUT: Alabama quarterback Blake Sims had a record-breaking debut vs. West Virginia. Sims, who finished the game by connecting on 24-of-33 passed for 250 yards, secured the school record for most completions and attempts of any quarterback in a debut game at Alabama. The former completions record was held by John David Phillips, who connected on 17 passes in his debut vs. BYU in 1998. The former attempts record was 30, held by three different Tide quarterbacks. In addition, Sims’ 250 yards passing ranks third among Alabama quarterbacks in their debut. The record of 285 passing yards is held by Brody Croyle vs. Arkansas in 2002, followed by John Parker Wilson’s 253 yards passing in 2006 vs. Hawai’i.
TWO 100-YARD RUSHERS: Running backs T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry each rushed for over 100 yards against West Virginia. Yeldon finished the game with 23 rushes for 126 yards, while Henry added 113 yards rushing on 17 attempts. The last time Alabama had a pair of running backs rush for more than 100 yards came when Henry (111) and Kenyon Drake (104) accomplished the feat vs. Arkansas on Oct. 19, 2013.
TOTAL OFFENSE: Alabama finished the game against West Virginia with 538 yards of total offense (288 rushing, 250 passing). The last time the Crimson Tide generated over 500 yards of total offense came against Oklahoma on Jan. 2, 2014 (516 total yards).
COOPER’S BIG DAY: Junior wide receiver Amari Cooper finished the game with 12 receptions for 130 yards in the win. His 12 catches on the day are the second-most in a game in Alabama history. The school record of 13 receptions is held by DJ Hall, who accomplished the feat on Oct. 20, 2007 vs. Tennessee. Furthermore, Cooper eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark early in the third quarter, marking the third-straight game and eighth overall that he has achieved the feat.
RUSHING TO SUCCESS: Alabama is 61-1 since the start of the 2008 season when rushing for at least 140 yards. The only loss was at Auburn in 2013 when the Tide went for 218 yards, but saw the Tigers gain 296 and score on the game’s final play.
SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: With sophomore kicker Adam Griffith’s 47-yard field goal in the first quarter, Alabama has scored in 170 consecutive games – the longest streak in program history.
PERFECT NIGHT: Griffith finished the night hitting all four of his field goal attempts, including three from 40-plus yards. Griffith connected on kicks from 47, 41, 27 and 45 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES
KICKING GAME: Sophomore Adam Griffith went 4-4 in tonight’s game on field goal attempts, including three from 40-plus yards. Griffith opened the scoring by hitting one from 47 yards out in the opening quarter and another from 41 to give Alabama a 20-17 lead at the half. He also hit a 27-yarder in the third quarter and a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter, which resulted in the final score. Freshman JK Scott logged the first punt of his career, a 62-yard bomb, which sailed to the 7-yard line.
BALANCED ATTACK: Alabama recorded 538 yards of total offense in the first half of Saturday’s game against West Virginia. Of those 538 yards, 250 were passing and the remaining 288 were rushing. Junior Amari Cooper led the receivers with 130 yards on 12 catches, while junior T.J. Yeldon had 23 carries for 132 yards.