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College football preview: West Virginia Mountaineers vs Alabama Crimson Tide

T.J. Yeldon working on his fumbling woes
T.J. Yeldon working on his fumbling woes
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

On Friday, it was official that the Alabama Crimson Tide would start fifth year senior Blake Sims at quarterback. Still, that’s the least of West Virginia’s worries when the Mountaineers come into the Georgia Dome to take on the No. 2 rated Crimson Tide. Have you seen the running backs that are on that loaded Alabama roster?

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
When: Saturday Aug. 30. 3:30 p.m.
Where: Georgia Dome
TV: ABC

Last season, the West Virginia defense was putrid. They gave up close to 192 yards rushing per game, and that was in the pass happy Big 12. Therefore, it was no surprise that their pass defense was even worse. Now the Mountaineers get a chance to start anew against a team that has dropped two straight games.

The Alabama Crimson Tide have a lot going for themselves on both sides of the ball. While the quarterback competition received most of the attention in Tuscaloosa, it’s going to be riveting to see which running back emerges as the No. 1 guy. Blake Sims might just have to hand off the ball to Derrick Henry, T.J. Yeldon and company all day.

If Alabama is able to show a balanced offense, look no further than Amari Cooper. In 2013, Cooper caught 45 passes for 736 yards and four touchdowns. It was down from his freshman season, so we know he’s anxious to make plays with the new Alabama offense.

If West Virginia can’t tackle they won’t be able to compete. The Mountaineers not only need to tackle well, they will need to force turnovers. It will be important to turn Alabama into a passing team without the support of the hefty running game. Otherwise, Alabama will keep the West Virginia defense on their heels.

Clint Trickett needs to be a superstar for West Virginia to pull off the upset. However, the only way that can happen is if he plays within himself. Trickett can’t force the ball into tight coverage, because that will doom the Mountaineer offense.

The Verdict

Alabama has a lot to prove after two losses and the loss of A.J. McCarron to the NFL. It will be interesting to see if, West Virginia’s offense can match Alabama with the up tempo style. That’s really the only chance they have. It won’t be enough.

Alabama 45
West Virginia 24