West Virginia didn’t get the win but gave fans hope in a 33-23 loss to No. 2 Alabama at the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game inAtlanta last Saturday.
The Mountaineers kept the game in doubt until the final minutes and never trailed by more than 10 points.
WVU scored on its opening possession when Josh Lambert kicked a 20-yard field goal.
The Crimson Tide answered with Adam Griffith’s 47-yard field goal a couple of minutes later to tie it up.
Alabama rolled 95 yards for a score early in the second quarter. T.J. Yeldon ran 15 yards for the TD.
West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett connected with Kevin White on a 19-yard scoring pass with 11:58 left in the half.
After Yeldon finished an 88-yard drive with a one-yard run for six, West Virginia needed just seconds to draw even.
Mario Alford became the eighth Mountaineer in history to return a kick 100 yards for a touchdown. It was 17-17.
Alabama still had time to retake the lead just before the half ended. Griffith kicked a field goal on the final play of the half to put the Tide in front.
Derrick Henry’s 19-yard TD scamper in the third stanza gave Alabama a 10-point lead for the first time.
Lambert’s 42-yard field goal trimmed the margin to seven. Griffith had a 27-yard field goal late in the quarter, and it was 30-20.
Lambert’s third field goal of the day pulled WVU within 30-23
Alabama got another field goal from Lambert to end the scoring.
The Tide’s strength on the ground made the difference. They ran for 288 yards and held the Mountaineers to 28.
Trickett was 29-45 for 365 yards and a touchdown to pace the West Virginia offense.
White had nine receptions for 143 yards.
Yeldon rushed for 132 yards for Alabama, and Henry ran for 113.
Tide QB Blake Simms was 24-33 for 250 yards.
Daryl Worley had 11 tackles, nine of them solo, and an interception to lead the Mountaineer defense.
Karl Joseph had 18 tackles, seven of them solo.
WVU will host Towson State this Saturday.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.