Bits and Bytes: WVU - Alabama

Our last serving of notes, observations and nuggets before WVU takes the field against Alabama.

TRIVIA: TOP WINNERS

WVU faces the two teams with the most 10-game winning seasons in 2014. Alabama, as you might have guessed, is one of those, as the Tide has equaled or topped the double-digit win mark 33 times in its history. What is the other school?

EARLY OPENERS

WVU is 5-3 all time in August openers. All eight of those games have occurred in the past 23 years, beginning with the first ever in 1991 against Pitt. WVU'e earliest ever game came on Aug. 28, 1994 against Nebraska.

ALSO ON THE HOME FRONT

The obvious angle of Alabama head coach Nick Saban's connections to West Virginia were well-highlighted this week, but there's another strong Mountaineer connection in Tuscaloosa. Joe Pendry was an 1969 graduate of WVU, and coached the Mountaineers from that year through 1974. He returned for another two years in 1976-77. He served as Alabama's offensive line coach from 2007-10 and is now an officer and NFL liaison in the Alabama development office.

Additionally, WVU quarterback Clint Trickett's older brother, Travis, was a graduate assistant at Alabama in 2007 and 2008 before moving on to Samford, where he is now the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was a student assistant at WVU, and carried a great deal of responsibility for that position on Rich Rodriguez' staff, where his duties included the signaling (and perhaps calling) of plays.

RUSHING NUMBERS

Despite its rushing prowess, Alabama has never had an individual rush for more than 300 yards in a game. On the flip side, the Crimson Tide has never given up an individual yard rusher either.

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West Virginia has had two players top the triple century mark: Tavon Austin (345) in 2012 and Kay-Jay Harris (338) in 2004. Like the Tide, the Mountaineers have never yielded an individual 300-yard rusher. Pitt's Kevan Barlow came the closest, piling up 272 yards against WVU in 2000.

THE NUMBER

Alabama has yielded 91 touchdowns over the last five years. West Virginia gave up 48 last year. However, it's a new season, so don't let this stat depress you.

PRESS NOTES

Alabama's game notes run to 23 pages, including three on Nick Saban. West Virginia's tome stretches to 31 pages, including a like number on Dana Holgorsen.

The amount of attention placed on Alabama football is evident in their notes. No fewer than seven associate, assistant and directors of athletics communications are listed, including one whose apparent job is to hand;e nothing but credentials. Somewhere, WVU's Michael Fragale and Mike Montoro are feeling overworked.

TRIVIA ANSWER

It's not Texas, as you (and I) might have thought. Oklahoma has won 10 or more games 35 times – the best such mark in college football history.


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