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Mountaineer Retweet: A Look Back At WVU's Tough Loss To Alabama

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The record stands at 0-1 but Mountaineer fans saw a lot of things to be happy about. At least that's what Twitter told me. Let's take a look back at WVU's opening weekend loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide and learn what we can.

Kevin C. Cox

It was a long offseason but it's over and we're finally back with our first GAMEDAY edition of the Mountaineer Retweet. If you remember, we got back into the swing of things and tried to work out some of the kinds with our Fall Camp edition of the Retweet a couple weeks ago, but as we all know things don't matter until the bullets start firing and everyone has a plan up until they get hit.

So let's dive right in.

THE PEOPLE WANT MORE RETWEET!! GIVE THE PEOPLE THE RETWEET!!

O RLY??

(we'll get to this later, but prepare to hear my thrown out my shoulder patting myself on the back.)

I think I'm a bit fired up.

YEP I'M FREAKING FIRED UP LET'S DO THIS!!!!!

Best stat of the day for WVU was zero turnovers. And they really only came close twice - Jordan Thompson's bonehead fielding of that punt (running inside the 10 and towards his own end zone - seriously) and the crippling snap over Clint Trickett's head when WVU was in the red zone. That was a big deal and in an of itself fixed a LOT of what ailed this WVU offense last season.

For some reason what WVU would do on the opening toss became an obsession for me on like Wednesday. It started on our Musket email chain and then I asked Mike Casazza about it in his chat and then I wrote about it in my Pregame Run Thru over at TheSignalCaller.com and by the time kickoff came around I was hell bent on WVU getting the ball, establishing offensive tempo and becoming the first team to score first in a season opener against a Nick Saban Alabama team. I was thrilled when WVU got the ball first.

I WAS RIGHT AND WE'RE MOVING THE BALL THIS IS A GOOD SIGN!

(Sad trombone)

This was perhaps the only playcall of the entire day I didn't like. You can't throw that pass to Mario Alford - that's not his game. While it was great to come out and get some points, it would have been epic to drive down the field and immediately put up a touchdown on Bama. That doesn't happen.Having said all that it was an amazingly positive thing for the team and the crowd to see right off the bat that WVU had come to play.

Game on.

Easily the most unexpected yet glorious subplot of the entire game. Nobody plays the petulant brat like Kiffin and Saban filled the 'grumpy disappointed dad' role beautifully. I'll be shocked if Saban doesn't stick his ass in the pressbox after all the attention their on-field exchanges generated.

Don't ever change Lane Kiffin.

If you didn't read JP's tribute to his dad from earlier in the week, you should. Many of us learned how to be not only men but Mountaineer fans from our fathers and I know I take for granted that he'll always be there to deconstruct the game with. Well he won't. Hug your Pops guys and gals, he's the only one you get.

Starting with that fleet of moving trucks they call "running backs."

Crap.

Mountaineers hosed on a call. This will be a recurring theme.

I've been giddy with all the positive Kevin White talk coming out of camp but he wouldn't be the first guy to draw rave reviews in August before disappearing in games. Needless to say I was ecstatic when he scored WVU's first touchdown of the season doing the exact thing that everyone had said he'd be doing. Those are the type of huge plays that become the difference between winning and losing and he dropped a lot more of those than he caught last season. Kevin White as Monster takes this offense to a different level.

(The official "ACC Crew Crap Calls That Screw WVU" counter stands at 2)

This was on Amari Cooper's long 3rd down conversion in the 2nd quarter that keyed their 95 yard drive. Would have been huge to get the Tide offense off the field here, but instead this play keyed a touchdown drive and just like that WVU had entered the Danger Zone. There was only 1:57 showing on the clock and the Mountaineers were in grave danger of Bama scoring back to back TDs to take a 14 point lead.

Like we were saying.

So I wonder what happened next....

MARIO ALFORD IS MADE OUT OF PURE LIGHTNING!!!!

But seriously, pure lightning. Remember that little gremlin in Gremlins 2 that drinks the potion and becomes a little bolt of lightning? That's Mario Alford.

The few seconds after Alford's return alone were worth the price of a $120 ticket and 8 hours of driving. Bama was scared. The Mountaineer contingent was going insane - I mean IN. SANE. The type of insane you usually only get 2 or 3 times in a season. The 70% or so crimson contingent was dead silent. I want to bottle that moment up and keep it to guzzle in June when football is so far away. That was why I love sports.

Random moment of happiness for me was standing in the halftime beer line and seeing this pop up on my Twitter timeline. Then SB Nation editor Jason Kirk tweeted something similar. It felt nice to write something a little against-the-grain and then be completely vindicated. Make no mistake, Bama isn't BAMA anymore. They had all offseason to prepare for WVU and a two game losing streak to adequately piss them off. Nobody snuck up on anybody - they're just not dominant anymore and I'm just about ready to say they'll lose 2 SEC games this season.

I kept saying this throughout the second half and I'm sad to say I kept waiting for WVU to make the crucial first mistake. There was a little luck on those two plays I mentioned earlier, but for this most part this was a WVU offense playing smart, focused football. Simple as that.

Well I mean except for that.

(Horrible Call Counter at 3)

I want an opposing player to fly out of bounds onto the WVU sideline this season, every Mountaineer run out of the way like the Red Sea and then that opposing player impale himself on something running at full speed.

Sorry, I'm still a little miffed.

I intentionally used a tweet from a national writer and not a WVU person. That was horrible and could have provided an enormous momentum shift for the Mountaineers if Bama had been forced to punt. Instead they tack on another field goal and stay juuuust out of reach. After that penalty, you could feel a lot of the air go out of the Mountaineer team and crowd.

Yep.

THEN THIS HAPPENED!!!

I like Squirt, I really do. I want him to make the leap and become a valuable asset to this receiving corps. With all the attention Alford and White will be getting, the opportunities will be there. Having said that, there's always seemed to be some sort of mental block - I'm hoping this catch maybe removed that. Can't express how big a moment this was. We were dead and on life support and this brought it all back.

And dammit that's all I came to Atlanta looking for.

Troof.

After this possession I resigned myself to the game being over barring some sort of miracle. Obviously the play-action throw that was dropped by Elija Wellman was the cruelest cut, but after that you had White not haul in a ball he may have been able to make a play on and then the fumble. It was a horrible, horrible possession at the worst possible time. I spent a lot of time on the drive home deciding how convinced I was that this team was miles ahead of last year's team and this possession was the only thing I kept coming back too. It just looked too much like so many red zone possessions last year. I want to be happy, but until I can see this team execute on a few red zone possessions against Townson and then Maryland I'm reserving the right to declare WVU football back.

(that Wellman drop on what wasn't a great pass is going to haunt me all week though. Would have loved to see Bama have to respond to a TD there. I'm not saying they wouldn't have, but damn it would have been nice to make them do it.)

Like I said, a lot of things to feel good about, but I'm not getting warm and fuzzy until we convert in the red zone.

10 plays....3 yards......6 points. I'm guessing I'll be seeing that stat again in my sleep.

Sorry, I don't meant to keep crying about the refs but JesusPleaseUs they're freaking Alabama they have 240 pound running backs who run like boulders rolling downhill and THEY DON'T NEED YOUR G---DAMNED HELP.

(Gawd I hate the ACC)

It's like that wonderful person knew the exact thing to say to a Mountaineer fan to make them feel better. Thanks unknown Tide fan.

Highlight of the post-game scene for me: The Bama fans behind us were leaving and we're making small talk with them. It was a husband and wife with their probably 11 year old daughter and in the heat of the moment I had used a couple words that I should not have used in front of an 11 year old. So we're talking and I'm saying "nice game" and the mom just frowns and lets me know "that f--king Lane Kiffin better get his head on straight 'cause that was not good." At which point her husband opines that they "need to just run the f--king ball."

Needless to say I didn't feel bad about my language after that.

All that to say we made them sweat. That's a good thing. You know what we didn't hear all night? That damn 'S-E-C' chant. At no point was there swagger and at no point was their arrogance. It was often easy to forget you were part of a fan contingent outnumbered 4-1 and only once or twice did you get the full measure of how loud their fans could have been in that dome if we'd let them.

And don't let anybody tell you Bama gave anything away. They played very good football, gained 538 years of offense and only turned the ball over once. That was a damn fine effort by the Crimson Tide and WVU was still just a play or two from pulling the upset. I know we're not into moral victories here but as a great man once said, losing close is "better than getting your ass kicked."

I went into this game hoping to see something like we saw from WVU against #1 ranked Miami in 2002 and said as much in my staff prediction. A spirited effort where they wilted at the end. Well I saw much more than that. Far from giving up any meaningless points or eventually folding, this Mountaineer team played exceptionally hard and never rolled over. There is a graveyard full of Crimson Tide foes who wish they could say the same for themselves.

WVU certainly acquitted itself well on Saturday.

Now let's get that red zone offense cleaned up and get some Ws.

I'm fired up for the season.........LET'S GO!!!!!!!!!