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Alabama's Amari Cooper opens season with 12 catches


The loss of a three-year starter at quarterback in AJ McCarron doesn't appear to have sidetracked Alabama star receiver Amari Cooper's career one bit.

At least, not a game into the Crimson Tide's post-McCarron era.

New starter Blake Sims found the talented junior for 12 catches Saturday in his first career start at quarterback, leaning on Cooper for 130 of his 250 passing yards in Alabama's 33-23 win over West Virginia. It was the sort of performance Cooper had said he was looking for coming off a frustrating sophomore year in which injuries limited his effectiveness. As McCarron often did, Sims found Cooper on several quick screen passes to the flat, allowing Cooper to use his quickness to escape initial contact.

A few other notes from the Alabama-West Virginia game:

» After much speculation about Sims sharing playing time with highly-touted transfer Jacob Coker at quarterback, that never materialized in what was a close game. Coker took only the final snap, while Sims completed 24 of 33 passes for 250 yards, and rushed for another 42.

» West Virginia senior wide receiver Kevin White gave Alabama's smaller cornerbacks fits with his 6-foot-3, 210-pound frame, catching nine passes for a game-high 143 yards and a score.

» Alabama's rushing tandem of T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry each went over the 100-yard mark (Yeldon 126, two TDs; Henry 113, 1 TD).

» West Virginia's Mario Alford returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, and added five receptions for 54 yards.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread.*

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