Alabama vs. Virginia Tech: Live Score, Analysis and Results
Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 10 – Final
Top-ranked Alabama survived a sluggish offensive performance, and boosted by a strong effort from the defense and special teams, the Tide cruised to a 35-10 win in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta.
Junior receiver Christion Jones returned a punt 72 yards for a score and took a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in the first half. Additionally, Tide safety Vinnie Sunseri picked off Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas and returned it 38 yards for a score in the second quarter.
Despite the convincing victory, the Tide still have a number of questions to answer before heading to face Texas A&M in two weeks.
Alabama will have next weekend off before heading to face Texas A&M on Sept. 14, in one of the season’s most anticipated showdowns. Virginia Tech will host Western Carolina next weekend.
Here's a link to my postgame piece on the Tide's victory. Once again, thanks to everyone for reading!
That will do it; this one is in the books. Alabama wins 35-10.
Thanks for keeping up with the blog, and stay tuned to B/R for more post-game coverage.
McCarron and the starters look to be done for the day, as Blake Sims takes over at quarterback. Freshman running back Altee Tenpenny also checked into the game and broke off a nice run. With very little experience behind McCarron, these reps are important for Sims to build some confidence should his number be called later in the season.
Kyshoen Jarrett busts off a nice 43-yard punt return to set the Hokies up inside Alabama's 40-yard line. Let's see if Thomas can shake loose here.
Thomas throws a strike to Knowles that would have been a big gainer, but of course it's dropped.
You have to feel bad for Thomas, because you know he's going to bear the brunt of the criticism even though it really isn't warranted.
I have to admit that I, much like a majority of Tide supporters, had greater expectations for the Tide's offense, especially for a newcomer like Henry.
Virginia Tech's defense came to play tonight, and they have largely quieted stars such as Yeldon and Cooper.
Thomas is the victim of another pair of drops, which makes him an anemic 5-for-25 passing today. Ouch. Kind of says it all, doesn't it?
Landon Collins has been a force as a gunner on special teams units. I'm a little surprised we haven't seen him more in the safety rotation.
With a 25-point lead, it may surprise some to see Alabama playing guys like McCarron and Yeldon in the fourth quarter. However, the Tide's offense has hardly been efficient. With a bye week before the mega-tilt against Texas A&M, the starters clearly need a little more work.
Tide fans finally get to see former 5-star recruits such as running back Derrick Henry and tight end O.J. Howard make an appearance on this drive.
The Hokies have strung a couple of first downs together, and they will have the ball near midfield when the fourth quarter begins.
Considering the fight their defense has shown, a late score or two by the offense could do wonders for the Hokies' outlook for the rest of the season.
According to the ESPN broadcast, Jones has 210 yards of total offense tonight. Jones had five career touchdowns entering today's game, and he's almost doubled his career output in three quarters of work.
Not a bad afternoon for Mr. Jones.
The battle between Kyle Fuller and Amari Cooper has been a great one to watch. Both players are proving that they are among the nation's best at their respective positions.
Finally, the Tide's offense busts a big play. From who else but Christion Jones. McCarron lofts a beautiful 38-yard strike to Jones, who coasts into the end zone for his third touchdown of the afternoon. Alabama extends its lead to 35-10.
Good lord. Kyle Fuller helped his brother Kendall on a punt return by lowering the boom on Landon Collins. However, Tide linebacker Denzel Devall absolutely lit Kendall Fuller up as he turned the corner. Advantage Crimson Tide.
You get the feeling that Alabama knows that Virginia Tech's offense can't hurt them. That's why they aren't taking a ton of chances on offense. I can't say I'd disagree with them if that's the case. Outside of Edmunds long run, they have struggled to get anything positive going on that side of the ball.
Much of the same for this drive. The Tide's offense goes three-and-out. Give Bud Foster and his troops a tip of the cap for continuing to fight.
The Hokies drive stalls after one first down, and Alabama will take over near midfield with a chance to put this one out of reach.
This is an important drive for both teams.
For Alabama, their offense has had it handed to them by the Hokies defense for most of the afternoon. Championship teams know how to put a team away when presented with an opportunity.
For Virginia Tech, it's important for the defense to continue to fight and stifle one of the nation's most explosive offenses. It's clear that the defense will have to carry the load this season until the offense catches up.
I'm really impressed with Trey Edmunds at running back. He's consistently ran hard, and getting more than 100 yards against an Alabama defense isn't easy to do.
The Hokies, much like the Tide's offense, continue to shoot themselves in the foot. Wasting timeouts won't help their comeback attempt.
Yeldon finally busts a big run, but the Hokies defense rebounds for a sack on the next play. Kind of the story for the Tide's offense. One step forward, two steps back type of deal.
A block in the back on the punt return backs the Hokies offense up deep in its own territory here.
Here are some halftime stats, courtesy of ESPN.
Virginia Tech holds the edge in total yards 155-97.
McCarron has gone 7-of-14 for 67 yards with an interception. Thomas has gone 3-of-14 for 40 yards with an interception.
Edmunds leads all rushers with 10 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown. Yeldon leads the Tide with 11 carries for 22 yards and a score.
Amari Cooper has two receptions for 33 yards. D.J. Coles has one catch for 34 yards.
Christion Jones has a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a 72-yard punt return for a score and one catch for nine yards.
Alabama takes a 28-10 lead into halftime.
Some observations for both teams:
The defense is playing lights out, but the special teams, once a staple of the program, is letting them down.
Logan Thomas needs a receiver to step up and establish himself as a guy he can trust. So far, there has been opportunities for the offense, but they have struggled to take advantage of those chances.
If you are a Hokies fan, you have to be pleased with the effort their players are giving, especially on defense.
I think the biggest adjustment they can make is getting Thomas more active as a runner, just to get his confidence up. Get him some short passes to get his receivers in the flow. Also, get Edmunds more touches. He's consistently ran hard and with a purpose.
The offensive line is clearly a work in progress. In fact, the Hokies defensive line probably got the better of the Tide in the trenches in the first half.
Aside from the long Trey Edmunds touchdown run, the defense was stout. There have been a few breakdowns in the secondary that Virginia Tech was unable to take advantage of.
Christion Jones has been the story of the game. Take away his two touchdowns and the narrative heading into the second half is much different than it is now.
Alabama has to get its offense on track. The line has to settle down and prove that they can exert their will and play physical football against a quality opponent.
Dee Hart enters the game to spell Yeldon. There's still been no sign of freshman phenom Derrick Henry. Alabama's offense has largely been held in check, despite the score.
Ouch. About that Logan Thomas is more accurate comment earlier...yeah, not so much now.
In fairness, his receivers have continuously let him down in the first half.
Forget Beamer-Ball. Christion Jones takes the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. It's his second touchdown return of the game, Alabama snatches the momentum back and goes up 28-10.
A 250-pound quarterback is supposed to be able to get one tough yard when you really need it, and Thomas comes through to keep the drive alive.
Alabama has struggled defending mobile quarterbacks in the past, but they played the option perfectly on second down.
A costly delay of game penalty moves a manageable 3rd-and-short to 3rd-and-9. Thomas threw a prayer into the end zone off his back foot and is lucky that Deion Belue didn't pick it off.
Cody Journell hits a 39-yard field goal, and Alabama's lead is cut to 21-10.
Virginia Tech calls timeout with a huge 3rd-and-1 coming from around the Tide's 30-yard line.
Safe to say that this possession is huge for the Hokies. A touchdown gets them right back in the game, while a field goal or a turnover will be a win for the Tide.
Whoa. Looks like a bad no-call on McCarron for intentional grounding. Yeldon looked like he was blocking instead of looking for a pass.
Give McCarron some credit for making a big-time throw on a 3rd-and-long to DeAndrew White. Alabama's offense badly needed a first down and he delivered.
Hokies safety Kyshoen Jarrett has been active all game, and he breaks down to make a nice tackle for loss on Yeldon, which is pretty hard to do.
McCarron doesn't make mistakes often, but Kyle Fuller picks him off and sets the Hokies up deep in Tide territory. Big-time play by Fuller.
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