Alabama drubs Hokies 35-10

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Alabama’s Christion Jones scored touchdowns on a punt return, kickoff return, and reception, negating a strong effort by the Virginia Tech defense in 35-10 win by the Crimson Tide in the 2013 CFA Kickoff Classic.

Jones ripped off a 72-yard punt return for a TD the first time Alabama touched the ball, following a Virginia Tech three-and-out to open the game. He also added a 94-yard kickoff return in the second quarter and a 38-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.

Alabama had a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown by Vinnie Sunseri, giving the Tide defense and special teams 21 points to the Hokies’ 10.

The special teams and offensive miscues by the Hokies overshadowed a strong defensive effort. Virginia Tech held Alabama to just 206 yards of offense, the lowest total for the Tide since they gained only 208 in their Sugar Bowl loss to Utah following the 2008 season.

Virginia Tech limited Alabama to 96 yards rushing on 38 carries (2.5 ypc) and had three sacks of A.J. McCarron. McCarron, who led the nation in passing efficiency last year and completed 67% of his passes, was just 10-of-23 (43.5%) for 110 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT by Kyle Fuller .

Alabama had just 97 yards of offense in the first half, which ended with the Tide up 28-10. Alabama played conservatively on offense the rest of the way, picking up one more touchdown for the final score of 35-10.

Unfortunately, the Virginia Tech offense, in particular redshirt senior QB Logan Thomas , was even worse than Alabama and McCarron. VT had just 212 yards, and Thomas, the victim of multiple drops by his receivers, was just 5-of-26 (19.2%) for just 59 yards, 1 INT and 0 TDs.

In addition to the drops, Thomas missed some open receivers, the most critical being a wide-open Demitri Knowles early in the second quarter, with the score 21-7. Knowles was well behind the defense on a go route and would have scored easily had Thomas hit him in stride, but Thomas overthrew it.

The bright spot for the Hokie offense was freshman running back Trey Edmunds , who carried the ball 20 times for 135 yards and a touchdown. Edmunds broke right up the middle for a 77-yard TD run late in the first quarter to turn a 14-0 deficit into 14-7. Edmunds was physical in the running game, picked up positive yardage on almost every run, and even without the 77 yard run, averaged 3 yards a carry on a night when Virginia Tech did almost nothing else and presented no threat with the passing game.

The Virginia Tech wide receivers were a disappointment. D.J. Coles, in his return from a knee injury, caught one pass for 34 yards, but he also cut short a route that led to an interception of Logan Thomas for a TD, and he had a couple drops. Josh Stanford had one catch for 16 yards, and Knowles, who struggled to get separation and had some drops, had just 2 catches for 3 yards. The wide receivers combined for 4 catches for 53 yards, and Edmunds had the other catch for 6 yards. The tight ends, depleted by the loss of starter Ryan Malleck to injury, didn’t catch a pass.

Brief Game Summary:

After Jones’ punt return put Alabama up 7-0 just 45 seconds into the game, the Tide added a two-yard run with 1:53 left in the first quarter to go up 14-0. Trey Edmunds blasted up the middle shortly thereafter for a 77-yard TD run that closed it to 14-7, firing up the Hokies and their defense.

Alabama responded with a 38-yard interception return for a TD by Vinnie Sunseri. Sunseri cut in front of D.J. Coles, picked off a quick slant, and ran in for a TD to make it 21-7 with 14:04 to go, second quarter.

Logan Thomas missed Knowles on a fly route on the very next play, and the Hokies punted. Later in the second quarter, Kyle Fuller picked off McCarron in Alabama territory, and the Hokies converted it into a 29-yard Cody Journell field goal to close the gap to 21-10 with 3:39 left in the first half.

Christion Jones threw his second dagger of the night on the ensuing kickoff, running through would-be VT tacklers and bursting out of traffic for an impressive 94-yard touchdown return. 28-10, Alabama.

The Tide added a 38-yard touchdown pass to Jones with 3:43 to go in the third quarter. Jones ran by Desmond Frye, who was in single coverage as the Hokies blitzed. Frye was in the game because started Kyshoen Jarrett was out with cramps.

That put Alabama up 35-10. The two teams played an uneventful fourth quarter with no scoring.

The Hokies will return home and face Western Carolina next Saturday at 1:30. The game will be televised on ESPN3.com.

hokiesports.com box score

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32 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Why is it our Defense always looks like a well oiled machine but our Offense looks like they haven’t practiced anything but the hand off.

  2. No one here is mentioning LT not targeting Stanford. He seemed so locked in on DK and DJC What gives …..

  3. Saw the game live, rewatched game on DVR, and punished myself by soaking in and watching all the commentary from last night: Believe it or not, There IS hope for us but there are a few more themes to correct. Remember, Coach has been running this train the wrong way for 5-7years now (as a result of being resistive to change)….that’s why we haven’t knocked off higher ranked foes, won the big games, or remained consistent against foes we should beat. I don’t mean to sound disrespectable but I am being real….we’ve been too slow to evolve and adapt. Its going to take 2-4 years to turn this train back around. OLine & D showed great improvements. There are a few constant themes that needs to be next on the Hokie’s repair list: 1. Does Frank need to step aside from Special Teams responsibility? He & Special Team Mistakes have been getting in the way for about 5-7years now. You can note headscratching, poor special teams play in every big game loss we’ve had. Special Teams have become a Special Liability. What was a team strength has turned into our Kryptonite. I don’t see Frank having the stamina or fire to instructionally coach his ST players. He certainly can’t be hands on and physically run the exact drills up and down the field to show his players the techniques he wants them to perform. That’s a problem. Frank also admitted he ignored his own advice and failed to field his best players on the field lastnight but instead placed many freshmen 2nd teamers instead of using Fuller or Edmonds or Facyson etc. Saban didn’t hold back using C Jones on his Special Teams….he even lined him up as Gunner of all things. What a GREAT way to stop a punt/kick return…put your fastest player in them game as a heatseeking rocket to track down the return receiver…..wow….what a novell concept Coach.
    2. VT Receivers are “Hot Garbage” and “Couldn’t Catch a Cold In Minnesota in December”. The exact words of Espn’s Rece Davis and Lou Holtz during Collage Football Final last night on National TV. This speaks for itself and no one can disregard. I don’t think Coles was that bad considering his recovery return and the fact he was overweight due to inactivity but if I were those receivers I would develop a serious chip and take the comments personally to step my game up.
    3. Is it me or is the read option played out? I think 50% of the time the defense has this play figured out. Very rarely did the defense follow the fake keeper flaring to the outside. We haven’t made defenses respect that we might use our QB’s or RB’s mobility to break to the outside. We run read option and the defense just fills the box and jams the middle and stuffs the play. We never pull back and throw downfield or short throw over the middle or into a slant or into a screen. Even If Tech prefers not to throw, at least try running a hybrid Read Option where the keeper bounces left or right to the outside. Right now, no Defense expects nothing else but an up the middle run out of the Read Option from Tech.

  4. Of course I would’ve liked to see us “shock the world”, but was relatively encouraged by the product we put on the field. The D was as advertised and if we can stay away from the injury bug, they’ll keep us in a lot of games this year. What I hope to see is that the problems we had on Special Teams and Offense don’t become recurring mistakes. Tackling, maintaining your gaps, route running, better QB accuracy, etc. Weird, but I’ve never felt this okay about a loss before. Biggest worries are our receiving corp and staying healthy.

    1. I was encouraged with the play of the O-line. If Grimes stays and the O line continues to improve they can be good in 2 or 3 years.

      I was blown away by the defense. Those guys played a good enough game to have shocked the world. And they never quit. Late in the game, they were hitting as hard as they were early in the first qtr,

      Special teams just made me throw up. Rest assured, in the future in any big game bet the house the VT ST will suck.

      What can I say about the offense. We may have a found our RB. The O-line seemed vastly improved over the past few years.

      What can I say about the receivers. They are poor. I hope they can improve.

      I do know the D is owed a huge apology by the O & ST.

  5. Drubbing no!!! The defense was special. Just think of the number of times they faced short field situations. I can remember only 1 or 2 field positions that were more than 60 yards at least that is how it felt. The offense had it’s moments which is encouraging and played tough. Special teams simply not special.
    I’m not sure how Jack Tyler remained upright. Fatigue had to set in.

  6. It could have been worse. Trey Edmunds looked good, nice to have a potential VT running back. Special teams trend very troubling over the past decade, from “Beamer Ball” to neutral play to below average. Still do not understand why Beamer put on clinics to teach competitors how to out perform VT on special team’s play. Only one game, but with all the the new offensive coaches…result looked pretty familiar.
    Looking for improvement next week against a team not quite as strong as Alabama.
    Go Hokies!

    1. It has NOTHING to do with Frank Beamer “teaching” special teams to others. Frank got away from what he was TEACHING! Everybody else learned, and we went to the way things used to be.

      “Beamer Ball” was nothing more than putting your absolute BEST football players on the field for special teams. Those guys used to compete for a spot (even starters on O&D had to compete to “get” on Special Teams. Hence the term “Special”. Our BEST players were on the field on ST against everybody else’s freshmen, 3rd stringers and walk-ons. No small wonder we kicked their BUTTS!

      NOW, it is the other way around… Look no farther than to see C Jones (yep, HIM again)as gunner on a punt return..well, that was no punt RETURN. Alabama’s best player stopped our guy in his tracks! Imagine THAT!?!

      Nothing will change, even with a new ST coach, until you go back to what made those teams ‘Special” to begin with…Until then, it is nothing but a wasted exercise!

      We have gone

      1. Would someone please explain why VT does not go back to using the best players on STs? Is it the injury thing? This poor performance with STs has been going on now for more years than I can count.

  7. Sorry, I didn’t think LT played that poorly. He would have completed well over 50 % of his passes if someone could catch. I must say that the player I was really disappointed in was Coles. As the senior WR, having him develop “alligator arms” across the middle was not a great example for the younger receivers.

    Hats off to the defense and I was very impressed with the offensive line.

    For the experts, was the special teams fiascos due to playing younger players or just poor play?

  8. Logan was better than OK. He was very good considering he kept throwing and hitting receivers even after they proved they would not catch anything. 80 was terrible. Long bomb fit into no space bounced off his head. He looked like a db out there. I was amazed at the offensive line play… really great job as well as at running back. Every team is not of Alabama’s defense caliber. I now think we will be very good… just need to bench the 2 ‘top’ receivers and give the young-uns a shot. seriously. not benching them with that lack of effort would/will be a huge mistake. Of course, the special teams coverage was very bad… anyone surprised by that, really? Still, all in, I am very encouraged. Everyone stayed healthy too!

    hokiephil

    1. I don’t think the receivers lacked effort. They just did not catch the ball and the kid that dropped the most is a young-un.

  9. You can’t convince me that had LT hit Knowles perfectly in stride on that deep ball he would have hauled it in. He didn’t catch anything thrown his way today.

    1. Well…there is always a FIRST time (and I think that would have been a first time for Knowles)…He was pitiful, and Coles wasn’t much better.

      I fall somewhere in between on LT. He wasn’t bad as some have suggested , nor as good as others would have you believe…BUT, it is hard to judge him when his receivers NEVER (OK that was hyperbole…hardy EVER)catch anything. They got hit on the hands, chest and helmet and never caught the ball..All I heard was how FAST those guys were (especially Knowles). Well, you could put ME out there and I’d be open once the DB’s were convinced I’d never catch the football!

  10. I must concur with all the comments slamming Logan. If the VT receivers catch just 5-6 of the drops that they had, he has about the same night that McCarron did and who knows what difference they would have made in the outcome of the game. You can’t on the one hand say Logan played horribly but that the receivers dropped a ton of passes. That means the receivers had a horrible game and Logan was doing what he was supposed to do. He let that long ball get away to Knowles, but as has been well documented (and commented on by Chris Speilman), the int. was more Coles fault than Logan’s. Great game, no, but “epic fail” or “dumpster fire”, let’s all have a little perspective, folks, please.

    1. HUH? – you must “concur” slamming Logan…Dont think you meant that…from the rest of your message…

      I replayed the most horrible looking pass to no one in space 15 yds down field in 3rd or 4th QTR and saw where the tight end was supposed to change directions and the DB that was following him ran into him cutting him off…either that or Logan threw it away – which is another step in the right direction for him…dont force it…

      Lots of bright spots to build on…we had a running game even without the 77yd run. We pass blocked…and the D was terrific. Our special teams are still “special” just for all the wrong reasons…our kickers did a great job!

    1. Agree, and while Logan wasn’t great his receivers were pathetic. Coles a major disappointment, Knowles too. Where were the tight ends in the passing game; couldn’t have done worse. That said, we out gained and out rushed Bama; NO one would have predicted that. O-line was respectable – gotta love Grimes. D was lights out, some lapses but same w/ Bama. In the end special teams basically were the difference. If the coaches show these kids what might have been w/o all the bonehead plays (there will always be some), we should have a good season. Go Hokies!

    1. LT had a least 7 very catchable passes dropped. He didn’t have his best game, but he played a lot better than his stat line would indicate. The INT for a Bama TD most definitely was on DJ Coles, not on LT. Coles cut his route off short and allowed the Bama’s Vinne Sunseri to cut right in front of him and pick it for an easy TD. The play of VT’s wide receivers was simply awful tonight.

        1. His best game was the 2011 Miami game when he went 23 of 25 passing. But he had some reliable receivers then.

  11. Dang Will …you are Johnny-on-the-spot with this article! Must have a HOT date tonight or something!
    Good writing and analysis! I am encouraged by much that I saw. Receiving has GOT to be improved. I think Logan still is reluctant to throw till receivers make a cut which can cause many of the problems we see ….and the receivers didn’t do anything to make him feel better about that! The couple times he DID unload and receiver made the correct break we had nice receptions ….particularly one pass to stanford. I’m sure this will improve!

    1. I wouldn’t be so sure this can be improved. The receivers have been plagued with drops in practices and scrimmages. Also IMO I think Logan throws a heavy ball which is tough to catch. He also has trouble putting touch on some of his throws

      1. I was thinking the same thing…a Receiver has to be able to CATCH a football, if nothing else. He can have Olympic speed, run perfect routes, be crisp out of his breaks..ALL the things that make a good Receiver great. BUT, if he cannot catch a football, he is nothing but a fast, streaking diversion (and not even THAT for long.

        You can teach the intangibles, but catching a football for a Receiver?!?… You either can or you can’t, and that should be evident by about the 8th grade!

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