Virginia Tech showed some serious weaknesses against Alabama, but they also showed some strengths in the 35-10 loss.
Special Teams Troubles
A 72 yard punt return for a touchdown and a 94 yard kickoff return for a touchdown – both by Christion Jones – helped Alabama jump out to a 28-10 halftime lead. We knew the Hokies were going to have to play a perfect game to beat Alabama, and those two plays were critical.
It’s no secret that while TV announcers like to pay lip service to BeamerBall, in reality BeamerBall as we once knew it has been dead for years. The Hokies still have good field goal kickers, and in almost all seasons they have a good punter. But what BeamerBall always meant was coming up with big plays on special teams to win games.
That hasn’t happened in a long time, and in fact it’s been the opposite. Boise State, Kansas, Michigan, tonight’s game…those are just a handful. Not only did they give up a couple of big returns, but the punt team was also flagged for a delay of game at one point. Things just looked outta whack, as Frank likes to say.
Let me say this, though. We’ve noted that the Hokies have big depth issues because of so much player attrition and so many injuries. The first place you’ll notice depth issues is on special teams. Alabama has a full complement of players, and those players are bigger, faster and stronger than many of the backups and walkons that Tech is forced to play on special teams.
So while the special teams issues in the first half continue a trend, there is also a reason. Alabama’s starters are better than Tech’s starters, but the talent edge is most noticeable on special teams, in my opinion.
The Line of Scrimmage Battle
Here are some first half numbers to throw at you…
Rushing Yards: Tech 115, Alabama 30
Total yards: Tech 115, Alabama 97
Sacks: Tech 1, Alabama 0
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