Despite loss, Hokies have plenty to build on

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Rarely does a 35-10 loss bring out any sort of optimism from me, but I left the Georgia Dome late Saturday night feeling a lot better about this team than I did on Saturday afternoon.  That’s because of two things: a great defense and a seemingly improved running game.

The Defense

Let’s go over some of the defensive accolades, though there are so many that I’ll probably forget some:

1: Tech held Alabama to 96 yards rushing and 206 yards of total offense.  Throwing out last year’s Western Kentucky game in which Alabama surely didn’t even show up, the closest anyone came to holding Alabama’s rushing offense down was Texas A&M.  The Aggies held the Tide to 122 rushing yards, but that was basically because they got an early lead and forced Alabama to pass.  The Tech defense had no such luxury.  No opponent last season held the Tide below 300 yards.  LSU was closest at 331 yards.  Again, that throws out the Western Kentucky game.  Somehow they held Bama to 103 rushing yards and 328 total yards, but Alabama likely didn’t try.

2: Alabama scored just two touchdowns on the Tech defense.  Both of those scoring drives began on Tech’s side of the 50.  The second one came on a deep ball against backup rover Desmond Frye (So.), who was only in the game because Kyshoen Jarrett was briefly out with cramps.  Their first touchdown drive came with Kyle Fuller on the sideline with a shoulder injury.  If Fuller and Jarrett don’t get hurt, and Alabama doesn’t start on Tech’s side of the field, would the Crimson Tide have even scored on the Tech defense?  Maybe, maybe not.

3: Kyle Fuller intercepted A.J. McCarron in the first half.  McCarron threw only three interceptions all of last season.  Bud Foster said after the game that Tech knew what route Alabama was going to run on that play based on their formation and wide receiver splits.  Torrian Gray and Foster are certifiable football geniuses, as far as I’m concerned.

4: Alabama’s last three games of last season saw the Tide dominate on the ground.  They ran for 267 yards on Auburn, 350 yards against Georgia