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(Saturday, August 31st)
Final Score: (1) Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 10
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Christion Jones was a multi-purpose threat, scoring three touchdowns, and the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide began their quest for a three-peat with a 35-10 win over Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic at the Georgia Dome.
Jones returned a punt and a kickoff for scores and caught a touchdown pass from quarterback AJ McCarron.
McCarron completed just 10-of-23 passes and finished with a mere 110 yards for Alabama (1-0), which routed Notre Dame back in January to capture its second straight BCS national championship.
"We have to create an identity as a team," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I don't think we did that in all phases of the game today. But at least we know where we are. We know what we need to do to improve."
The Crimson Tide secondary also got in on the scoring, as defensive back Vinnie Sunseri returned a Logan Thomas interception for a touchdown.
Thomas struggled mightily against the Alabama defense, connecting on only 5- of-26 throws for 59 yards.
Trey Edmunds totaled 132 yards on the ground for the Hokies (0-1), 77 coming on a first-quarter touchdown.
"I think when you're playing a lot of young kids, and you're playing them on special teams, it can really show up," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "That's no excuse. We've got to evaluate our personnel, kickoff coverage-wise, kickoff return-wise -- the whole deal."
The Alabama defense forced a three-and-out to begin the game, and Jones returned the punt 72 yards for a touchdown. The Crimson Tide then orchestrated an 11-play, 49-yard drive that ended with T.J. Yeldon's short touchdown run.
Virginia Tech countered with the big play from Edmunds on the first play of the ensuing drive.
The Hokies' defense fed off the momentum of the lengthy score, forcing Alabama to punt. However, Sunseri restored Alabama's 14-point cushion with his 38- yard trip to the end zone in the opening minute of the second quarter.
Later, Cody Journell kicked a 29-yard field goal following a rare McCarron interception. It was just the ninth time in his collegiate career the senior signal-caller was picked off.
Jones provided an immediate response by taking the subsequent kickoff 94 yards for his second touchdown with 3:25 remaining in the first half.
McCarron and Jones hooked up for a 38-yard scoring strike in the late stages of the third quarter.
Alabama recorded three non-offensive touchdowns in a game for the first time since Sept. 30, 1995 against Georgia ... Jones' punt return for a touchdown is the first since Sept. 24, 2011 for Alabama ... The Crimson Tide improved to 12-1 all-time against Virginia Tech ... These schools also met in the 2009 edition of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic ... The Hokies fell to 0-8 all-time against the top-ranked team in the AP Poll.
09/01 03:55:35 ET
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