Jones' 3 TDs leads No. 1 Alabama to 35-10 win over Virginia Tech - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Jones' 3 TDs leads No. 1 Alabama to 35-10 win over Virginia Tech

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Dave Martin) (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

ATLANTA (AP) — Christion Jones became the first Alabama player since at least the 1940s to have two returns for touchdowns, Vinnie Sunseri brought back an interception for another TD, and the top-ranked Crimson Tide overcame a sluggish offensive performance to beat Virginia Tech 35-10 on Saturday.

Jones scored on a 72-yard punt return less than 2 minutes into the game, then scooted loose on a kickoff for a 94-yard touchdown that led the Crimson Tide (1-0) to a win that could've been much tougher to start its quest for an unprecedented third straight national title.

For good measure, the junior receiver also hauled in a 38-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to blow it open against the Hokies (0-1), who largely shut down AJ McCarron and Alabama's highly touted offense.

The Tide had just 97 yards total offense at halftime but were up 28-10. McCarron & Co. contributed only one of those TDs, and that came when they worked with a short field after a wobbly Virginia Tech punt.

Sunseri stymied a brief bit of momentum Virginia Tech had after Trey Edmunds broke off a 77-yard touchdown run, cutting Alabama's early lead to 14-7. The Hokies held on defense, but Logan Thomas telegraphed a pass over the middle, Sunseri stepped in to make the pick and, without breaking stride, took it all the way to the end zone for a 38-yard touchdown.

Virginia Tech's last glimmer of hope faded after Cody Journell booted a 39-yard field goal late in the first half. On the ensuing kickoff, Jones appeared to be stopped short of his own 30. Then, suddenly, he burst out from a pack of would-be tacklers and was gone. The return left Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer — whose program was long known for its stellar special teams — waving his cap and shaking his head in disgust.

Alabama finally put together an impressive offensive series late in the third quarter, capped by McCarron's scoring pass to Jones. Still, the Tide managed just 206 yards on offense, far shy of its 445.5-yard average last season.

McCarron was photographed arriving in Atlanta wearing a boot on his right foot, reportedly because of an ingrown toenail, and he looked a bit off after being the nation's top-rated passer last season. There was an interception — he had only three all of last season — and also a penalty for intentional grounding. He finished 10-of-23 for 110 yards.

T.J. Yeldon rushed for 75 yards on 17 carries, but the Tide finished with just 96 yards on the ground.

While the Tide has no shortage of offensive skill players, the line lost three starters from last year's championship team. Apparently, there's still some work to do in the trenches, which coach Nick Saban will surely focus on over the next two weeks before Alabama heads to College Station to face the new Southeastern Conference rival that provided its lone loss of 2012 — Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

Jones' performance masked the lackluster showing at the Georgia Dome, as he became the first Crimson Tide player since at least 1944 — that's as far back as the Alabama record book goes — to score two touchdowns in a game on returns. And, for the first time since 1995, Alabama scored three non-offensive TDs in a game.

Virginia Tech, looking to rebound from a 7-6 season that was its worst since 1992, also struggled on offense under new coordinator Scot Loeffler. Fifth-year senior quarterback Logan Thomas looked like a raw freshman, completing only 5-of-26 for 59 yards, thought his numbers would've been a bit better if not for several dropped passes.

Take away Edmunds' long run and the Hokies managed just 135 yards.

___

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:32:23 GMT
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
  • Hackleburg High School preps for first home game in three years

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:57 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:57:25 GMT
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
  • Get a deal from state's surplus auction

    Get a deal from state's surplus auction

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:42:35 GMT
    Do you consider yourself a bargain shopper? Even if you aren't typically searching for great deals, now may be the time to get one through the Alabama surplus property auction. You can look now at some of the options for sale, like vehicles, computers, office furniture and supplies or even ping-pong tables. The auction begins Wednesday morning at 8:00. The Surplus Property Division of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is hosting the auction at its warehouse at 4590 Mobi...More >>
    Do you consider yourself a bargain shopper? Even if you aren't typically searching for great deals, now may be the time to get one through the Alabama surplus property auction. You can look now at some of the options for sale, like vehicles, computers, office furniture and supplies or even ping-pong tables. The auction begins Wednesday morning at 8:00. The Surplus Property Division of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is hosting the auction at its warehouse at 4590 Mobi...More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Exclusive: Birmingham beats out Miami for DOT conference

    Exclusive: Birmingham beats out Miami for DOT conference

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:34 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:34:48 GMT
    ABC 33/40 has learned that the City of Birmingham beat out Miami for a DOT conference. A date for the conference has yet to be scheduled but hosting such an event gives the city an opportunity to solicit federal funding for transportation projects throughout the metro. Count on us to pass along any new information as soon as we get it.More >>
    ABC 33/40 has learned that the City of Birmingham beat out Miami for a DOT conference. A date for the conference has yet to be scheduled but hosting such an event gives the city an opportunity to solicit federal funding for transportation projects throughout the metro. Count on us to pass along any new information as soon as we get it.More >>
  • Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Talladega parents allege school employee wrote racist Facebook posts

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:32:23 GMT
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
    Several parents and community members in Talladega are upset Friday over allegations of racial comments made from a school employee's Facebook page.More >>
  • Tony Stewart back at the track, looking to heal

    Tony Stewart back at the track, looking to heal

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:41 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:41:25 GMT
    Tony Stewart should be back in his comfort zone at a NASCAR track, ready for racing.More >>
    Tony Stewart took his seat on the podium - unshaven, his eyes glassy - and unfolded a sheet of paper. His voice quivered as he read, pausing to maintain his composure as he described the death of a driver he hit as "one of...More >>
  • Hackleburg High School preps for first home game in three years

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:57 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:57:25 GMT
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
    Tonight is a homecoming three years in the making for Hackleburg High School. The team takes the field tonight in their new stadium, finally completed after an E-F five tornado destroyed it on April 27, 2011.It is sure to be a packed house at Ray Stadium as the Hackleburg panthers take on Marion County, tonight at 7:00 p.m. This is going to be an emotional night, not only for the school, but for the community as well. "This is going to be an emotional game, an emotional crowd. This field ho...More >>
  • Caregiver charged with physically abusing nursing home patient in Hoover

    Caregiver charged with physically abusing nursing home patient in Hoover

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:49 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:49:12 GMT
    Taneka Kiera HopkinsTaneka Kiera Hopkins
    Hoover police have charged a former caregiver at South Haven Health and Rehab with physically abusing an 80 year old patient.More >>
    Hoover police have charged a former caregiver at South Haven Health and Rehab with physically abusing an 80 year old patient.More >>
  • Get a deal from state's surplus auction

    Get a deal from state's surplus auction

    Friday, August 29 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:42:35 GMT
    Do you consider yourself a bargain shopper? Even if you aren't typically searching for great deals, now may be the time to get one through the Alabama surplus property auction. You can look now at some of the options for sale, like vehicles, computers, office furniture and supplies or even ping-pong tables. The auction begins Wednesday morning at 8:00. The Surplus Property Division of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is hosting the auction at its warehouse at 4590 Mobi...More >>
    Do you consider yourself a bargain shopper? Even if you aren't typically searching for great deals, now may be the time to get one through the Alabama surplus property auction. You can look now at some of the options for sale, like vehicles, computers, office furniture and supplies or even ping-pong tables. The auction begins Wednesday morning at 8:00. The Surplus Property Division of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is hosting the auction at its warehouse at 4590 Mobi...More >>
  • Pilot in F-15 crash was decorated combat veteran

    Pilot in F-15 crash was decorated combat veteran

    Friday, August 29 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-08-29 19:50:11 GMT
    Ground teams planned to resume searching Thursday for a pilot who went missing after an F-15 fighter jet crashed in a remote, heavily wooded area of western Virginia, according to a Virginia State Police spokeswoman.More >>
    The pilot killed in the crash of an F-15 jet this week in the remote Virginia mountains was a decorated combat veteran with 17 years of experience flying the planes, military officials in Massachusetts said Friday.More >>
  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>