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>>

  • Firefighters Trying to Fix Gas Leak

    Firefighters Trying to Fix Gas Leak

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-07-22 11:37:18 GMT
    Birmingham, Ala. _ Firefighters are trying to fix a gas leak at a building in Birmingham. The call came in just before 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. The building is located at 3424 6th Avenue South. We have a crew on the way and will give you more information once it becomes available.More >>
    Birmingham, Ala. _ Firefighters are trying to fix a gas leak at a building in Birmingham. The call came in just before 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. The building is located at 3424 6th Avenue South. We have a crew on the way and will give you more information once it becomes available.More >>
  • Missing swimmer sought in rough surf on Alabama coast

    Missing swimmer sought in rough surf on Alabama coast

    Monday, July 21 2014 2:21 PM EDT2014-07-21 18:21:22 GMT
    Authorities are looking for a swimmer who's missing in dangerous surf on the Alabama coast. Gulf Shores police received a distress call about a male juvenile who was in distress in the water about 4 p.m. Sunday. The search had to be suspended after about three hours because of rough surf and fading light. The Gulf Shores Police Department says the search resumed Monday. A dive team is in the water looking for the missing person. The weather service says there's currently a high risk of danger...More >>
    Authorities are looking for a swimmer who's missing in dangerous surf on the Alabama coast. Gulf Shores police received a distress call about a male juvenile who was in distress in the water about 4 p.m. Sunday. The search had to be suspended after about three hours because of rough surf and fading light. The Gulf Shores Police Department says the search resumed Monday. A dive team is in the water looking for the missing person. The weather service says there's currently a high risk of danger...More >>
  • MH17: International monitors trying to secure Malaysian plane crash site

    MH17: International monitors trying to secure Malaysian plane crash site

    Saturday, July 19 2014 11:29 PM EDT2014-07-20 03:29:10 GMT
    International monitors moved gingerly Saturday through fields reeking of the decomposing corpses that fell from a Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, trying to secure the sprawling site in hopes that a credible investigation can be conducted.More >>
    International monitors moved gingerly Saturday through fields reeking of the decomposing corpses that fell from a Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, trying to secure the sprawling site in hopes that a credible investigation can be conducted.
    More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • SCLC National Convention schedule

    SCLC National Convention schedule

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:00:19 GMT
    The SCLC National Convention scheduleMore >>
    The SCLC National Convention scheduleMore >>
  • DNC's first day on Birmingham site visit

    DNC's first day on Birmingham site visit

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 8:26 AM EDT2014-07-22 12:26:14 GMT
    It's been a full day of sightseeing for a team with the Democratic National Committee.A 12-member group is touring a variety of Birmingham hotels, attractions and venues Monday as part of a two-day site visit.Birmingham is one of five cities vying to hose the Democratic National Convention in 2016. The committee is in the Magic City to see if it has the hotel and venue space to pull off the large-scale event.ABC 33/40 went alongside the team for part of its day. Members saw the Birmingham Mus...More >>
    It's been a full day of sightseeing for a team with the Democratic National Committee.A 12-member group is touring a variety of Birmingham hotels, attractions and venues Monday as part of a two-day site visit.Birmingham is one of five cities vying to hose the Democratic National Convention in 2016. The committee is in the Magic City to see if it has the hotel and venue space to pull off the large-scale event.ABC 33/40 went alongside the team for part of its day. Members saw the Birmingham Mus...More >>
  • House on Fire in Birmingham

    House on Fire in Birmingham

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-07-22 11:37:52 GMT
     Firefighters are working to put out a house fire in Ensley. It broke out just before midnight Monday near 16th street and Avenue I. We will give you more information as soon as those details become available.More >>
     Firefighters are working to put out a house fire in Ensley. It broke out just before midnight Monday near 16th street and Avenue I. We will give you more information as soon as those details become available. More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Bengals place AJ McCarron on non-football injury list

    Bengals place AJ McCarron on non-football injury list

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:15 AM EDT2014-07-22 15:15:42 GMT
    AJ McCarron played the role of spectator as the Cincinnati Bengals began training camp on Monday.More >>
    AJ McCarron played the role of spectator as the Cincinnati Bengals began training camp on Monday.
    More >>
  • Bills DT Marcell Dareus to enter NFL substance abuse program

    Bills DT Marcell Dareus to enter NFL substance abuse program

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:14 AM EDT2014-07-22 15:14:07 GMT
    Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus agreed to enter an NFL substance abuse program in a bid to have felony drug charges in Alabama dismissed, his attorney said on Monday.More >>
    Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus agreed to enter an NFL substance abuse program in a bid to have felony drug charges in Alabama dismissed, his attorney said on Monday.
    More >>
  • SCLC National Convention schedule

    SCLC National Convention schedule

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-22 13:00:19 GMT
    The SCLC National Convention scheduleMore >>
    The SCLC National Convention scheduleMore >>
  • DNC's first day on Birmingham site visit

    DNC's first day on Birmingham site visit

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 8:26 AM EDT2014-07-22 12:26:14 GMT
    It's been a full day of sightseeing for a team with the Democratic National Committee.A 12-member group is touring a variety of Birmingham hotels, attractions and venues Monday as part of a two-day site visit.Birmingham is one of five cities vying to hose the Democratic National Convention in 2016. The committee is in the Magic City to see if it has the hotel and venue space to pull off the large-scale event.ABC 33/40 went alongside the team for part of its day. Members saw the Birmingham Mus...More >>
    It's been a full day of sightseeing for a team with the Democratic National Committee.A 12-member group is touring a variety of Birmingham hotels, attractions and venues Monday as part of a two-day site visit.Birmingham is one of five cities vying to hose the Democratic National Convention in 2016. The committee is in the Magic City to see if it has the hotel and venue space to pull off the large-scale event.ABC 33/40 went alongside the team for part of its day. Members saw the Birmingham Mus...More >>
  • Warrants issued to arrest Forkland mayor

    Warrants issued to arrest Forkland mayor

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 8:24 AM EDT2014-07-22 12:24:52 GMT

    Warrants allege: Theft of Property & Tampering Govt Records

    More >>

    Warrants allege: Theft of Property & Tampering Govt Records

    More >>
  • House on Fire in Birmingham

    House on Fire in Birmingham

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-07-22 11:37:52 GMT
     Firefighters are working to put out a house fire in Ensley. It broke out just before midnight Monday near 16th street and Avenue I. We will give you more information as soon as those details become available.More >>
     Firefighters are working to put out a house fire in Ensley. It broke out just before midnight Monday near 16th street and Avenue I. We will give you more information as soon as those details become available. More >>
  • Firefighters Trying to Fix Gas Leak

    Firefighters Trying to Fix Gas Leak

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-07-22 11:37:18 GMT
    Birmingham, Ala. _ Firefighters are trying to fix a gas leak at a building in Birmingham. The call came in just before 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. The building is located at 3424 6th Avenue South. We have a crew on the way and will give you more information once it becomes available.More >>
    Birmingham, Ala. _ Firefighters are trying to fix a gas leak at a building in Birmingham. The call came in just before 6:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. The building is located at 3424 6th Avenue South. We have a crew on the way and will give you more information once it becomes available.More >>
  • Auburn scores commit from WR Nate Craig

    Auburn scores commit from WR Nate Craig

    Monday, July 21 2014 9:46 PM EDT2014-07-22 01:46:12 GMT
    Nate Craig didn't want to wait. One of the top recruits of the class of 2016 committed to Auburn on Monday night, announcing his choice on Twitter. I will be taking my talents to Auburn University!?????? #WDE pic.twitter.com/8lSreVGBJf -- NITRO (@NitroNate9) July 22, 2014 The 6-foot-3, 205 pound Craig is a 5-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He had over 500 yards receiving and 16 total touchdowns at Pasco High School (Tampa, Fla.) last season. He transferred to T...More >>
    Nate Craig didn't want to wait. One of the top recruits of the class of 2016 committed to Auburn on Monday night, announcing his choice on Twitter. I will be taking my talents to Auburn University!?????? #WDE pic.twitter.com/8lSreVGBJf -- NITRO (@NitroNate9) July 22, 2014 The 6-foot-3, 205 pound Craig is a 5-star prospect according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He had over 500 yards receiving and 16 total touchdowns at Pasco High School (Tampa, Fla.) last season. He transferred to T...More >>