Alabama Football: Jones stars in win over Virginia Tech

Highlights of Alabama 35 Virginia Tech 10

Impressions of Alabama’s win over Virginia Tech

The star of Alabama’s season opening win over Virginia Tech was Christion Jones. The wide receiver scored as a kick returner, punt returner and receiver.

According to Alabama’s release, “According to the Alabama records dating back to 1944, Jones is the first player to score two touchdowns via returns in one game. Tide safety Vinnie Sunseri scored on a 38-yard interception return in the second period. Running back T.J. Yeldon added to the first half scoring with a two-yard touchdown run in the first quarter as the Tide rolled to a 28-10 halftime lead. The Alabama offense was limited to 206 total yards and the Tide defense limited Tech to 212 total yards (153 rushing, 59 passing) and only seven first downs. Quarterback AJ McCarron completed 10 of 21 pass attempts for 110 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Wide receiver Amari Cooper led the Tide with 38 yards on four catches while T.J. Yeldon led Alabama with 75 rushing yards on 17 carries. Defensive end Ed Stinson was the leading tackler for the Tide with eight tackles and shared a quarterback sack. Linebacker C.J. Mosley had seven tackles for Alabama while free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix made six stops.”

Alabama Football player T.J. Yeldon against Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game in Atlanta. Photo by UA Media Relations.

Alabama Football player T.J. Yeldon against Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-a Kickoff Game in Atlanta. Photo by UA Media Relations.

No doubt the talk from tonight’s game will center on Alabama’s offense and specifically on the offensive line. The play here was inconsistent. Fans should temper criticism with keeping two things in mind, the line needs time to improve and the Virginia Tech defensive line is much better than the line Alabama will face when it takes on Texas A&M.

The offense produced 206 total yards.

Here are the official Game Notes from Alabama:

Alabama Captains
• Alabama’s captains for the 2013 season opener against Virginia Tech were AJ McCarron, C.J. Mosley and Anthony Steen. The Crimson Tide won the toss and deferred the opening kickoff.

Series Notes
• With the win Alabama, is now 12-1 against Virginia Tech.

General Notes
• Alabama had six players make their first starts including offensive linemen Arie Kouandjio, Ryan Kelly and Austin Shepherd, defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan, defensive back Jarrick Williams and long snapper, Cole Mazza, who is also a true freshman.

• With the 35-10 win over Virginia Tech, Alabama has outscored its opponents, 292-74, in season openers under head coach Nick Saban.

• Alabama is 15-5-1 in domed stadiums, including a 6-0 mark since 2009, and 7-2 record during Saban’s tenure.

• With the win, Alabama extended its streak of wins away from Bryant-Denny Stadium to 15. The 15-game streak includes both true road games and neutral-site games.

• Alabama recorded three non-offensive touchdowns in a game for the first time since it did so against Georgia on Sept. 30, 1995. Christion Jones got the Tide on the board first with a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown and then went 94 yards on a kickoff return in the second quarter. Vinnie Sunseri scored the first touchdown of his career with a 38-yard interception return. In the 1995 matchup with the Bulldogs, Kevin Jackson had a 26-yard interception return, Deshea Townsend blocked a field goal that led to a 90-yard return and Cedric Samuel recorded a 23-yard fumble return.

• The last time the Crimson Tide started a game with a non-offensive touchdown was when All-American Mark Barron returned an interception 77 yards in a 20-6 win against No. 22 South Carolina on Oct. 17, 2009.

• Christion Jones recorded his first punt return for a touchdown, going 72 yards for the score, with 13:21 to go in the first quarter. It was the first punt return for a touchdown by a Tide player since Marquis Maze went 83 yards against Arkansas on Sept. 24, 2011.

• According to the Alabama record books dating back to 1944, Christion Jones is the first player to score two returns/non-offensive touchdowns in one game. Jones had a 72-yard punt return in the first quarter and a 94-yard kickoff return in the second quarter. Jones added on a 38-yard reception for a touchdown in the third quarter.

• Christion Jones is the first player in the FBS to have both a punt return for a touchdown and a kickoff return for a touchdown since 2006.

• With Christion Jones’ 72-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter, Alabama has scored in 157 consecutive games – the longest streak in program history.

• Actual attendance was sold-out crowd of 73,114.

Offensive Notes
• Alabama has scored at least one rushing touchdown in 13 of the last 14 games.

• With his 110 passing yards, AJ McCarron now has 6,066 for his career.

Defensive Notes
• At the 14:04 mark of the second quarter, Vinnie Sunseri returned a 38-yard interception for his first touchdown in the crimson and white. The interception was also the third of his career.

• In head coach Nick Saban’s 82-game tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide has limited opponents to under 300 yards of total offense 53 times, or 64.6 percent of the time.