While they more than covered the spread, the win left Nick Saban and many fans unhappy.
Alabama vs Va. Tech – The Eyeball Test of the Results
By: Larry Burton
It started with a bang and ended with a yawn. If you used one word to describe Alabama’s performance against Va. Tech on Saturday, it would be “underwhelming”.
The defense gave up some big plays but overall played an Alabama type game and the special teams proved they were indeed special. But the offense that many thought would be totally unstoppable was a major disappointment.
To put it bluntly, it sucked for most of the game.
Alabama barely converted more than a third of their third down conversions (6 for 17) and not only did we not have a 100 yard rusher, the entire team only rushed for 96 yards and a miserable 2.5 yards a carry. To add insult to injury, not only did Va. Tech average 4.6 yards per carry, they also had more total offense than Alabama mustered.
To sum it all up, Alabama’s offense mustered only five more points than Va. Tech’s offense. The other 21 points in the winning margin came from a Vinnie Sunseri’s interception that was returned for a touchdown and Christion Jones punt and kickoff returns for a touchdown. If you count the extra point team as part of the special teams, then Alabama’s offense put up less points than the special team and only 7 more points than the defense.
The offensive line looked porous the whole game and they didn’t look capable of opening running lanes either. Alabama’s much ballyhooed stable of running backs didn’t look like they could shake an arm tackle and even Amari Cooper dropped passes that should have been caught. AJ McCarron certainly didn’t bring his A game and threw half as many interceptions as he did in some previous seasons. Last season he averaged around a nation leading 63% accuracy rating and in this game he was more around 43%.
Va. Tech hung their hopes of keeping the game close by committing to stop the run and daring McCarron to beat their defensive backs. Had it not been for Alabama’s big plays on special teams and defense, it would have worked.
While everyone was looking for McCarron and Cooper to step up create some Heisman buzz, the two unlikely stars of the game for Alabama were Vinnie Sunseri and of course, the game’s MVP, Christion Jones.
Certainly Alabama has much to work on before they take on Texas A&M in two weeks and knowing Nick Saban as well as I do, for many of the Crimson Tide, it won’t be a pleasant two weeks nor should it be. A 25 point win shouldn’t leave fans wondering “What the heck went on?”, but this one did.
While there were some wonderful things the team can be proud of, overall, Alabama didn’t pass the eyeball test of team that looks destined to win their third championship in a row.
Larry is an award winning writer whose work has appeared in almost every college football venue. Now he primarily writes for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Follow Larry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter