Hokies Couldn't Keep Up With Jones
Alabama junior Christion Jones totaled 256 net yards, with 209 of them on returns against a program and head coach in Frank Beamer that's normally known for its special teams prowess.
"It's every kid's dream to come out and do things like that," said Jones. "I'm planning to celebrate it, but only for 24 hours." Asked it if Saturday's win marked his best game ever, he said, "Probably so. I don't really think of it like that, but some people may say that. I credit the kickoff and punt return teams for their blocking, and coach (Bobby) Williams (Alabama's special teams coordinator) had some great calls on our return schemes. The blocking schemes were set up great each time. You just want them to keep kicking to you."
Jones' teammates couldn't help but notice the junior's great night, and were quick to praise him. "I give all the credit to Christion Jones," said junior safety Vinnie Sunseri, who had a 38-yard "pick six" of his own. "Christion came out and gave us all the momentum."
"Christion is very difficult to bring down. He's a great athlete and he played an amazing game," said sophomore safety Landon Collins, who made five stops on special teams. "We work on special teams every day at every practice. It's a huge part of what we do."
Jones' performance could well put him in early Heisman talk ahead of teammates A.J. McCarron (10-23 passing for 110 yards with a touchdown and a pick) and T.J. Yeldon, who ran for 75 yards on 17 carries and one score. Senior guard Anthony Steen said he had a quick sideline talk with Jones in-game. "I told him after the second time he scored, ‘If you keep this up, you'll win the (Heisman) trophy today.'"
Senior linebacker C.J. Mosley (seven tackles), who doubles as a blocker on kick and punt returns. On Jones' second score, the 94-yard kickoff return, Mosley felt both thankful and proud. "He broke a tackle, and luckily for me, that was the guy I was supposed to block and I missed him. After that, felt kind of fast, because I was running down the field with Christion, looking for someone else to block.
"We always say special teams are a game-changing moment, and we made two big plays."
As well as things went on special teams, the Tide's offensive unit struggled, amassing only 206 net yards to Tech's 212. Bama rushed for 96 net yards on 38 carries, a 2.5 average. "They showed us some blitzes we hadn't seen before," McCarron said. "Virginia Tech has a great defense. It's a good measuring stick for us."
Steen agreed, and added that the Hokies defensive lineman showed some new shifts. "I don't think we were expecting so much movement from them. As the game went on, we adjusted. "We did all right. We wanted to go out there and beat them straight up. As the game went on, we progressed. It's the first game of the season. A win's a win."
Defensively, the Tide held Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas to 5-26 passing for 59 yards, one interception and added a sack. "
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