Sept. 5, 2009
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Alabama-Virginia Tech Final Book
ATLANTA, Ga. - What started as a defensive struggle opened up late in the game with No. 5 Alabama beating No. 7 Virginia Tech 34-24 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game held in the Georgia Dome.
“Anyone that liked competition liked the game that was played tonight,” UA head coach Nick Saban said.
The two teams traded the lead back and forth throughout the first half with Tech holding a one-point margin over the Tide, 17-16, heading into the locker rooms at halftime. While Alabama was moving the ball offensively and stopping the Hokies defensively in the first half, Virginia Tech’s special teams kept them in front in the first half.
After a scoreless third quarter, Alabama built a ten-point lead in the fourth only to have the Hokies cut it to three before the Tide put the game away by scoring a touchdown with 6:35 remaining.
Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram ran for a career-best 150 yards, including a six-yard touchdown run. He also scored on an 18-yard pass from Greg McElroy, who made his first start and completed 15 passes, including a long of 48 yards, on 30 attempts for 230 yards, a touchdown and an interception. After starting with just two completions on 12 attempts, McElroy went 13-of-18 the rest of the way.
Kicker Leigh Tiffin made four of five field goal attempts, including a long of 49 yards on the Tide’s first drive. In addition to Ingram’s TDs, Roy Upchurch burst into the end zone from 19 yards out for Alabama’s first touchdown of the night.
Alabama dominated statistically, rolling up 488 net yards to Tech’s 154 with a 14-minute advantage in time of possession and 24 first downs to the Hokies’ 12. Alabama’s defense had five sacks.
"In the second half we made adjustments," defensive lineman Terrence Cody said. "We settled down, got together and made plays. It just took that first half for us to get settled down."
The Tide opens it home slate Saturday against Florida International in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game is set to kickoff at 6 p.m. and will be shown on pay per view basis.
"We have 11 more games to play and the most important game is the one we play next week," Saban said. "We still have a lot of good teams to play."