Strong defense and key turnovers in the third quarter helped Virginia Tech prevail against Alabama in the season opener for 2009.
After a slow start in the first half that included two Tyrod Taylor second quarter interceptions, the Hokies made halftime adjustments both on offense and defense. Taylor found wideout Danny Coale for a quick 16 yard strike capping off a long drive to start the third quarter. Senior Safety Kam Chancellor jarred the ball loose on the ensuing drive from Mark Ingram to have it recovered by Cody Grimm deep in the Tide's territory. Bruising fullback Kenny Jefferson ran it in one play later, helping the Hokies regain the lead 20-17.
Alabama was not done as Greg McElroy found Marquis Maze in the endzone midway through the fourth quarter. Taylor and the Hokies answered back with a 37-yard strike to Cole capping 9-play, 78 yard drive to regain the lead 27-24.
With less than two minutes remaining, the Tide began to march down the field on the arm of McElroy until senior cornerback Stephan Virgil sealed the game for the Hokies with an interception on the Tech 9 yard line.
VT:FG 3:51 M. Waldron 53 Yd FG
ALA:TD 1:22 C. Peek, 7 Yd pass from G. McElroy (L. Tiffin Kick)
VT:FG 0:08 M. Waldron, 22 Yd FG
ALA:TD 2:43 T. Grant, 2 Yd run (L. Tiffin Kick)
ALA:FG 0:17 L. Tiffin, 21 Yd FG
VT:TD 2:34 D. Coale, 16 Yd pass from T. Taylor (M. Waldron Kick)
VT:TD 1:03 K. Jefferson, 3 Yd run (M. Waldron Kick)
ALA:TD 3:09 M. Maze, 28 Yd pass from G. McElroy (L. Tiffin Kick)
VT:TD 1:33 D. Coale, 37 Yd pass from T. Taylor (M. Waldron Kick)
First downs ALA: 14 VT: 9
Total Offense ALA: 306 VT: 271
Turnovers ALA: 2(1 INT, 1 FUM) VT: 2 (2 INT)
Alabama Top Player Stats
Passing: G. McElroy 19-29 for 278 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: M. Ingram 16-for-40 yds, 0 TD
Receiving: M. McCoy 6-for-114 yds, 0 TD
Defense: J. Arenas 2 TAK, 1 INT
Virginia Tech Top Player Stats
Passing: T. Taylor 10-22 for 215 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: R. Williams 17-for-63 yds, 0 TD
Receiving: D. Coale 4-for-88 yds, 2 TD
Defense: K. Chancellor 11 TAK, 1 FF