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2013 Virginia Tech Football: What To Watch Vs. Alabama

After their worst season in two decades, the Hokies hope to open up the 2013 season with a win. The only thing in their way is the two-time defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. No biggie. For a look into what the two teams do well and what they do not do so well, as well as a complete analysis of some of the most important factors, players and statistics in the matchup, continue reading after the jump.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech Hokies (0-0) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0)

Virginia Tech Offense vs. Alabama Defense

  • As I said in the Game Guide:
  • On defense, Alabama announces publicly that it runs a 3-4 scheme, but often can be seen lining up in 4-3 as well.
  • In total defense, the Tide ranked No. 1 nationally, giving up just 250 yards per game. They also finished top in scoring defense, giving up 10.93 points per game.
  • The Crimson Tide also finished No. 1 in rushing defense, giving up 76.36 yards per game on the ground, and No. 7 nationally in passing defense, giving up 173.64 yards per game through the air.
  • In 2012, the Hokies threw for an average of 230.92 passing yards per game, a total that ranked No. 64 nationally.
  • The Hokies finished 2012 ranked No. 79 nationally in rushing offense with a lowly average (by their standards) of 145.85 yards per game.
  • In total offense, the Hokies finished the 2012 season ranked No. 81 nationally with 376.77 yards per game.

Virginia Tech Defense vs. Alabama Offense

  • As I said in the Game Guide:
  • Offensively, the Crimson Tide run a Pro-Style offense.
  • The Crimson Tide finished the 2012 season ranked No. 31 nationally in total offense with 445.5 yards per game.
  • They ranked No. 75 in the nation in passing offense with 218 yards per game.
  • The Tide also finished No. 16 nationally in rushing offense, with 227.5 yards per game.
  • Alabama returns a two-year starter in quarterback AJ McCaron. In 2012, McCaron passed for 2,933 yards and 30 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions while completing over 67 percent of his passes with a 175.3 passer rating which led the nation.
  • On the ground, the Tide's leading returning rusher is sophomore running back T.J. Yeldon, who rushed for 1,1o8 yards and 12 touchdowns with a 6.3 average last year as Alabama's second running back behind Eddie Lacy. Yeldon also caught 11 passes out of the backfield for 131 yards and a touchdown.
  • The Tide were also led by another freshman in the receiving corps a year ago in Amari Cooper, who pulled in 59 balls for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns.
  • The Hokies finished No. 18 nationally in total defense in 2012, allowing 333.15 yards per game.
  • Against the ground attack, the Hokies finished No. 29 nationally, giving up 134.08 yards per game.
  • Against the pass, Tech ranked No. 24 nationally, allowing 199.07 yards per game through the air.
  • Tech allowed opponents to score 22.9 points per game in 2012, while Alabama scored an average of 38.7 points per game.

Watch the Box Score

  • Virginia Tech 3rd down conversion percentage
  • Logan Thomas completion %
  • Alabama rushing yards per carry
  • Turnovers

Virginia Tech Players to Watch

Alabama Players to Watch

  • 32 - C.J. Mosley, Sr., LB OR 42 - Adrian Hubbard, Jr., LB
  • 70 - Ryan Kelly, So., C OR 77 - Arie Kouandijo, So., LG OR 79 - Austin Shepherd, Jr., RT
  • 9 - Amari Cooper, So., WR OR 7 - Kenny Bell, Sr., WR
  • 6 - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Jr., SS

Final Score

Alabama 31, Virginia Tech 14