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Crimson Tide overcomes miscues to hold off Hokies

Alabama defeats Virginia Tech, 34-24.

September 06, 2009|Associated Press

ATLANTA — Virginia Tech hung on for three quarters playing Beamer Ball. Alabama's superiority could not be denied in the fourth.

Score another big season-opening win for the Crimson Tide.

No. 5 Alabama overcame a 98-yard kickoff return, two costly turnovers and several silly penalties, finally wearing down No. 7 Virginia Tech in the final quarter for a 34-24 victory Saturday night.

Mark Ingram rushed for 150 yards and finished off Virginia Tech with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Greg McElroy threw for 230 yards in his debut as Alabama's starting quarterback.

Alabama held a staggering 498-155 edge in total yards against Virginia Tech's touted defense, but the Hokies led 17-16 going to the final period.

Ingram put Alabama ahead to stay with a six-yard touchdown run, set up by McElroy's 48-yard pass to Marquis Maze. McElroy was 15-for-30, a perfect complement to Nick Saban's always-punishing ground game. Roy Upchurch added 90 yards rushing, and the Tide finished with 268 yards on the ground.

Virginia Tech hung around following the mantra of Coach Frank Beamer, who has always believed all three phases of the game can contribute to the scoring. The special teams got a touchdown. An interception led to a field goal. Three costly Alabama penalties handed the Hokies another touchdown, and another long return and personal foul set up a late touchdown that gave the Hokies a chance.

But Alabama would not be denied. After Ryan Williams' spectacular 32-yard touchdown run made it 27-24, the Tide calmly responded with a lightning-quick 74-yard drive to clinch it.

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