The last time the Alabama Crimson Tide faced the Virginia Tech Hokies was September 5, 2009. The game was held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and was the first game of the season for both teams, just like this year. That game was expected to show just how hungry the Tide would be to play in the SEC Championship again after their heartbreaking loss to Florida at the SEC Championship game in 2008, and just how much Virginia Tech had improved after beating Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl in Miami.
Although the score at the end of the game favored Alabama with a final score of 34-24, the game was much closer than the score suggested. At times, both team had the lead. By the end of the first half, Virginia Tech had the lead by a score of 17-16. But by the end of the game, Alabama had found a way to finish the game in their favor. Although this game was not a very smooth game, with both teams making costly mistakes, that was the game that showed Alabama just how hard they would have to work in order to make it back to Atlanta later that year to play again for the SEC Championship.
What was the relevance of this game in 2009?
That game showed the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. For Virginia Tech, it showed they needed to work on their defensive line by stopping the gap so the running backs weren’t able to get the 10+ yardage that Mark Ingram was able to get several times in the game. Also, their linebackers and safeties needed to work on communication. Virginia Tech’s defense gave up a total of 498 yards- 230 in the air and 268 on the ground. As for the Tide, they learned they needed to work on controlling their mistakes. Alabama had one interception and one fumble which helped the Hokies. After that game, Virginia Tech went on to have a 10-3 season while the Tide went on to win their first National Championship since 1992.
What does Virginia Tech have to do to win the game this August?
Last season, the Hokies had a 7-6 season. They went 4-4 in their conference, losing crucial games in the season to Florida State, Clemson, and Pittsburg. This past season the Hokies hired new offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, new offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, and new wide receiver coach Aaron Moorehead. These new additions to the Virginia Tech football program will help the Hokies have a fresh start this season. That being said, since the Hokies have an entirely new coaching staff, that means the players only had this off season to learn it. Can it be done? Only time can tell. The Hokies have to be mentally ready for this matchup. Also, the offense has to help control this game. If they can create points on the board, and the defense can create turnovers, this Virginia Tech team might have a chance.
Look out for their senior quarterback Logan Thomas. Although he threw 16 interceptions last year, this new offense may very well help Thomas be the senior leader he needs to be for his team on offense.
Look out for the Hokies defense. The defense is expected to be superb since losing only 2 seniors. Senior defensive end James Gayle is hoping to lead the defense this season.
What does Alabama have to do to win the game this August?
Don’t let winning two national titles in a row get in their heads. Alabama needs to stay focused this season. If Alabama wants to win three in a row this year, they have to stay focused as a team. This game will show Alabama what they have to do to win three in a row this year. Defensively, Alabama should be dominant against Virginia Tech’s offense. As for offense, since Alabama lost a lot of their offensive line, Alabama’s new offensive line has to step up and stop the Hokies from creating big defensive plays.
Look out for AJ McCarron. This will be a big breakout game for him this season. This game could easily put him on the Heisman candidate watch list.
Look out for CJ Moseley- He will be leading his team on defense. Watch for him to have a breakout career this season.
Who do I think will win the game?
Alabama. I believe that this game will have the same result as in 2009—a win for the Tide and a game to show both teams what they need to focus on the rest of the season. With the Hokies new offense and not a lot of time to prepare, and with Alabama’s dominance the past two years, I find this game favored for the Tide. As we saw in 2009, this game might have some close moments, but the Tide will find a way to roll over the Hokies.