Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low
Alabama overcame some major breakdowns in the kicking game to take over down the stretch and defeat Virginia Tech, 34-24, on Saturday night in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff in Atlanta. Here’s an instant analysis from the game:
Turning point: After struggling to throw the ball most of the night, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy hit Marquis Maze down the middle of the field for 48 yards to the Virginia Tech 6-yard-line in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Mark Ingram scored a touchdown on the next play, and Alabama took the lead for good after trailing the entire third quarter.
Player of the game: Alabama sophomore running back Mark Ingram rushed for a career-high 150 yards and scored both of the Crimson Tide’s touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Ingram had 94 of his rushing yards after halftime.
Stat of the game: Alabama outgained Virginia Tech 498 to 155 in total yardage and ran 28 more offensive plays.
Unsung hero of the game: Alabama defensive end Brandon Deaderick played in the game despite being shot in the arm this past Monday night during an attempted robbery attempt.
What it means: Alabama’s defense is for real, probably even better than last season. The Crimson Tide will almost certainly go into that Ole Miss showdown on Oct. 10 unbeaten and appear to be the class of the Western Division after such a quality win over a Top 10 team to start the season.