Alabama's Saban Jabs at the Hokies' Offense
With its 34-24 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, Alabama opened its season with a statement while issuing a reality check to the Hokies. But on Monday, Coach Nick Saban fired another salvo when asked about the Crimson Tide’s need to avoid a letdown this Saturday against Florida International.
Speaking about Florida International wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, Saban told reporters, “This guy No. 4 is a better offensive player than anybody that we played against last week.”
The sentence was part of a longer response about how Alabama has respect for Florida International and how its players are not taking the opponent lightly. But the it served as another hit to a Hokies offense that has not performed well in recent seasons. On Saturday, Virginia Tech showed signs of distress against Alabama’s top-ranked defense.
Over the years, Virginia Tech's offense has been a sensitive topic in Blacksburg.
Against the Crimson Tide, the Hokies amassed only 155 yards of total offense. With the Hokies failing to sustain drives and absent an offensive star – in a big-game setting, they missed the steady and productive presence of running back Darren Evans – the preseason talk about Virginia Tech’s offensive growth did not show through on Saturday.
The Hokies’ top performer was running back Ryan Williams, who rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Williams, a redshirt freshman, also had two receptions for 42 yards.
Hilton is an electric talent for Florida International. He had a breakout season in 2008, catching 41 passes for 1,013 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 24.7 yards per reception. He was also a first-team all-Sun Belt punt returner.
As a middling Sun Belt team, however, Florida International does not receive as much recognition nationally as Virginia Tech. At 5 feet 10, Hilton was and still is somewhat under the radar. He did not end up at one of the three major Florida universities and is not a household name in college football.
No. 14 Virginia Tech (0-1) takes on Marshall (1-0) on Saturday at Lane Stadium.
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