Top-ranked Alabama entered the season with quarterback A.J. McCarron and running back T.J. Yeldon receiving some preseason Heisman Trophy buzz.
But wide receiver Christion Jones stole the show as the two-time defending national champions looked ready to make a run at a three-peat - at least defensively - in a 35-10 win over Virginia Tech.
Jones returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown in the opening minute of the game. He caught two passes for 48 yards and another score and also returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. He finished with 258 all-purpose yards.
Jones, a junior from Adamsville, Ala., nearly equaled his career touchdown total in the opener. He scored four times as a sophomore last season.
Alabama's offense will need to improve going forward. It managed only 21 points but the defense held the Hokies scoreless in the second half. Virginia Tech found an uncharacteristic soft spot in the first quarter when Trey Edmunds ran for a 77-yard score.
Yeldon ran 17 times for 74 yards and a touchdown. McCarron struggled at times but did enough to notch another win in a career full of them. He completed just 10 of 23 passes for 112 yards, the touchdown to Jones and one interception.