"In his college debut, Trey Edmunds rushed for 132 yards on 20 carries, breaking off a 77-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against an Alabama squad that has led the Southeastern Conference in total defense each of the past five seasons while winning the last two national titles. Edmunds is the first Virginia Tech freshman to top 100 rushing yards in his debut since 1996."Washington Post:
For the first time in Coach Frank Beamer’s 27-year tenure, the Hokies allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown, a punt-return touchdown and an interception return for a touchdown in the same game. It was “Beamer Ball” at its worst, and the Crimson Tide cruised to a 35-10 victory at the sold-out stadium.
Alabama’s Christion Jones was the unlikely star of the night, scoring three touchdowns in three different ways. In the first quarter, he returned a punt 72 yards to the end zone. In the second quarter, he returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. The junior then capped off his evening with a 39-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, beating Virginia Tech safety Desmond Frye with starter Kyshoen Jarrett sidelined by cramping.
Beamer said after the game the two special teams breakdowns were the result of using too many young players on his once-vaunted unit, and noted he would “absolutely” consider playing more veterans going forward.
“It’s no excuse. We’re gonna evaluate our personnel,” Beamer said. “The points that we gave them, it shouldn’t happen in a ballgame. Those were critical.”
Jones’ heroics masked what was otherwise a stellar performance by Virginia Tech’s defense. The Hokies kept Alabama’s vaunted rushing attack in check and held the Crimson Tide offense just two touchdown drives. Quarterback A.J. McCarron, the nation’s most efficient passer a year ago, completed 10 of 23 passes for 110 yards and also threw an interception.
The Hokies, shooting to rebound from a 7-6 season that was their worst since 1992, also struggled on offense under new coordinator Scot Loeffler.
Quarterback Logan Thomas completed only 5 of 26 pass attempts for 59 yards and threw a momentum-crushing interception that Crimson Tide safety Vinnie Sunseri returned for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Thomas was fooled by Alabama’s coverage, said Beamer, who called the play a “turning point” in the game.
But Thomas left the field “encouraged,” particularly with how Virginia Tech’s new offensive line held up. The Hokies actually outgained Alabama, 212-206.
"We have a lot of room to grow," cornerback Kyle Fuller said. "The score didn't reflect our play."
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