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MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times
Trey Edmunds (14) runs for the first Virginia Tech score against Alabama on Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Edmunds dashed 77 yards for the touchdown on just the third carry of his college football career.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
ATLANTA - Trey Edmunds hadn't played in a college game prior to Saturday. It took him all of three carries to make an impression.
Virginia Tech's redshirt freshman running back busted up the middle for a 77-yard touchdown run on only his third college carry against Alabama on Saturday at the Georgia Dome, briefly giving the Hokies momentum.
Edmunds earned a starting spot in the spring and fall but was one of Tech's few options remaining at tailback for the game. Michael Holmes was dismissed from the team this summer, J.C. Coleman was out with a pair of sprained ankles, Joel Caleb was serving a one-game suspension and Tony Gregory's career is over after suffering his fourth ACL tear.
But Edmunds wasn't overwhelmed. His touchdown run was built around misdirection. The Hokies pulled their offensive linemen in one direction, taking the Tide defense with them.
Edmunds waited patiently for a second and hit the hole up the middle. He went nearly untouched, bouncing to the outside and up the left sideline for a 77-yard score to pull the Hokies within 14-7 in the first quarter.
Alabama had the best rushing defense in the country last year, allowing only 76.36 yards per game. Edmunds eclipsed that on one play.
He became only the 13th individual to rush for 100 yards against the Crimson Tide since the start of the 2005 season.
Edmunds had 106 rushing yards at the half, becoming the first Hokies freshman to top the century mark in his first game since Shyron Stith had 116 yards against Akron in 1996.
Edmunds finished the game with 132 rushing yards on 20 carries.
The Hokies unveiled new uniforms a few hours before the game, a look that featured maroon helmets and pants, gray jerseys and black socks. Most players wore shoes that were black and a shiny silver.
It's the first time Tech has worn gray uniforms in head coach Frank Beamer's 27 years with the school.
Fans had long clamored for the return of maroon pants, which had fallen out of the uniform rotation in recent years. The last time the Hokies sported maroon pants was in 2009, coincidentally when they played Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in the Georgia Dome.
Youth is served
Virginia Tech brought 29 true and redshirt freshman for its opener against Alabama.
Eleven of those 29 are true freshmen. Eight of them made their debut in the first half: defensive tackle Woody Baron, safety Chuck Clark, cornerbacks Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller, kicker Mitchell Ludwig, offensive tackle Jonathan McLaughlin and fullbacks Sam Rogers and Jerome Wright.
Facyson, Fuller, McLaughlin and Rogers started.
In all, 31 players on the dress squad hadn't played in a college game before.
Didn't make it
The most notable omission from the travel squad Saturday was third-year defensive tackle Kris Harley, who has been buried on the depth chart despite inexperienced competition at the backup tackle spots.
Baron, redshirt freshmen Nigel Williams and Alston Smith were the top backup tackles to Luther Maddy and Derrick Hopkins.
Harley had been dealing with a shoulder injury during August, an injury that dates back to last year. But he wasn't listed on the Thursday injury report, so it wasn't likely the reason for him not making the trip.
Two other travel roster omissions were tight end Dakota Jackson and receiver Deon Newsome. A freshman, Newsome is expected to redshirt.
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