Alabama leads 28-10 at the half.
Without a doubt, the story of the first half is the three special teams and defensive touchdowns the Tide racked up against the Hokies.
- First, Alabama’s Christion Jones returned a punt 74 yards for a TD the first time the Tide touched the ball.
- Later on, early in the second quarter, Alabama safety Tino Sunseri cut inside DJ Coles on a quick slant, picked off Logan Thomas, and ran 38 yards untouched for a TD.
- After the Hokies kicked a field goal to make it 21-10, Jones ran the ensuing kickoff back 93 yards, despite being hit by multiple Hokies early in the return.
VT had a big play themselves, with Trey Edmunds ripping off a 77-yard TD run right up the gut that was beautifully blocked by right tackle Laurence Gibson, right guard Andrew Miller, and tight end Darius Redman.
Edmunds’ run breathed life back into a Hokie team that had fallen behind 14-0, and made it 14-7. But then Logan Thomas threw the pick-six to Sunseri to put the Tide back up 21-7.
A play that won’t be talked about much in the coming years occurred right after that, when Logan Thomas overthrew a wide open Demitri Knowles on Tech’s first play from scrimmage of their next possession, blowing a chance to close the gap back to 21-14.
Kyle Fuller later had an interception in Alabama territory that VT converted into a field goal to close it to 21-10. But then came the back-breaking kickoff return, and with a 28-10 half time lead, Alabama is well on their way to a rout of a VT team that just didn’t make plays when it needed to and when it had the opportunity.
Random thoughts – negative side:
VT wide receivers have been a disappointment, breaking off routs and failing to make plays.
Special teams have been a disaster.
Random thoughts — positive side:
At the half, Bama has just six first downs and 97 yards of offense. VT has 155 yards, but granted, that includes a single 77 yard run by Edmunds.
Trey Edmunds has ten carries for 106 yards. He has looked physical and is showing promise. Other than his 77 yarder, he is averaging a little over three yards a carry against a physical Tide defense.
Offensive line play has been solid. VT has only lost one yard on sacks. OL players for the Hokies have been physical and have been playing in the second level of Alabama’s defense.
Virginia Tech’s defense has been very good. The Hokies are winning the line of scrimmage on defense.
It’s unlikely that the Hokies can come back in this one. Assuming a loss, the pressure is going to ramp up on Frank Beamer for another terrible showing by his special teams in a big game. Logan Thomas is also going to come under fire for the pick-six, but that was at least as much the fault of DJ Coles, who broke off his route, as it was on Thomas. A bigger miscue by Logan is the missed bomb to Knowles, when he had him wide open. Great play call by Scot Loeffler, and Logan failed to cash it in.
Half-time notes from VT Sports Information:
• Tech’s permanent captains for the year are Jack Tyler, Kyle Fuller, Andrew Miller and Logan Thomas.
• This is the first time since 2009 that Virginia Tech has worn maroon pants (Tennessee, Chick-fi-A Bowl) and the first time under head coach Frank Beamer that the Hokies have worn gray jerseys.
• Eight true freshmen played in the first half for Tech. Those eight are: Woody Baron, Chuck Clark, Brandon Facyson, Kendall Fuller, Mitchell Ludwig, Jonathan McLaughlin, Sam Rogers and Jerome Wright. The three who dressed but haven’t played are: Parker Osterloh, Carlis Parker and Wyatt Teller. In all, 18 players got their first collegiate action in the first half of tonight’s game. There were 31 who dressed who had never played coming into tonight.
• Senior Kyle Fuller recorded his fifth career interception in the second quarter. A.J. McCarron only threw three interceptions in 14 games last year in leading the nation in passing efficiency.
• In his first game, redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds rushed for 106 yards in the first half. The last freshman to rush for 100 yards or more in his first game was Shyrone Stith who ran for 119 yards against Akron as a true freshman in 1996.