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Tuesday we took a look at the quarterbacks of the Beamer Bowl Era, and today
we’ll look at, and rank, the backfields from 1993-2006. Tech’s offensive
philosophy has always revolved around the running game, and the Hokies have had
some major weapons in the backfield throughout the years.
First, a short look at the backfield in each year of the Beamer Bowl Era.
After that, we’ll do the rankings.
Virginia Tech has never used as many players in the backfield as they did in
1993. Five players carried the ball at least 58 times, and all five of those
players rushed for at least 327 yards. The Hokies were three-deep at tailback,
and they also used two fullbacks in the rotation. This group ran behind a very
good offensive line and helped the team average 242.8 yards per game on the
Dwayne Thomas was the top rusher on the 1993 team. He finished with 1,130
yards and 11 touchdowns. It was his sophomore season, and it turned out to be
his most successful season at Virginia Tech. He also caught 17 passes for the
Hokies that year, which is a very high number for a Tech running back.
The Hokies used two other tailbacks that year. "Touchdown" Tommy
Edwards was the goalline specialist, finishing with 357 yards and nine
touchdown. Ranall White was also part of the rotation with 60 carries for 333
yards, a 5.6 yards per carry average. Fullbacks Joe Swarm and Brian Edmunds both
rushed for over 300 yards as well. The Hokies went after opponents with waves of
runners in 1993.
Although 1994 featured many of the same players in the backfield, it wasn’t
as productive as the 1993 unit. There was a new offensive coordinator (Gary
Tranquill, replacing Ricky Bustle), Dwayne Thomas missed three games, and
All-American center Jim Pyne was off to the NFL.
Thomas played in eight games, but only managed 655 yards. His yards per carry
dropped from 5.3 to 4.6. Tommy Edwards ran for 378 yards, but his yards per
carry dropped from 4.6 to 3.3. Brian Edmunds had a good year at fullback.
Perhaps the brightest spot that year came from third string tailback Ken
Oxendine, a true freshman. The Ox only had 33 carries, but he averaged 7.8 yards
per carry and gained 258 yards on the year.
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