Virginia Tech Football: 5 Best Moments of 2013

Bryan Manning@bdmanning4Featured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2014

Virginia Tech Football: 5 Best Moments of 2013

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    The Virginia Tech Hokies wrapped up the 2013 season on Tuesday with a humbling 42-12 loss to UCLA in the Sun Bowl. 

    It was another disappointing campaign for the Hokies with a record of 8-5. That's 11 losses in two years if you're counting. 

    While the results were less than stellar, there were good moments in what feels like another lost season to most fans. Whether it was the emergence of talented, young freshmen or complete defensive dominance, the 2013 Hokies had their fair share of good moments.

    Here's a list of the top five moments of the 2013 season. 

5. Trey Edmunds' 77-Yard Touchdown Run vs. Alabama

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    In one quick moment, Virginia Tech found its next great tailback. The Hokies would finally find a running game again.

    And, on top of that, they may just beat the No. 1 team in the country in the season opener.

    Well, as you know, most of that didn't happen. But freshman tailback Trey Edmunds did provide Virginia Tech fans with at least one highlight against the Crimson Tide with this 77-yard touchdown to cut Alabama's lead to 14-7 late in the first quarter.

    Edmunds would go on to have a solid freshman campaign and really seemed to emerge over the final month of the season before breaking his leg in the season finale at Virginia. 

4. The Return of the Lunch-Pail Defense

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    The 2012 season was a year Bud Foster would like to forget.

    Foster's once-dominant defense would get owned by schools such as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and North Carolina on the way to the Hokies' worst season in 20 years. Not only would Foster's defense struggle, it couldn't consistently stop the run or pass.

    With several seniors returning in 2013, the Hokies rebounded nicely and finished No. 4 in the country in total defense. They were strong in all phases. VT was No. 7 vs. the run, No. 3 in pass efficiency defense and finished with 37 sacks and 19 interceptions.

    The lunch-pail defense returned to Blacksburg this season and was the primary reason the Hokies won eight games. 

3. Win over Miami

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    Virginia Tech's 42-24 win over Miami on Nov. 9 was likely the high point of the season. The Hokies were strong in all three phases for the first time all season.

    Tech forced two special teams turnovers which led to touchdowns, and Logan Thomas played his best game of the season. The defense was strong, of course, and held the 'Canes to just 324 total yards.

    Beating Miami doesn't quite have the same significance as it used to. But in 2013 this game mattered because it showed how good the Hokies could have been if all three phases performed well. 

Beating Virginia for the 10th Straight Time

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    Some may say when one team beats its primary rival 10 straight times, or 14 of 15 times, it is no longer a rivalry.

    Don't tell that to the Hokies.

    They take their in-state battle with the Cavaliers seriously and are proud to keep the Commonwealth Cup in Blacksburg.

    This season's 16-6 win over UVa may have been one of the uglier games in the history of the rivalry, but the results remained the same.

    You have to start wondering, if Virginia couldn't beat the Hokies in either of the last two years, will the Cavaliers ever be able to do so again?


The Emergence of Several Talented Freshmen

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    There were new faces all over the place for the Hokies in 2013. True freshman left tackle Jonathan McLaughlin was perhaps the best player on the offensive line and finished the season strong against UCLA's All-American linebacker, Anthony Barr. 

    Receiver Joshua Stanford was third on the team with 40 catches and 640 yards. Edmunds led the team in rushing. 

    Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller, both true freshmen, combined for 11 interceptions and are future stars for VT.

    Nigel Williams may replace Derrick Hopkins alongside Luther Maddy at defensive tackle next year. And tight end Kalvin Cline, having played high school football for only one year, caught 26 passes and two touchdowns for the Hokies.

    So, as bleak as things may seem, the future is bright in Blacksburg, and another strong recruiting class will have the Hokies challenging for the ACC title again soon.