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Blood is thicker than alma mater for Thomas

September 21, 2018

It’s going to be a surreal experience for Trevor Thomas.

Thomas is going to sit in the very same venue where he once played before 33,000 fans in the first-ever game in what’s now known as Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

He’s going to gaze at the turf and remember how good it felt to beat New Hampshire, 24-23, in the opening game of the 1991 season.

Then, Thomas is going to remember the abject joy of defeating Youngstown State, 31-28, in Huntington and winning Marshall’s first NCAA I-AA national championship in 1992.

The memories will flow in torrents for the Fairmont, West Virginia, native, who started at left guard for Marshall in 1991-92-93, serving as a team captain in 1993.

But as Thomas watches his alma mater play N.C. State at 7 p.m. Saturday in “The Joan,” one emotion will be oddly overwhelming.

For the first time in Thomas’ life, he won’t be pulling for Marshall.

Why?

Because blood is thicker than a letterman’s jacket.

Instead, Thomas will be cheering for N.C. State’s No. 87 — a redshirt freshman wide receiver named Thayer Thomas. That’s right, he is Thomas’ son.

“For me, personally,” said Thomas, “I actually played in the very first game in Marshall’s stadium and I don’t know if my boys even realize that. But, now, to have your son have the opportunity to go play against a school that you love and you root for ... and, now, to have to root against the school that basically put me in the position I’m in now?

It’s a little bit different.”

Yet, think how unique it will be for the Thomas’. It isn’t often that a son gets to play on the same collegiate field where his father was once a standout.

“Absolutely,” said Thomas, who lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and works as a salesman for a large, international cement manufacturer. “I’m looking forward to it. We’re not going to miss it. We’ll probably come up on Friday.

“I know Thayer is excited and I just hope he can go out there and make good plays for N.C. State on Saturday.”

The younger Thomas, who arrived at N.C. State as a preferred walk-on but was put on scholarship quickly, has been a surprise this season. The 6-foot, 193-pound slot receiver has made big plays in the Wolfpack’s two wins over James Madison and Georgia State.

“I wasn’t surprised he played in that first game against James Madison,” said the elder Thomas, “but I was surprised he scored the first touchdown of the season for N.C. State. That was exciting.”

First, Thomas returned a punt 40 yards. Then, a play or two later, he came out of the backfield to catch a 16-yard touchdown pass. Thomas followed that with nine catches for 114 yards and a TD vs. Georgia State to become the earliest 100-yard receiver in Wolfpack history.

Not bad for the son of an ol’ offensive lineman.

“That’s right,” said Thomas, whose younger son, Drake, has also committed to N.C. State. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, ‘Where did he get his speed from? I know he didn’t get it from his dad.’ ”

In two games, the younger Thomas has 10 catches for 130 yards and two TDs.

So, will he add to those stats? Will N.C. State improve to 3-0? Or will MU pull the upset?

Either way, Trevor Thomas wins.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at clandon@heralddispatch.com.

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