Rutgers Scarlett Knights vs Virginia Tech Hokies
When: Friday, Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Russell Athletic Bowl
With two games to play, Rutgers (9-3) was one win away from becoming Big East champs, and garnering a BCS berth. They flamed out in both contests harshly. They never got their offense going in a 21 point loss to Pittsburgh, and then they lost an early lead against Louisville, and lost by three. Now Rutgers has gone from a date in the Sugar Bowl, to the lower tier Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.
Virginia Tech (6-6) never got going this season. Their team lacked a consistent effort for most of the season, and the offense never seemed to flourish. Their best win was over a MAC team, Bowling Green. In fact, they only had one win over a team with a winning record. The Hokies need this win to reenergize the program.
Offensively, they would disappear in many games. They don’t hang their hat on the offensive end, and it showed in their scoring output. Rutgers never scored more than 35 points in a game this season. The lack of scoring never hurt them until the final two games of the regular season. Gary Nova has thrown 15 interceptions this season, and he is prone to turning the ball over. Rutgers will be consistent with the running game, and try to wear down the Hokies’ defense.
Defensively, Rutgers showed championship quality. They gave up a little more than 13 points per game. The Scarlett Knights must contain Logan Thomas in the pocket, and force him to make errant throws. As long as they are in position, they should be able to tackle well. Sound defense will be key in slowing down the Hokies’ scoring opportunities.
Logan Thomas was set to have a huge year offensively. Thomas was never in sync with his receivers and he ended up throwing 14 interceptions. The offense still had its moments, but they were few and far between. Virginia Tech will have to have their best game offensively against Rutgers. Rutgers doesn’t give up many yards on the ground, so Thomas’ accuracy and running ability will be needed. He leads the team in rushing with 528 yards.
Virginia Tech’s defense has been pretty good for most of the year. They haven’t been dominant, but they were good enough in plenty of games to get wins. They lost a couple times after giving up late touchdowns as well. They should have the upper hand against the Rutgers’ offense.
The game should be a low scoring, hard hitting contest. The offense that plays against their tendencies will win. Each team will have to show wrinkles that the opponent hasn’t seen. Virginia Tech desperately needs this win, while Rutgers can keep their bowl win streak alive, and get to 10 victories.
Virginia Tech 20
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