The Virginia Tech Hokies and Rutgers Scarlet Knights meet in this year’s Russell Athletic Bowl, formerly known as the Champs Sports Bowl. Set to take place December 28 from Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, the game will kick off at 5:30 p.m. and be televised nationally by ESPN.
Virginia Tech is bowl-eligible for an impressive 20th-straight season and makes its first appearance in an Orlando bowl game. Head coach Frank Beamer is the winningest-active and longest-tenured coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision. QB Logan Thomas accounts for 72 percent of his team’s total offensive output, leading the Hokies in both passing and rushing.
Virginia Tech (6-6, 4-4 ACC) boasts the ACC’s second-ranked scoring defense (23.9 ppg) and the conference’s third-best total defense (344.6 ypg). Junior DB Antone Exum leads the league’s No. 2-rated passing defense with four interceptions, tying him for third-most in the ACC.
The Hokies are 2-0 against Big East teams in bowl games since 2006, including a 20-7 victory over Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl in 2009. They hold an 11-3 all-time record over the Scarlet Knights, with all 11 wins coming consecutively since 1993.
Rutgers (9-3, 5-2 Big East) heads to an Orlando bowl for the first time in school history and heads to The City Beautiful riding a five-game bowl win streak, tied for the nation’s longest. It has played in seven bowls in the last eight years and this will be its eighth bowl all time. The co-Big East Champions enter the game looking for its first double-digit win season since 2006, when it went 11-2.
The Scarlet Knights boast a pair of sophomores who have been making headlines all season. Running back Jawan Jamison is the third RU player since 1976 to rush for 1,000 yards in a season, and quarterback Gary Nova is second in RU single-season history with 22 touchdown passes this year.
The last time RU played an ACC team in a bowl was the 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl against NC State. Rutgers earned a 29-23 victory over the Wolfpack.
The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com project Virginia Tech to win by 2.18 points.