Russell Athletic Bowl Preview
Friday, December 28th
Russell Athletic Bowl - Citrus Bowl Stadium Orlando, FL 5:30 PM ET
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (-2.5/41)
How Rutgers got here
After opening the season a perfect 7-0 including 3-0 in the Big East, Rutgers certainly had visions of a conference championship. A loss to Kent St. stopped the unbeaten streak but the Scarlet Knights bounced back with a win at Cincinnati and it was in the driver's seat as the conference champion would likely come down to the season finale at home against Louisville. Unfortunately for Rutgers it got thumped at Pittsburgh and then followed that up with a loss to the Cardinals to give Louisville the BCS Bowl bid. This is not the bowl game it was hoping for but at least it is in a warm weather area against a quality opponent. Rutgers has won its last five bowl games, including a 27-13 victory over Iowa St. in last year's Pinstripe Bowl.
How Virginia Tech got here
To say it was a disappointing season at Virginia Tech would be an understatement. After eight straight season's of double-digit wins and coming into this year as favorites in the ACC Coastal Division, the Hokies slipped to a 6-6 record. They had to scramble just to get bowl eligible as the Hokies had to win their final two games to get the needed six victories. Four of Virginia Tech's six losses were by double digits so the .500 record really is a true indication of how the season went. The Hokies do have the momentum of closing the regular season with two straight wins and facing the worst season in two decades, pride will be on the line here as none of these players want to end with a less than .500 record.
Despite going 3-3 in its last six games, Virginia Tech outgained all six opponents while Rutgers outgained just three of its last seven opponents.
With two solid defenses and scoring offenses that are not very potent, points could be at a premium here. Rutgers quietly put together the fourth ranked scoring defense in the nation, allowing just 14.25 ppg although it definitely leaked some oil down the stretch. The Hokies hope to take advantage of a Scarlet Knights rushing defense that allowed 149.2 ypg in their last six games after allowing just 60.8 ypg in their first six games. Conversely, the Hokies have yielded an average of only 82.7 rushing ypg in the last six games since allowing 339 rushing yards to North Carolina. Virginia Tech's passing defense is solid despite allowing game-winning touchdowns in the final minute of losses to Cincinnati and Florida St. Rutgers quarteback Gary Nova has been turnover-prone with 11 interceptions in his last five games.
Virginia Tech is 3-13 ATS in its last 16 games following a win and 1-8 ATS in its last nine games after allowing 14 or fewer points last game.
Rutgers is 9-2 to the under in its last 11 games as an underdog and Virginia Tech is 15-4 to the under in its last 19 games in the second half of the season.
- March 2, 2015 - 10:00 PM
- AAA Sports
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These two teams are moving in opposite directions. Montreal comes into this game having won four straight, while San Jose has lost three in a row (all in front of the home town crowd). I have a hard time seeing the Sharks inept offense suddenly turning things around here; note that San Jose has totaled just five goals during the losing streak and scored two or fewer in five of its previous six at home. The Sharks are most recently coming off a 4-2 loss to Ottawa on Saturday, allowing three goals in the final 20 minutes of play. Also note that San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi has struggled mightily, posting a poor 3.49 GAA during an 0-6-2 home skid. Niemi can't be blamed fully though as the penalty-kill unit has allowed the last seven home opponents to go 6 for 20 on the power play. The Habs could obviously care less about San Jose's problems, they sport a 17-5 goal advantage during their four-game win skein and have won 11 of 13 on the road. Goaltender Carey Price has been equally as impressive, posting a 1.18 GAA and .956 save percentage during a 9-0-1 stretch. Pretty good value in my opinion, consider a second look at MONTREAL in this one.