Russell Athletic Bowl Preview

Matt Fargo | Dec 19, 2012 | ARCHIVE

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.

Interesting Stat

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.

Breakdown

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.

Trending

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.