Virginia Tech Hokies (6-5, 4-3) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-3, 4-2)
Time: 5:30 p.m. EDT
Date: Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Place: Orlando, Fla.
Stadium: Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium
(Cap: 70,229, Open: 1936, Field: Astroturf)
Radio: VT IMG, XM 84 (internet radio), Sirius 84 (internet radio)
Spread: Virginia Tech -2.5
Weather: High of 74, 0% Chance of Rain
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights enter having lost their last two games and three of their last five after starting out the year 7-0. In their last game, Rutgers fell in a close battle on home soil with Louisville, 20-17. Louisville star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater did most of the damage in this game, throwing for 263 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Cardinals' running game never got off the launch pad. The Cardinals totaled 42 yards on 41 carries in the game. Rutgers jumped out to an early lead several minutes into the game, when quarterback Gary Nova found Brandon Coleman on an 85-yard passing score that put the Scarlet Knights on top 7-0. Louisville responded early in the second with a 20-yard John Wallace field goal to make it 7-3. But less than a minute later, Rutgers hit it big again on a 68-yard pass from Nova to Mark Harrison to make it a 14-3 Scarlet Knight advantage. That lead would stand until the waning moments of the third quarter, when Louisville punched it in on a 14-yard Bridgewater pass to Jeremy Wright to pull the Cardinals within four. Then, just 16 seconds later, Louisville scored again on a 20-yard Bridgewater touchdown to DeVante Parker after a fumble on the kickoff gifted them field position at the Rutgers 20-yard line. The Scarlet Knights would pull even midway through the fourth quarter on a Nick Borgese field goal, but Louisville would add a field goal in the game's waning minutes to put the Cardinals up for good, 20-17. Rutgers drove halfway down the field before Nova threw the interception (his 15th of the season, a stat that ties him for fourth nationally) that sealed the Scarlet Knights fate, a pass which overshot the intended receiver by a good 20 yards. From there the Cardinals just ran out the clock.
Trends: The Hokies schallacked the Scarlet Knights (as per usual) 48-22 on Oct. 4, 20o3, in their last season of Big East membership. The Hokies came into the game ranked No. 4 in the nation at 4-0. Rutgers actually got on the board first with a 17-yard pass from Ryan Hart to Shawn Tucker. But from that point on, it was the Hokies for the next three quarters. Two Bryan Randall to Chris Shreve touchdown passes and a Kevin Jones touchdown from 5-yards out gave the Hokies a 21-7 lead after the first frame. Tech followed that with a 10-yard Mike Imoh touchdown reception early in the second, a feat he would accomplish again just minutes into the third. Those two scores were sandwiched by a Jimmy Williams interception return for 55 yards. After three quarters, the Hokies were riding high at 41-7, but Rutgers decided to make it a little less of a blowout with two quick touchdowns and a 2-point conversion in the fourth. But Tech held it's ground the rest of the way, and even added a 35-yard Cedric Humes jaunt to conclude the scoring at 48-22 with just minutes remaining. Bryan Randall led the Hokies with 250 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air, throwing one interception. Marcus Vick saw some time, but was mostly bad, throwing two interceptions himself. Kevin Jones led the Hokies on the ground with 118 yards and a touchdown, and Chris Shreve led all Hokie receivers with 93 yards on four catches. Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart threw four picks, but it wasn't all bad, as running back Brian Leonard had a solid day, rushing for 76 yards and over a 6-yard per carry average. In all, Tech has won the last 11 games in the series, all Big East matchups.
History Lesson: The following information is all provided via Hokiesports.com. Virginia Tech has played Rutgers a total of 14 times, 12 under Frank Beamer. Beamer holds an 11-1 record against the Scarlet Knights, the only loss coming on a freak last second touchdown in 1992 that saw the Hokies drop a 50-49 game. Beamer has never coached a game against first-year Rutgers head man Kyle Flood. Overall, the Hokies hold the advantage in the series 11-3. The series between the two teams dates back to 1920, when the Scarlet Knights dispatched of the Hokies 19-6. The two teams have never played against one another in a bowl game.
What to Expect
Offensively, the Scarlet Knights run a Pro-Style offense.
On defense, Rutgers runs a 4-3 scheme.
Rutgers ranks No. 100 nationally in total offense with just over 341 yards per game.
The Scarlet Knights rank No. 83 in the nation in passing offense with just over 215 yards per game.
The Scarlet Knights are No. 100 nationally in rushing offense, with just under 126 yards per game.
The Scarlet Knights rank No. 14 nationally in total defense, giving up just over 321 yards per game. They are also tied for No. 4 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up just over 14 points per game to their opponents.
Rutgers also ranks No. 11 nationally in rushing defense, giving up 105 yards per game on the ground, and No. 40 nationally in passing defense, giving up 216 yards per game.
Rutgers is led by quarterback Gary Nova. Nova has thrown 2,566 yards and 22 touchdowns, but has also thrown a whopping 15 interceptions. He completes roughly 59% of his passes.
Despite their issues running the ball, Rutgers produced a 1,000-yard rusher in Jawan Jamison. Jamison has 1,054 yards on 4.4 yards per carry and 4 touchdowns, but he has not had a 100-yard game since Oct. 20, and has only scored one touchdown since that time. He is also a threat in the passing game, catching 27 balls for 322 yards and 2 TD's.
Brandon Coleman leads the Scarlet Knights in receiving with 663 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is a big target at 6'6".
Hokies Win If: They take Rutgers seriously, come to play their game and dominate on both sides of the line. Also, they will need a big game out of Logan Thomas. Otherwise, it'll be an ugly game.
Rutgers Win If: They show up to play the ball they're capable of, limit their turnovers, stop the Virginia Tech running game and force Logan Thomas to air it out.
Dot-dot-dots: With a win against Rutgers, Frank Beamer will move into sole possession of sixth place all-time in wins among FBS coaches with 258, passing legendary coach LaVell Edwards. The average score in the series is a 41-20 Virginia Tech advantage. The Hokies have been shutout in the series, but the Scarlet Knights have been shutout by the Hokies twice. Individually, Logan Thomas needs just 13 passing yards to pass Will Furrer to take over fourth place in the all-time Hokie annals, and just 107 to pass Don Strock for third place. He also needs only 217 yards to become the Hokies' first-ever quarterback with multiple 3,000-yard passing seasons. With a touchdown on the ground, he can also tie Bob Schweickert in career rushing touchdowns for a quarterback with 21. With two, he can also tie Bruce Arians and himself from a year ago with 11 touchdowns in a season. Marcus Davis needs just 72 receiving yards to best the Hokies' all-time single season mark of 962 yards set by Andre' Davis in 1999, and only 109 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark, a feat that has never been accomplished before at Virginia Tech.