It’s official: Virginia Tech will play in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday, December 28 in Orlando. The Hokies will take on former Big East rival Rutgers at 5:30pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN. This game will be Virginia Tech’s 20th consecutive bowl game.
The Russell Athletic Bowl will be one of three bowls that day. The others are the Independence Bowl at 2pm, and the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas at 9pm, which means that the Hokies and Scarlet Knights won’t have any TV competition from other bowls.
Rutgers went 9-3 this season and narrowly missed playing in the BCS after losing to Louisville 20-17 on Thursday night. Their other losses were to 11-2 Kent State (35-23) and 6-6 Pitt (27-6). Their biggest wins of the season came against Arkansas (35-26) and Cincinnati (10-3).
The Scarlet Knights are very similar to Virginia Tech in some ways, most notably the fact that their defense performed well over the season, while the offense lagged behind. Here’s a quick look at how Rutgers ranks offensively…
Pass efficiency: #65
However, their defensive rankings are the direct opposite…
Pass efficiency: #25
Tackles for loss: #19
Rutgers runs a 4-3 defense, and they are very small up front. Every defensive tackle in the two-deep weighs 275 or below, while a starting defensive end weighs just 230. However, this is a defense that has shown the ability to run and make plays in backfield, as their defensive numbers indicate.
If the stats for each team are an indication, we can expect a low scoring affair on December 28. We’ll have more on this bowl matchup later this week.