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December 2, 2012

Hokies To Play Rutgers In Russell Ath. Bowl

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Virginia Tech has played in bowl games in New Orleans, Miami, Atlanta and San Francisco to name a few, but never Orlando, Fla.

The Hokies will be spending time in central Florida after accepting an invitation from the Russell Athletic Bowl. Virginia Tech will play Rutgers at 5:30 p.m. ET Dec. 28 at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. It will be the Hokies' 20th straight season in which they have advanced to play in a bowl game.

"We're just delighted to have the opportunity to play in the Russell Athletic Bowl," coach Frank Beamer said after the announcement. "Things haven't gone as well as they normally do around here, but we appreciate the confidence that the Russell Athletic Bowl had in us and we'll do our best to put on a great performance and know we've got a quality opponent. So, it's full-speed again."

The Scarlet Knights, at 9-3, are coming off a 20-17 loss Thursday to Louisville in which the winner earned the Big East Conference's BCS bowl bid. The Cardinals will be playing in the Sugar Bowl.

Beamer said he's not overly familiar with Rutgers this season, other than casually watching the Scarlet Knights' games.

"I've seen them on TV a couple of times this year and I'm impressed by what they've been able to do," he said. "The program has certainly grown over the years and they've done a nice job up there. Now they're headed to the Big Ten, so they're a program on the move, that's for sure."

Virginia Tech is pretty familiar with Rutgers from the time both were members of the Big East. The Hokies hold a 11-3 advantage in the teams' series and won 48-22 at Rutgers in the last matchup between the two.

"They're always very competitive and they were a big part of the Big East," Beamer said. "Of course, that was such a great moment for us when we were allowed to get into the Big East. I always had great respect for their school and great respect for their program. I think it's a program that certainly has grown over the years and gotten better and better and that's a tribute to them."

This season has been an uncharacteristically poor season for Virginia Tech, which has already suffered its most losses since going 2-8-1 in 1992. That was also the last time the Hokies didn't play in a bowl game.

"It does say something about the consistency of our program and I think there's two other teams besides ourselves that's been to 20 straight bowl games," Beamer said. "There's not many up there. And we're eager. I think this team is eager to continue to improve our program here. We were able to win our last two ball games to get bowl eligible. I think we've got a football team that very much wants to do well in this bowl game."

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