football

Final Grades: Russell Ath Bowl

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Miraculously, Virginia Tech kept its winning season streak alive and extended it to 20 with a 13-10 win over Rutgers Dec. 28 in the Russell Athletic Bowl. That was in little thanks to the Hokies' offense, who was inept, but the defense for the most part was solid. Having seen replays and thought it over, here's publisher Jason Stamm's final exam of the Hokies' win:
For a guy who could have been playing his final game for Virginia Tech, junior
Another area that fell extremely short. A total of three yards rushing isn't going to make anyone happy, despite the win. Much of that was a result of the opening-drive fumble, but still, Virginia Tech got no ground production at all. Senior
As bad as the offense looked overall, this group had a few moments. The 22-yard touchdown catch by senior
The struggles on offense had just as much to do with the offensive line as anywhere else. The running backs have to know when and where to hit holes, but it's tough when there really aren't any. Thomas being sacked four times doesn't help either and the poor snap by sophomore center
One of the best defensive performances for Virginia Tech this season started up front. The Hokies harassed and hurried Rutgers quarterback
Despite not starting due to tardiness to a team meal senior
For all the struggles the Hokies' secondary has had this season, everything finally came together for this game. The defensive backs were like glue on the Scarlet Knights' receivers most of the game, only allowing one big play, which came in the second quarter on a 43-yard pass. Virginia Tech got the play of the game from junior
Virginia Tech again squeaked out a close game thanks to a late field goal, for the third time this season. Junior
The offense, in particular the running game and offensive line's inability to get anything going doesn't look good. The decision for Journell to try a 51-yard field goal that was a bit short doesn't look good either, but the coaching by the defensive staff brings this grade up a bit. The calls seemed to be the right ones made on defense.
The listed attendance was 48,127, but in the Florida Citrus Bowl, which is comparable in capacity to Lane Stadium had way less actually at the game. Both lower bowls, on the sidelines, were full, but there were plenty of seats there. Still, there were a number of Hokies fans in attendance, who roared to life late when Virginia Tech scored and celebrated with the team after the last-second win.
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