In what was purely a test to see which defense would crack (also a test for many viewers' eyes), Virginia Tech was able to capitalize on Rutgers' mistakes Friday to win the Russell Athletic Bowl 13-10 in overtime. The game had a combined 392 yards of offense, speaking volumes about both team's defensive ability (and offensive ineptness).
The game came down to two kicks in overtime, and the Hokies were fortunate to make theirs while Rutgers missed. Virginia Tech ends the season 7-6 and on a three-game winning streak.
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Here's how the Hokies were able to complete their first bowl win since 2009.
In the lowest-scoring Russell Athletic Bowl in history, one might assume the Virginia Tech defense won this game to ensure coach
The unit allowed 196 total yards of offense, the lowest output for a Hokie opponent since Michigan in the Sugar Bowl. Holding Rutgers to just 67 yards on 39 carries (1.7 yards per carry) was the key to the game, which forced Rutgers quarterback
It's been said plenty of times down the stretch, but punter
Although Virginia Tech was equally as horrendous on offense, Rutgers still averaged less yards per play (2.5) than the Hokies (2.7). As mentioned, Nova was relied upon to beat the Hokie defense, and he failed miserably. Nova had his lowest completion percentage of the season (42.5%) as well as the lowest amount of yards (129). He also threw an interception for the seventh consecutive game.
As an offensive unit, Rutgers had 16 possessions. They were able to produce just four drives of over 20 yards, and had eight three-and-outs (including six drives of four plays or less in the fourth quarter). The group also went 3-of-20 on third down. Sound familiar?
While senior linebacker
Speaking of not taking advantage of opportunities, the two missed field goals by
An obvious number that sticks out here is the three (yes, three) total rushing yards for the Hokies on 32 carries. That was good for exactly 0.1 yards per carry. I'm not exactly sure how you win a collegiate bowl game when your average rush is as long as a miniature Snickers.
In a defensive battle such as this one, it would be expected that the time of possession battle was vital. However, Rutgers beat Virginia Tech in that category 32:34-27:26 (including 19:02-10:58 in the second half), which is further evidence of just how good the Hokies' defense played.
It could be placed under the numbers that don't make sense category, but the Hokies once again were undisciplined at numerous points in the game. They racked up a total of 95 yards on 14 penalties, and gave Rutgers four first downs via the penalty. Rutgers had just 35 yards of penalties, marking a 60-yard difference in field position. The 2013 Hokies must improve in this area.
With the seriously awful rushing performance, it was essentially a perfect representation of this year's struggles. The two running backs that received more than one carry (
Another area that really hindered the offensive attack was the inability of having a reliable tight end. Senior tight end
Remember that absurd streak of field-goals made against the Hokies? Well, the streak was still standing strong at 13 straight entering the game, and Borgese made it 14 in a row in the first quarter. But finally the Hokies luck turned around for the final two kicks of 2012. Borgese ended the streak with a 47-yard miss in the fourth quarter, and ended the season by missing a 42-harder in overtime. The streak had lasted for 31 quarters.
We won't know whether junior quarterback