Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Tip-off: Friday, December 28, 2012 – 5:30 PM ET
Florida Citrus Bowl, ORLANDO, FL
According to YouWager experts there’s no other program that has a longer active bowl winning streak than the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The school can certainly extend this run by recording the third 10-win season in their history.
Those goals are truly nothing when thinking about what Rutgers nearly had at stake.
Another amazing chance to reach a BCS game went by the wayside, so the Scarlet Knights relegated to playing in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando tonight against the Virginia Tech Hokies, a team that’s more than pleased to be in the postseason.
The Scarlet Knights (9-3) shared the Big East crown but the school never earned the league’s automatic BCS bid since they blew a chance to win the outright title in the regular-season finale. Even when leading 14-3 late in the third quarter, the Rutgers would lose 20-17 to the Louisville Cardinals on Nov. 29.
That gave the Big East’s BCS spot to Louisville, who will play fourth-ranked Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. A big-time bowl against an important power would have brought more money, recognition and possible recruiting help to the Scarlet Knights, in addition to the program’s first crack at a Top 25 opponent in postseason play.
Rutgers is in their seventh bowl game in eight years and have not lost one since 2005, a year before their breakout 11-2 season under former coach Greg Schiano. That’s the last time they reached double digits in victories — the only other one came back in 1976.
Virginia Tech is the sixth program in history to reach a bowl in 20 consecutive seasons, currently the country’s third-longest run behind Florida State Seminoles (30) and Florida (21).
The Hokies, ranked as high as 13th in mid-September, will finish with their worst record since going 2-8-1 in 1992.
According to the college football ranking Virginia Tech closed with back-to-back victories, the Scarlet Knights lost two straight as the ground game stumbled — 104 yards on 41 carries. All-Big East second-teamer Jawan Jamison ran for 64 yards in those games after gaining 990 through the first 10.
Sophomore Gary Nova completed less than 50 percent of his passes in each of those two losses — that hadn’t happened in a college football game all season. His 2,566 yards passing were the most by a Scarlet Knights quarterback since 2008, but 13 of his 15 interceptions came during the team’s 2/3 finish.