2012 Russell Athletic Bowl Prediction Rutgers vs Virginia Tech 12/28

Last Updated: December 28th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Russell Athletic Bowl Game2012 Russell Athletic Bowl picks are going to be entertaining to make this year, as we have two teams that are going to be going at it against each other in what could be an unpredictable game in the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Join us for our Russell Athletic Bowl keys to the game and our Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech predictions.

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2012 Russell Athletic Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
2012 Russell Athletic Bowl Location: Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL
2012 Russell Athletic Bowl Date/Time: Friday, December 28th, 5:30 p.m. (ET)
2012 Russell Athletic Bowl On TV: ESPN, Watch ESPN

Key #1: Virginia Tech needs to establish a running game with someone other than Logan Thomas
It’s nice to think that QB Logan Thomas is a dual threat quarterback that has the ability to put up big gains with his legs, but you don’t establish a ground game with a quarterback. You do so by jamming the ball right up the middle with the big boys and a runner. Historically, whether it be RB Ryan Williams or RB David Wilson, the Hokies have always had a big, strong back that ended the year with at least 1,000 yards, if not more on the ground. This year though, there just hasn’t been a back step up to the plate and do much of anything. In fact, Head Coach Frank Beamer’s offense really hasn’t even tried all that hard to establish the run this year. RB JC Coleman, RB Michael Holmes, RB Tony Gregory, and RB Martin Scales only average carrying the ball 22.8 times per game between them, and that just isn’t good enough at this level when you’re playing in the ACC. Rutgers is a tough team to move out of the way up front, as its front seven is as good as any unit in the Big East. However, if the Hokies have any intentions of winning this game, they had better get something going on the ground.

Russell Athletic Bowl Odds at BetGuardian Sportsbook
Virginia Tech Hokies -2.5
Rutgers Scarlet Knights +2.5
Over/Under 41
Click Here to Bet Your Russell Athletic Bowl Picks!

Key #2: These two quarterbacks have to hang onto the football
Both the Scarlet Knights and the Hokies threw 15 picks as a team this year, and neither QB Logan Thomas nor QB Gary Nova were able to make the big plays when their teams really needed it. Granted, Thomas does have a pair of receivers in WR Marcus Davis and WR Corey Fuller that both averaged nearly 20 yards per catch this year, so the deep ball was in play. However, Thomas also got himself into a lot of trouble in clutch spots in games to cost his team, which is why the Hokies have already been beaten by a pair of Big East teams this year. Nova was only picked off twice in his first six games of the year, but he threw six INTs against the Kent State Golden Flashes and has been intercepted six games in four games since that point. His confidence has to be shot, especially knowing that two of the last five passes that he threw in the de facto Big East Championship Game against the Louisville Cardinals were picked off to take away any hopes that the team had of playing in the BCS for the very first time.


Key #3: The Hokies have to take advantage of the Rutgers special teams
It’s known as Beamer Ball in Blacksburg, and the time is here for Head Coach Frank Beamer’s specialty to shine through in the biggest game of the team’s season. It feels like it has been awhile since the team had a blocked punt or a blocked field goal for a touchdown in a crucial spot to win a game, but that might be what it takes in this one. P AJ Hughes averaged 40.3 yards per boot this year. The team had both a punt return and a kick return for a touchdown this year, and Dimitri Knowles was a fantastic kick returner, putting together 595 return yards this year on just 21 attempts. K Cody Journell has struggled at times, but he has made at least one field goal in every game this year against an FBS foe. Rutgers has had to rotate kickers this year, and P Justin Doerner only averaged 37.4 yards per punt, something that has been problematic for a defensive-minded football team all season long.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Friday, December 28th, 2012 @ 12:34 am (EST)
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