Russell Athletic Bowl Betting Picks: Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Virginia Tech Hokies

2012 Russell Athletic Bowl
Friday, December 28, 2012, 5:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Virginia Tech Hokies
Florida Citrus Bowl – Orlando, Florida
Opening Line: Virginia Tech -2
Current line: Virginia Tech -2
Opening Total: 41 1/2
Current Total: 41
Opening Money Line: Virginia Tech -140 / Rutgers +120
Current Money Line: Virginia Tech -130 / Rutgers +110

Rutgers is a 2.5 point underdog against Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando Friday. Virginia Tech has beaten Rutgers 11 straight times.

Going into Thanksgiving weekend, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights were 9-1 overall and undefeated in the Big East. The Scarlet Knights only had to win one of their last 2 games against Pittsburgh and Louisville and they would win the Big east title and clinch their first ever berth in a BCS bowl. It didn’t happen as Rutgers lost 27-6 at Pitt and 20-17 at home against Louisville. So now 9-3 Rutgers has to settle for a berth in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando instead of a trip to the Sugar Bowl against Florida. The Scarlet Knights will face 6-6 Virginia Tech in Orlando.

Rutgers is 5-2 all-time in bowl games. Rutgers is playing in their 7th straight bowl game. The Scarlet Knights have won 5 straight bowl games, tied with Mississippi St for the longest active streak. Rutgers beat Iowa St 27-13 to win the Pinstripe Bowl last year.

Virginia Tech is 9-16 all time in bowl games. The Hokies are playing in their 20th straight bowl game. Only Florida St (30) and Florida (21) have played in more consecutive bowl games. The Hokies lost to Michigan 23-20 in the Sugar Bowl last season.

Rutgers and Virginia Tech used to play each other every year when both were members of the Big East. Virginia Tech leads the series 11-3, and has won 11 straight games against Rutgers. They haven’t played since Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004. Rutgers will leave the Big East in 2014 for the Big Ten.

Rutgers is coached by Kyle Flood, in his first year. Rutgers finished 5-2 in the Big East, and were part of a 4 way tie for first with Louisville, Cincinnati and Syracuse. Louisville won the tiebreaker and the BCS bid by virtue of being the only Big East team in the final BCS standings. The other loss for Rutgers came at home to Kent St 35-23. The Scarlet Knights have home wins over Howard 26-0, Connecticut 19-3, Syracuse 23-15, and Army 28-7, along with road wins at Tulane 24-12, South Florida 23-13, Arkansas 35-26, Temple 35-10, and Cincinnati 10-3. Rutgers is 7-5 ATS and the total is 3-8.

Rutgers is averaging 341.4 yards per game on offense, including 215.2 passing yards and 125.9 rushing yards. The Knights are outscoring teams 22-14 this season. Rutgers is 84th or worse in all offensive categories out of 124 teams. The Scarlet Knights are +9 in turnovers with 20 turnovers. Rutgers averages 62 penalty yards per game and has allowed 8 sacks this season. The Knights are 62/171 on third and fourth down conversions and 22/31 scoring in the red zone with 16 touchdowns. On defense, Rutgers is allowing 321.2 yards per game, including 216.2 passing yards and 105 rushing yards. The Knights are in the top 15 nationally in total defense and against the run, and #4 in scoring defense. Rutgers has forced 29 turnovers and 22 sacks. Scarlet Knight opponents are 72/196 on third and fourth down conversions and 24/36 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns. Rutgers has 6 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season.

Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova has completed 204 of 348 passes (58.6%) for 2,282 yards with 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He has been sacked 8 times. Running back Jawan Jamison has 242 carries, 1,054 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 27 catches, 322 yards and  2 touchdowns. Jamison also has a touchdown pass this season. Savon Huggins has 101 carries, 362 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 21 yards.

Receiver Brandon Coleman has 39 catches, 663 yards and 10 touchdowns. Mark Harrison has 42 catches, 560 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tim Wright has 38 catches, 438 yards and 2 touchdowns. Quron Pratt and D.C. Jefferson will get a few catches too. Three Rutgers defensive linemen are out for the season. Kicker Kyle Federico is doubtful with a hip injury but he and Nick Borgese split the kicking duties.

Virginia Tech finished 4-4 in the ACC under coach Frank Beamer. The Hokies had to win their last two games to finish 6-6 and keep their bowl streak alive. Virginia Tech has road losses at Pittsburgh 35-17, Cincinnati 27-24 (in Landover, Maryland), North Carolina 48-34, Clemson 38-17, and Miami-(FL) 30-12 and 28-22 at home against Florida St. The Hokies have home wins over Georgia Tech 20-17 in overtime, Austin Peay 42-7, Bowling Green 37-0, Duke 41-20, and Virginia 17-14 to close out the regular season, along with a road win at Boston College 30-23 in overtime. The Hokies are 3-9 ATS and the total is 6-5 this season.

Virginia Tech is averaging 391.8 yards per game on offense including 234.1 passing yards and 157.8 rushing yards. The Hokies are outscoring teams 26-24 this season.  Virginia Tech is -4 in turnovers with 23 giveaways. The Hokies average 42 penalty yards per game and have allowed 21 sacks this season. Virginia Tech is 83/213 on third and fourth down conversions and 34/39 scoring in the red zone with 21 touchdowns. On defense, Virginia Tech is allowing 344.6 yards per game, including 204.9 passing and 139.7 rushing yards. The Hokies are in the top 40 in all defensive categories. Virginia Tech has forced 32 sacks and 19 turnovers. Hokie opponents are 61/197 on third and fourth down conversions and 32/40 scoring in the red zone with 21 touchdowns. Virginia Tech has 2 special teams touchdowns this season.

Quarterback Logan Thomas has completed 205 of 390 passes (52.6%) for 2,783 yards with 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Thomas is also the leading rusher for the Hokies with 167 carries, 528 yards and 9 touchdowns. Running back J.C. Coleman has 102 carries, 486 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 16 catches, 93 yards and a touchdown. Tony Gregory has 63 catches, 297 yards and a touchdown, along with 6 catches for 57 yards. Michael Holmes has 69 carries, 282 yards and 4 touchdowns.Martin Scales has 40 catches, 173 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Receiver Marcus Davis has 47 catches, 891 yards and 5 touchdowns along with 61 rushing yards. Corey Fuller has 41 catches, 769 yards and 5 touchdowns. Dyrell Roberts has 32 catches, 366 yards and a touchdown, along with 72 rushing yards. Demitri Knowles has 19 catches, 240 and a touchdown, along with a kick return for a touchdown. Randall Dunn has 3 touchdown catches. Kyshoen Jarrett has a punt return for a touchdown. Four defensive players are listed as questionable, doubtful or out including 3 defensive backs.

Rutgers is 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 bowl games, 4-0 after passing for 280 yards or more and allowing 280 passing yards, 6-1-2 in December, 6-1-1 in neutral site games, 5-1 after allowing 100 rushing yards or less, 5-2 on fieldturf, and 7-3 overall.

Virginia Tech is 4-1 ATS in December, 24-9-1 after scoring 20 points or less, 7-3 after passing for less than 100 yards, 7-19-1 overall, 7-20 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 3-14 after a straight up win, 1-7-1 in non-conference games, 1-10 after allowing less than 20 points, 0-3-1 in neutral site games, and 0-9 after allowing 275 yards or less. Virginia Tech is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 against Rutgers, and the Hokies were favored in each one of those games.

Virginia Tech barely qualified for a bowl and had to beat two bad teams in Boston College and Virginia to get here. Rutgers was one win away from taking the Big East. Yet, the Hokies are a 2.5 point favorite. Yes, if Jamison doesn’t play that hurts Rutgers’ chances, but this isn’t your typical Virginia Tech team. It was a rebuilding year for the Hokies. If Rutgers is motivated to play, they should win this game comfortably.

Our best college football picks are available now. Don’t miss out on any winners from now until the BCS Championship game next month.



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