Rutgers, Virginia Tech try to get offensive

December, 28, 2012
12/28/12
10:31
AM ET

Icon SMIKyle Flood leads Rutgers against Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Don’t expect a lot of offense in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday when Rutgers battles Virginia Tech (5:30 ET on ESPN).

Here are the most important things to know in advance of the game:

• Both teams have struggled on offense this season. Virginia Tech is ninth in the ACC in passing and total offense. Rutgers is seventh in the Big East in both rushing and passing offense.

Neither team is in the top 75 in the country in scoring this season.

• Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova has put up unimpressive numbers in each of his past five games. The sophomore has thrown at least one touchdown in every game this season, but he’s been finding the wrong color jersey a lot as well (see chart on right).

• The Virginia Tech offense hasn’t scored more than 30 points in five straight games. The strength of the Rutgers defense for most of the season has been keeping opponents out of the end zone. The Scarlet Knights have allowed just one team to score more than 30 points this season and rank fourth nationally in scoring defense.

• The Scarlet Knights enter on a five-game bowl winning streak. That’s tied with Mississippi State and Auburn for the longest active streak in FBS (entering bowl season).

• Virginia Tech has lost two straight and four of its past six bowl games, but is 2-0 against Big East teams in bowl games since joining the ACC in 2004. The Hokies did beat Louisville in the Gator Bowl in the 2005 season, and beat Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl in the 2008 season.

• At 6-6, the Hokies need a victory to keep an impressive streak going. A win here would make it 20 consecutive winning seasons in Blacksburg. The last time the Hokies failed to own a winning ledger was 1992.

• These old Big East foes are meeting for the first time since 2003. Virginia Tech has owned Rutgers in their head-to-head matchups, winning the last 11 meetings. That last time the Scarlet Knights beat the Hokies was in 1992.

• It’s quite a contrast in coaching experience here. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood is in his first bowl game, while Frank Beamer is appearing in his 20th (8-11 record). He will join a select group of coaches to appear in at least 20 bowl games.

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