Virginia Tech Hokies on the Clock for the ACC in the Russell Athletic Bowl

By M. Shannon Smallwood
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports — Jim O’Conner-USA TODAY Sports


If you loved the drama of the Belk Bowl and you stress about the lack of respect for ACC Football then let’s introduce you to a little something called the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Another ACC versus Big East match up between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

And a game the Atlantic Coast Conference has to win…

Rutgers enters the game riding high after a great 9-3 season and has a five-game bowl winning streak.

Virginia Tech enters after a disappointing 6-6 campaign, and has lost its last two bowl games and hold a  4-6 in bowl games over the last 10 years.


Nervous yet?

Things are simply not lining up the way the ACC wants it to at all. In fact, after the Duke Blue Devils loss on Thursday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, this game is the biggest Bowl Game maybe ever for the ACC.

“What we had this year was unacceptable in my eyes,” Hokie Senior LB Bruce Taylor said. “We know what we’ve got to do better, so this bowl game, I feel like this can be the first step for next year’s team. It’s a mind-set of like, ‘All right, we’re here, let’s go win it and build on this thing.’ ”

And the ACC definitely needs Beamerball back and running on all cylinders today and in 2013.

“We had some disappointments, some setbacks, some adversity, but the football team always stayed together. They never pointed fingers,” Virgina Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer said. “So if we could win this game, I think it would make a statement about being tough-minded, overcoming adversity and fighting through things.”

And a statement that the demises of the ACC is far from any truth…

But it is not going to be an easy task as the Scarlet Knights have a stellar defense that has allowed the fifth fewest points in all of college football.

That could actually be a good thing as Hokie QB Logan Thomas….

Yes, a good thing as the junior needs to reinvent himself quickly and put 2012 behind him. He is actually a perfect match-up against Rutgers and one that Scarlet Knight Head Coach Kyle Flood is leary of on Friday.

“I think the most concerning thing about (Logan) Thomas is that he’s going to play in the game. Six-foot-6, 250-pound TE D.C. Jefferson is the only player who we have that matches him physically. So the fact that that gentleman lines up and touches the ball on every play, on every offensive snap they have, he is a legitimate weapon in every phase of the game. When you have to go tackle an athlete like Thomas at his size, that is not an easy thing to do, and we need to make sure early in the game we get multiple players to those tackles and make sure we can get him on the ground and hopefully minimize the effect he has on the game.”

So with that look for a hard-hitting, physical game that will feature a few big plays that will lead the Hokies and the ACC to a much needed bowl win, 27-23.

M Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years of experience in broadcasting and journalism in professional baseball and college athletics and is the ACC Football Guru, SEC Voice of Reason and College Football Comedian for Rant Sports. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.

Follow him @woodysmalls.

You May Also Like