It has been an up-and-down season for the Virginia Tech Hokies in 2014. After beating Ohio State on the road in week two, the Hokies proceeded to lose five of their next seven before winning two of three to barely become bowl eligible to close out the year. The Cincinnati Bearcats have quietly become one of the most consistent programs in the country, winning nine-plus games yet again.
Virginia Tech has had one of the worst offenses in the nation this year, ranking 70th in pass yards, 96th in rush yards and 98th in points per game. Junior quarterback Michael Brewer has been OK in his first season as the team’s starting quarterback, passing for 2,598 yards, 17 touchdowns and an elevated 14 interceptions. Isaiah Ford has been his favorite receiver, connecting with him 53 times for 665 yards and six touchdowns while Bucky Hodges leads the team in touchdown receptions, seven, to go along with 517 yards on 42 catches. Freshman running back Marshawn Williams led the team in rushing, but tore his ACL three weeks before the season was over, handing the reigns to J.C. Coleman who had 311 yards in those final three games.
No one should be surprised that Cincinnati’s aerial attack is one of the best in the country after the Bearcats landed Gunner Kiel — a former prized QB recruit — from a transfer heading into this season. Kiel has been great in his first season as a starting quarterback at the collegiate level, passing for 3,010 yards, 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 60 percent of his throws. Shaq Washington has been Kiel’s favorite target this season, grabbing 61 passes for 661 yards and four touchdowns as Mekale McKay leads the team with 690 receiving yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 42 receptions. Freshman Mike Boone has been stellar in the run game after sitting the first four games, totaling 601 yards and nine scores on 6.6 yards per touch.
Defensively, Virginia Tech can be thankful for success leading to just enough wins to become bowl-bound. The Hokies have been a defensive-oriented squad, ranking 17th in points as well as yards allowed per game. Cincinnati has been quite the opposite, owning the 102nd-ranked total defense as well as the 66th-ranked scoring defense in the country.
When: 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 27
Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.
PREDICTION: Cincinnati 28, Virginia Tech 24
Want to see Cincinnati take on Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl? Check out ScoreBig for tickets.
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.