Scores
RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL

Final/OT

Rutgers 10

(9-4, 5-2 Big Ten)

Virginia Tech 13

(7-6, 4-4 ACC)

Coverage: ESPN

5:30 PM ET, December 28, 2012

1 2 3 4 OT T
RUTG 10 0 0 0 010
VT 0 0 0 10 313

Top Performers

Passing: L. Thomas (VT) - 193 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: S. Huggins (RUTG) - 18 CAR, 48 YDS

Receiving: C. Fuller (VT) - 2 REC, 46 YDS, 1 TD

Virginia Tech rallies, tops Rutgers in OT of Russell Athletic Bowl

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- After one of its most unfulfilling seasons in recent memory, Virginia Tech desperately wanted to avoid its first losing season since 1992.

Mission accomplished.

Cody Journell kicked a 22-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime to help the Hokies beat Rutgers 13-10 in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday night.

Virginia Tech won its final three games to finish 7-6.

"Not everything in life is real smooth," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. "These players worked hard and how they reacted to adversity and to disappointment and when all of them wanted to do better -- they kept together."

Rutgers (9-4) had a chance to tie it in overtime, but Nick Borgese missed a 42-yard field goal attempt to the right.

The loss ended a run of five straight bowl victories for the Scarlet Knights and kept them from recording their first double-digit win season since 2006.

The win also was the Hokies' 12th straight victory against their former Big East Conference rival.

Virginia Tech trailed 10-0 at the half, then rallied in the final 30 minutes thanks to some timely turnovers and offense. Quarterback Logan Thomas struggled in the first half and finished with a pair of interceptions, but also had 192 yards passing and the game's only passing touchdown.

"I can't commend the defense more," Thomas said. "The entire season that's kind of how it's been. I have to give a shout out to (linebacker) Bruce Taylor because he played his tail off the entire game. It felt like he was in the backfield making a tackle on every play."

Taylor finished the night with a team-high 11 tackles to lead a defense that held Rutgers to 67 yards in the second half.

Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum, selected the most valuable player of the game, picked off Gary Nova's pass early in the fourth quarter to set up the tying score.

He said even though the offense took its lumps early, he was never down on its effort.

"That's just the way the game panned out," Exum said. "We never lose hope with the guys on the other side of the ball. Our job, honestly, is just to go out there and get as many three-and-outs as possible and give the most opportunities as we can to put points on the board.

"We did a good job of that tonight."

Rutgers seemed to be in command until the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, when turnovers and a sudden surge from the Hokies' offense quickly turned the momentum.

Down 10-0, Virginia Tech took over after Rutgers missed a field goal and moved into Scarlet Knights' territory for the first time in the game on a 32-yard pass from Thomas to Dyrell Roberts.

Thomas then found Corey Fuller for a 25-yard strike on the next play before the drive stalled on the 8. It forced the Hokies to settle for Journell's 25-yard field goal.

Exum intercepted Nova's pass on the ensuing drive, giving the Hokies a first down on the Rutgers 21.

The Hokies found the end zone three plays later on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Thomas to Fuller with 10:56 left as steady rain began to fall.

"We finally caught them off balance," Thomas said. "We finally got them uncomfortable. ... I just had to put the ball out there for him."

Virginia Tech defensive end Tyrel Wilson then came up with the defense's second turnover of the night, recovering a fumble inside the Scarlet Knights 40 after Nova dropped a snap while lined up in the shotgun.

An intentional grounding penalty on Thomas forced a punt, though, with less than 7 minutes to play.

They got another chance a few series later, only to see Journell's 51-yard field goal come up short with 2:20 showing on the clock.

Rutgers punted, but got it back just a play later when Thomas' pass was intercepted by Brandon Jones.

"Two tremendous defensive performances, and one of the better defensive performances I've seen from Rutgers players this season," Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said. "It's unfortunate that we came out on the wrong side of the game, and squander that kind of performance as a result."

Christian Reeves

Douglas Jones/USA TODAY Sports

Hokies players honored the shooting victims of Virginia Tech and Newtown, Conn., with a decal on their helmets, then went out and stunned Rutgers with a second-half rally.

It was defense on both sides that controlled the action in the first half as Rutgers took a 10-0 halftime lead.

The Scarlet Knights were the most effective offensively, managing a modest seven first downs and a field goal. But the Scarlet Knights came up empty on their best drive of the half, failing to convert on a fourth-down pass play inside the Hokies 35.

Virginia Tech struggled throughout, though, tallying only 73 yards total in the first two quarters. Thomas was also sacked twice and intercepted late in the half, which severely hampered an offense that never made it into Rutgers' territory.

Penalties also bent in Rutgers' favor. Virginia Tech was penalized eight times for 60 yards. The Scarlet Knights weren't whistled for any penalties in the half.

A miscue by Virginia Tech on the opening drive of the game produced the game's first score.

Hokies center Caleb Farris sent his second snap of the night sailing past Thomas and into the end zone.

Thomas scrambled back to pick it up, and tried to run it out, but he was instantly swarmed and lost the ball as he was tackled. It was eventually recovered by Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene for the touchdown.

Beamer said the challenge was not to let any shortcomings from this season cloud the offseason.

"I couldn't be more proud of this team," he said. "We've won some more games in other years, but I think this group is special."

Game notes


The game was the lowest scoring the bowl's history. It surpassed Stanford's 24-3 win over Penn State in 1993. ...The game also set a bowl record with 20 punts, passing the previous record of 19 in the 1991 matchup between Alabama and Colorado.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
RUTG
VT
1st Downs1412
Total Yards196196
Passing129193
Rushing673
Penalties4-3514-95
3rd Down Conversions3-215-19
4th Down Conversions1-20-0
Turnovers23
Possession32:3427:26

Passing Leaders

RutgersC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Nova17/401293.201
Virginia TechC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Thomas15/391934.912

Rushing Leaders

RutgersCARYDSAVGTDLG
Huggins18482.7017
Shuler12525.0025
Virginia TechCARYDSAVGTDLG
Scales12141.203
Davis11111.0011

Receiving Leaders

RutgersRECYDSAVGTDLG
Coleman45513.8043
Harrison22311.5016
Virginia TechRECYDSAVGTDLG
Davis46215.5019
Fuller24623.0125

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERRUTGVT
TD14:43Khaseem Greene Recovered Fumble In End Zone. (Nick Borgese Kick) 70
FG02:38Nick Borgese 36 Yd 100
FOURTH QUARTERRUTGVT
FG12:14Cody Journell 25 Yd 103
TD10:56Corey Fuller 21 Yd Pass From Logan Thomas. (Cody Journell Kick) 1010
OVERTIMERUTGVT
FGCody Journell 22 Yd 1013

Research Notes

Virginia Tech's three rushing yards are the fewest for the Hokies in a win in 26 seasons under Frank Beamer. The previous low was 33 in a win against East Carolina in 2007.
Virginia Tech won despite running for three yards against Rutgers. The Hokies are the fifth FBS team to win a game this season with fewer than 10 yards on the ground - four of those teams are from the ACC!
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