2012 Sugar Bowl Preview: 4 Keys to a Michigan Wolverines Victory

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2012 Sugar Bowl Preview: 4 Keys to a Michigan Wolverines Victory
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Denard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines are seeking their first bowl victory since the 2008 Capital One Bowl.

Tuesday night's Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will be the first ever meeting between the No. 13 Michigan Wolverines (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten) and No. 11 Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2, 7-1 ACC).  

The Wolverines are making their first Bowl Championship Series game since the 2007 Rose Bowl and their fifth overall appearance in a BCS bowl. Michigan is 1-3 in their previous four BCS appearances and notched their lone victory in a 35-34 overtime thriller against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2000 FedEx Orange Bowl. 

Hardly any of the college football experts thought the Wolverines would win 10 games and be playing in a BCS game prior to the start of the 2011 season. 

First-year head coach Brady Hoke turned a defense that was one of the worst in the entire Football Bowl Subdivision in 2010 back into one of the nation's best in 2011. Michigan ranked No. 7 among all FBS teams in scoring defense (17.17 points per game) and No. 17 in total defense (317.58 total yards per game). 

Meanwhile, the Hokies are making their second BCS bowl appearance in as many seasons, but are hoping to come away with a victory this time after losing to the Stanford Cardinal in last year's Orange Bowl. 

Frank Beamer is entering his 25th season as Virginia Tech's head coach and boasts a 209-97-2 record since taking over in Blacksburg, Va.  

Virginia Tech brings one of the nation's best running backs, David Wilson, who has rushed for 1,627 yards and nine touchdowns this season. The Hokies also have a talented sophomore quarterback in Logan Thomas, who has thrown for close to 3,000 yards and 19 touchdowns to go along with just nine interceptions. 

This means the Wolverines will have to bring plenty of their own offense, which is led by dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson and ranks No. 12 in the FBS in rushing yards per game (235.67). 

Although Robinson has been the focal point of the Wolverines for the past two seasons, he is not the only one who will need to perform at a high level in order secure Michigan's first postseason victory since the 2008 Capital One Bowl.

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