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.
The most important thing the Michigan Wolverines and Denard Robinson will have to do is take care of the football in order to beat Virginia Tech.
Early on in the season, it appeared all of Robinson's critics would be proven right when he struggled to deliver accurate passes and threw 10 interceptions in his first six games of the season while adapting to Al Borges' pro-style offense.
Robinson's final two games of the season, though, were arguably his best performances as a Wolverine, as he threw for 347 yards, rushed for another 253 yards and accounted for 11 total touchdowns while only turning the ball over twice (one interception, one lost fumble).
The Hokies defense has 15 interceptions this season and have an aggressive secondary that will give Robinson one of his toughest tests of the season.
If Robinson can take care of the football and complete a high percentage of his passes, the Wolverines will be able to establish an offensive balance and give Virginia Tech's defense a lot of problems.
Redshirt sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint has rushed for over 100 yards in four of his last five games. The only game Toussaint did not eclipse the century mark on the ground in during that span resulted in a 24-16 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Michigan needs Toussaint to get going on the ground in order to help establish an offensive balance and take pressure off of Denard Robinson.
If Toussaint struggles to find running lanes against Virginia Tech's rush defense, which is ranked No. 15 among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams and only yields 107.77 yards per game on the ground, the Wolverines will be forced to go to the air frequently against a ball-hawking secondary.
The Michigan defense will have to slow down either Logan Thomas or David Wilson in order to earn a Bowl Championship Series victory.
In Virgina Tech's only two losses this season, there were two things they had in common. The first is that they were both against the Clemson Tigers, and the second is that either Logan Thomas or David Wilson were non-factors.
In the Hokies' regular season loss to Clemson, Davis ran all over the field for 126 yards, but Thomas struggled with just 127 passing yards and an interception. Neither of them found the endzone in the 23-3 blowout loss.
The Atlantic Coastal Conference Championship Game was no different for the Hokies, as Wilson was limited to 32 yards on 11 carries and Thomas threw two interceptions.
Michigan struggled in their regular season finale against Braxton Miller, who shredded the Wolverine defense for 335 yards and three total touchdowns, but they were able to contain other dangerous running backs and dual-threat quarterbacks such as Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead from Nebraska, as well as Ronnie Hillman of San Diego State.
The Wolverines will have to slow down Wilson and make Thomas win the game with his arm in order to get the victory Tuesday night.
Sophomore punter Will Hagerup was suspended for the first four games of the season for Michigan, and upon his return to action, did not perform nearly as well as he did in 2010.
Hagerup only averaged 36.8 yards per punt this season as opposed to the 43.6 yard net punting average he had a year ago. However, he is coming off of his best game of the season in which he had boots of 48 and 47 yards against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Field position will be at a premium tonight for both of these squads, and the more times Hagerup can pin Virginia Tech's offense deep in their own territory, the better off the Wolverines will be.
Late field goals have also caused a lot of problems for bowl teams this postseason, and sophomore kicker Brendan Gibbons has had his own fair share of struggles over the past two seasons.
Gibbons made just one of his five field goal attempts last season, but has put 10 of his 14 attempts through the uprights in 2011. If the game comes down to a late field goal, Michigan fans will not exactly be at ease; however, it appears Gibbons may have put his past kicking woes behind him.