Russell Athletic Bowl 2012: Virginia Tech Will Outscore Rutgers' Dismal Offense

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Russell Athletic Bowl 2012: Virginia Tech Will Outscore Rutgers' Dismal Offense
Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers has scored as many points in its last three contests combined as some teams average.

That's how bad it's gotten for the Scarlet Knights on the offensive side of the ball lately.

That's why Frank Beamer's Virginia Tech squad will prevail in the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday.

While Virginia Tech has averaged 26.1 points this season (80th in the nation), the Scarlet Knights have averaged 22.4 points (96th). That includes scoring a combined 33 points against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Louisville in their last three games.

In Rutgers' last two losses against Pittsburgh and Louisville, the running game has collapsed. On top of that, sophomore quarterback Gary Nova has tossed 13 of his 15 interceptions in the last six contests.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

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To give you an idea of how much the Rutgers offense has struggled, here are a couple of alarming stats for you: The Scarlet Knights have had just 31 red-zone opportunities this season (tied for 115th in the country, via CFBStats.com), and they've only scored on 22 of those opportunities.

That's including touchdowns and field goals.

Virginia Tech has been generally worse against the run than the pass this season, but given the way Rutgers has been running the ball, Nova may be asked to win this ballgame for the Scarlet Knights.

That gives Virginia Tech an advantage. The Hokies have allowed 6.5 yards per pass attempt this season (tied for 29th in the country, via CFBStats.com), and it's a big reason why they won their last two games against Boston College and Virginia.

If Rutgers still had the Gary Nova who tossed 11 touchdowns to two interceptions in his first six games, I would give the Scarlet Knights a chance in this one. But the Gary Nova in the second half of the season has been a completely different player. 

In the end, Virginia Tech will edge Rutgers in a close, low-scoring game.

 

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