In a game that featured abysmal offenses and tough defenses, Virginia Tech was able to edge Rutgers in the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday night, 13-10.
Despite not doing much on offense early on, Rutgers had a 10-0 advantage through one quarter of play.
The Scarlet Knights got on the board from the jump with a defensive touchdown.
On Virginia Tech's second play of the game, the ball was snapped without quarterback Logan Thomas looking. Thomas picked up the ball in the end zone, but fumbled, and Khaseem Greene recovered the ball for a Rutgers touchdown.
Later in the quarter, Rutgers senior Mason Robinson returned a Virginia Tech punt 15 yards. Hokies freshman receiver Kevin Asante was flagged for a 15-yard personal-foul penalty on the play, giving the Scarlet Knights the ball on Virginia Tech's 46-yard line.
Five plays later, sophomore kicker Nick Borgese knocked home a 36-yard field goal with 2:38 remaining in the first frame.
After a scoreless second quarter, Rutgers took a 10-0 lead into halftime.
It was more of the same for Virginia Tech's offense in the third quarter, as Thomas continued to struggle and the running game was virtually nonexistent. The Hokies' offensive line certainly didn't do them any favors. They managed two drives in the quarter, going three-and-out on both possessions.
Through three quarters, Virginia Tech had more penalty yards (85) than total yards (79).
But the Hokies found some offense in the fourth quarter, going 62 yards on five plays before Cody Journell banged home a 25-yard field goal to make it a one-possession game. The drive was highlighted by Thomas coming out of the shadows to connect with Dyrell Roberts and Corey Fuller for a combined 57 yards on back-to-back plays.
On the next drive, Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova was intercepted by junior cornerback Antone Exum, who ran it back to the Scarlet Knights' 21-yard line. The Hokies were all of a sudden in business.
Three plays later, Thomas hooked up with Fuller again, this time for a 21-yard touchdown. The Hokies had tied the game at 10 points apiece, scoring twice in 1:18.
Virginia Tech had an opportunity to win the game inside three minutes remaining, but Journell's 51-yard field-goal attempt fell short.
Consequently, the game went into overtime because Rutgers couldn't score on the ensuing short possession (not surprisingly).
To start overtime, Virginia Tech drove 20 yards in five plays, but the drive stopped short at the Rutgers 5-yard line. That led to a 22-yard field goal from Journell. The Hokies took the lead, 13-10.
Rutgers had a chance to tie the game at the end, but Borgese's 42-yard field-goal attempt fell short and Virginia Tech captured the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl victory.
In the first quarter, Bleacher Report's own Adam Kramer wasn't exactly impressed with Logan Thomas:
I assume Logan Thomas would get back "LOL" in comic sans as an NFL evaluation at the moment.— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) December 28, 2012
After Asante's personal foul gave Rutgers good field position late in the first quarter, Hokies coach Frank Beamer was not happy.
Aaron McFarling of The Roanoke Times tweeted:
Beamer just shoved Kevin Asante after Asante committed a personal foul. #Hokie coming unglued here.— Aaron McFarling (@aaronmcfarling) December 28, 2012
Matt Zemek of College Football News echoed the sentiments of many across the land after a dismal first half of football:
The halftime score from Orlando: Rutgers "normal 2012 defense," Virginia Tech "dear God in heaven, we haven't changed." Football fans lose.— Matt Zemek (@MattZemek_CFN) December 29, 2012
After Nova was intercepted in the fourth quarter, setting up Virginia Tech's ensuing touchdown, Steve Layman of News Channel 5 in Nashville tweeted:
Gary Nova had been begging to be intercepted all night long.Antone Exum finally obliged.— Steve Layman (@SteveLayman) December 29, 2012
Clay Travis of OutkickTheCoverage.com couldn't have been happy when the game went into overtime, given he tweeted this in the fourth quarter:
Virginia Tech-Rutgers is one of the worst football games I've ever seen. End. Please.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravisBGID) December 29, 2012