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Belk Bowl 2019: Va Tech vs. Kentucky TV Schedule, Time and Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 30, 2019

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2019, file photo, Kentucky quarterback Lynn Bowden Jr. (1) runs for a touchdown during the first half of the NCAA college football game against Louisville, in Lexington, Ky. Bowden was selected to The Associated Press All-America team, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston, File)
Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

The Kentucky Wildcats paved one of the more unique paths to clinch a FBS bowl berth. 

Mark Stoops' side won three in a row with Lynn Bowden Jr. filling in at quarterback to reach the Belk Bowl against the Virginia Tech Hokies. 

Virginia Tech won three of its last four contests, but it comes into the New Year's Eve game off a rivalry loss to the Virginia Cavaliers. 

A win at Bank of America Stadium would hand the Hokies their third nine-win season under Justin Fuente, while the Wildcats are looking to hit eight victories for the second straight campaign. 

                 

Belk Bowl Information

Date: Tuesday, December 31

Start Time: Noon ET 

TV: ESPN 

Odds (via Caesars): Virginia Tech (-2.5); Over/Under: 46.5

          

Preview

Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

Since Bowden took over at quarterback, he has been Kentucky's leading rusher and passer in the last seven games. 

In six of those contests, the junior has racked up over 100 rushing yards, and he earned 284 yards and four touchdowns in his last appearance

Due to Bowden's production, the Wildcats rank fourth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing offense. Only the three service academies with option-based offenses average more rushing yards per game. 

Virginia Tech concedes 123.3 ground yards per contest, but it had trouble dealing with a dual-threat quarterback in its last matchup.

Virginia's Bryce Perkins dashed for 164 yards and a pair of scores in the Hokies' first defeat in rivalry since 2003. That showing was a reversal in form from the previous two weeks, when Virginia Tech shut out the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Pittsburgh Panthers. 

The loss to Virginia could be more indicative of how the Hokies' defense performs, as they are facing a Kentucky offense that totaled 133 points during its three-game winning streak. 

But if the SEC East side fails to establish a rushing attack, it might be a long afternoon for the team since Bowden is its leading receiver and the second-best player in that category has 254 yards. 

The ACC Coastal squad carries a more balanced offense, but Hendon Hooker is not expected to light up Kentucky's secondary. The sophomore failed to hit 200 passing yards in each of his last five games and only has five scoring passes in that span. 

Damon Hazelton's is Hooker's top target. He leads the team in receiving touchdowns with seven and is coming off a 118-yard outing. 

Deshawn McClease will earn the bulk of the carries, but he has only recorded 50 yards in three of the last six contests. 

If the Hokies challenge Kentucky in both aspects of the offense, they may cover the small spread in an easy manner. 

However, if the Wildcats thrive on the ground once again, they could win as the underdog and push the total over 46.5.

        

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com