After so many seasons of double digit wins, ACC titles and BCS Bowls, Virginia Tech had to settle for the Citrus Bowl, with a plus .500 season on the line. It wasn’t pretty, especially for those who like seeing offense at least during some stages of a game, but that is what Frank Beamer teams were about. Special teams and defense that carry an mediocre (at best) offense to victory.
So in a defensive battle with Rutgers that saw both teams compile a total of 23 points (with overtime) and 392 yards, it was the boot of kicker Cody Journell, making a 22 yard field goal in over time, and the off-target boot of Rutgers kicker, missing a 42 yard field goal, that decided the outcome of this game, which had only one offensive touchdown. Virginia Tech’s best player in the game? Punter A.J. Hughes. He averaged 41.7 yards, knocked five inside the 20 and had three that went 50 or more yards. It was a game that set a new high for punts in the Citrus Bowl and a new low for points.
The saddest number was probably what the Hokies got on the ground. They had a total of only 3 yards (averaged 145.8 this season) on the ground with 32 carries. One of their three turnovers enabled Rutgers their only touchdown of the game, a fumble that was recovered by Khaseem Greene in the end zone during the first quarter, on the opening play of the game.
Their three rushing yards are the fewest for the Hokies in a win in 26 seasons under Frank Beamer. The previous low was 33 in a win against East Carolina in 2007. On a more interesting side note, the Hokies are the fourth team from the ACC (out of five in Division I this season) to win while gaining less than 10 yards on the ground in 2012. Both Florida State and Maryland won their games with a negative output from their running game. Boston College and Louisiana-Monroe are the other teams that won games with less than 10 yards on the ground.
Not everything in life is real smooth. These players worked hard and how they reacted to adversity and to disappointment and when all of them wanted to do better. They kept together.
All this season has been about Tech working hard as always, but the talent level was much lower than in previous year, causing everything to fall apart when compared to previous seasons. Logan Thomas had a terrible start to this game, but eventually finished with 193 yards (15-39) and threw the game’s only passing touchdown. He also threw two interceptions. Gary Nova, on the other end, was just as bad, probably worse. He finished with only 129 yards (17-40) without a touchdown, getting intercepted once. Rutgers gained 67 yards on the ground, averaging only 1.7 yards per carry.
Beamer came out of this season smiling, despite everything – I couldn’t be more proud of this team. We’ve won some more games in other years, but I think this group is special.
2012 Was Beamer’s worst season since 1992 (2-8-1), and stopped a streak of 8 consecutive seasons with double digit wins. It was Tech’s first Bowl game win since the Chick-Fil-A bowl after the 2009 season.