CFN Russell Analysis - VT 13, Rutgers 10 OT
Posted Dec 28, 2012

CFN's thoughts and analysis on the Hokies' overtime win over the Scarlet Knights.

- Russell Athletic Virginia Tech 13, Rutgers 10 OT

Cody Journell nailed a 22-yard field goal for Virginia Tech in overtime, but Rutgers couldn't answer as Nick Borgese pushed his 42-yard chance wide to the right. In a defensive slugfest, it was a sack from Derrick Hopkins that pushed the Scarlet Knights back a bit for Borgese's try, but neither offense did much of anything with Rutgers finishing with 197 total yards and Virginia Tech 196. All the Scarlet Knight points came in the first quarter with LB Khaseem Greene recovering a Logan Thomas fumble in the end zone and Borgese hitting a 36-yarder, while all the Hokie points in regulation came in the fourth with Journell connecting on a 25-yard strike and Corey Fuller catching a 21-yard touchdown pass.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies were penalized 14 times for 100 yards, turned the ball over three times, and finished with just four net yards rushing. … QB Logan Thomas completed 15-of-39 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown with two picks. … WR Marcus Davis caught four passes for 61 yards. … P A.J. Hughes averaged 41.7 yards per try on 11 kicks, putting five inside the 20. … LB Bruce Taylor made 11 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss with a broken up pass and a quarterback hurry. … FS Detrick Bonner made two tackles with a sack and three broken up passes.

Rutgers: The offense converted 3-of-21 third down chances. … The running game netted 67 yards on 39 carries. … QB Gary Nova completed 17-of-40 passes for 130 yards with a pick. … RB Savon Huggins ran 18 times for 45 yards. … LB Khaseem Greene made 11 tackles with a fumble recovered for a touchdown and came up with two quarterback hurries, 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack. … DT Jamal Merrell made three tackles with two sacks. … S Brandon Jones made a tackle with two picks.

Richard Cirminiello

If ever a bowl game should have ended in a tie, the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl was it.

Is there any good reason why Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring continues to be invited back to Blacksburg each year? Not all his fault, obviously, but the Hokies need to make some serious changes on the staff this offseason, beginning on the offensive side of the ball.

If I'm Logan Thomas, I'm tuning out all of the noise over the next two weeks and listening to NFL scouts … and me. You're not even close to being a pro-caliber quarterback. Remain a Hokie for another year, hope that Frank Beamer brings in fresh blood on the staff and work on becoming a much better player without the pressure of a fat contract hanging above your head.

It could be worse for Tech. It could have Gary Nova behind center. The Rutgers sophomore regressed all season long, culminating in another awful performance in Orlando. His decision-making is still at a high school level, concerning for a kid who has played as much as he has the past two seasons.

Boy, do the Scarlet Knights lay the lumber on defense or what? Led by LB Khaseem Greene, who is going to make a terrific pro, Rutgers just explodes on opponents, rarely allowing yards after contact.

For Rutgers, it was the Louisville game all over again. Fast start followed by three quarters of anemic offense and a blown double-digit lead. Just think of how close we were to having the Scarlet Knights in the Sugar Bowl versus Florida or the Orange Bowl against Florida State. Close call for the fans.

Obviously, Beamer can coach, and I don't believe the game has passed him by. That said, he and his staff did an awful job this season, with the overtime win being Exhibit G. He has to be careful to not allow 2012 to become a trend in Blacksburg. Just ask Bobby Bowden or Mack Brown what happens to legendary coaches when they begin to hit a rough patch in their careers. It's not always easy to turn things around once the sun begins to set.

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek

1) The 2008 Sun Bowl – yeah, the one in which Oregon State beat Pittsburgh, 3-0 – was better than the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl. The 2008 Sun Bowl was one long sleeping pill. The 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl fed the sport of football into a wood chipper.

2) The 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl was worse than this game, however. We have limits. And standards.

3) It's not good enough for Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer to change his offensive staff. Change for the sake of change is one thing; the new offensive coaches that arrive in Blacksburg for 2013 need to be on the same page as defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who should have a say in how Tech's offense complements his defense. Beamer needs to find competent assistants who can unlock Logan Thomas's talents and give him proper instruction. The fact that Thomas made absolutely no improvements over the course of the past month is a searing indictment of Virginia Tech's offensive coaches. Beamer must insist on excellence in 2013, and if he doesn't get it, he has to be proactive in finding the right teachers and playcallers. Foster, who is not the Virginia Tech head coach only because Beamer remains in power, deserves a good offense. Yet, his boss has not yet shown that he's serious about making the right adjustments to the Hokies' offense.

4) Rutgers needs a quarterback. Surely, someone in New Jersey will want to become a Big Ten star, right? Rutgers's defense did so much good work this season, only for its offense to fail in a rather spectacular manner. If the Scarlet Knights can get that one position right – it's only the most important position in college football, but it remains one position, not three or six – they can become a presence on the college football scene.