Virginia Tech will face off against Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl, held in Orlando on Dec. 28.
The official announcement came Sunday night around 8:30, but reports of the match-up had been circulating throughout the day.
"Things haven't gone as well as they normally do around here, but we appreciate the confidence that the Russell Athletic Bowl had in us," said head coach Frank Beamer. "To be the third team selected out of the ACC, we’re thankful for that.
"We’re going to do our best to make a great preparation. I’m proud of the way our football team has come back and won the last two ball games. To come back and finish it off with a bowl win, I’d be real, real proud."
The Hokies (6-6) and Scarlet Knights (9-3) haven't met on the field since 2003 — Tech's last season in the Big East. The Hokies hold an 11-3 advantage in the series, including an 11-1 mark under Beamer.
Quarterback Logan Thomas believes the team will be able to carry the momentum they earned during the last two weeks of the season into the bowl game.
"We came out and won our last two games and it would just be an exclamation point if we could win a third in a row, especially in a bowl game against a 9-3 Rutgers team who’s done a lot of good things this year," he said. "They had one of the best defenses in the country.
"If we can go out on offense and have a successful day, then it’ll make up for a lot of disappointment that we had this year."
Tech hasn't lost to Rutgers since 1992 — the year before its current run of 20 consecutive bowl games began. However, the Scarlet Knights have improved drastically since the Hokies bolted for the ACC in 2004.
"I think it's a program that certainly has grown over the years and gotten better and better," Beamer said. "That's a tribute to them."
While the Hokies haven't been watching Rutgers play much this season, they do seem to have a lot of respect for the program.
"We don’t’ know that much about them, we’ve just kind of been over a couple of their players’ stats," said mike linebacker Jack Tyler. "In college football these days, every team’s going to be good. Obviously, they were co-Big East champions, so it’s going to be a good test."
After its worst regular season in the past two decades, Beamer is defiant that his team still has things they can accomplish.
"This is a team that's eager to improve our program here," he said.
In addition to an extra game, the team also gets 14 extra practices between now and Dec. 28, something many believe to be invaluable.
"This is what we came to Tech to do. You want to play in big bowl games, and practices are always exciting during the bowl season," Tyler said. "Everybody’s ready to go and you want to strap the pads back on and get back into it."
After a season of disappointment for this program, the team is just excited to have a chance to play in the postseason.
"For me, I guess you could say the pressure’s been lifted, but it’s more of an excitement now," Thomas said. "We get another chance to come out on the field with the 80 guys that we’re going to have and have a great game and have a fun time against a team who’s going to be a more-than-worthy opponent."