A disappointing 2012 season is in the books, but it ended on high note Friday night in Orlando in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
The Hokies came back from a 10-0 first quarter deficit to defeat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 13-10 in overtime to and secure their 20th-straight winning season.
Cody Journell’s 22-yard field goal on the opening possession overtime gave the Hokies their first lead of the game, and was followed by a missed Rutgers field goal on their only possession of the period.
“Nothing comes easy for us, its work,” said Frank Beamer. “We have a bunch of guys that hang on, and it’s not always pretty but we kind of hang on and keep working on it.”
Cornerback Antone Exum was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for his performance. His big play came on an interception of Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova, which set up Tech’s lone touchdown.
“Me and Kyle (Fuller) knew we were going to be targeted out there,” Exum said. “The more we could do on an island the more we could do with blitz packages and things to stop the run.”
Each team finished with 196 yards of total offense. The Hokies ran the ball 32 times and gained just three total yards.
Tech was shutout in the first three quarters of the game until Journell put the Hokies on the scoreboard with a field goal at the beginning of the fourth.
“They played us tough the entire day,” said Logan Thomas. “Every little thing that we did they made tough. All of our read plays they had read out pretty well. We finally got into a groove of what we were expecting them to do, and we started picking up things time after time.”
On the ensuing possession, Exum intercepted Nova and returned the ball to the Rutgers 21-yard line. On third and 10, Thomas found Corey Fuller in the endzone for a touchdown to tie the game.
“We finally caught them off balance and got them uncomfortable and got a matchup that we liked,” Thomas said. “It was man-to-man, and Corey did a great job winning and I put it out there for him.”