5 Thoughts On The Military Bowl

Recap, 5 Thoughts and what's next for each team in the Military Bowl

Dec. 27 Military Bowl
Virginia Tech 33, Cincinnati 17

And You Care Because … Virginia Tech got four field goals from Joey Slye from 45, 49, 38 and 33 yards out, and J.C. Coleman and Ryan Malleck each scored from a yard out on the way to the win. Cincinnati scored first on a 31-yard Chris Moore catch, and tied it at ten on a 25-yard Andrew Gantz field goal, but the Hokies scored 20 straight points and knocked starting QB Gunner Kiel out of the game. Greg Stroman added a 12-yard fumble return for a Hokie score. Moore made it close in the fourth on a 43-yard touchdown grab, but Slye put it well out of reach with his fourth field goal.
What Else? Virginia Tech RB J.C. Coleman ran 25 times for 157 yards and a score
- Cincinnati QB Gunner Kiel completed 14-of-26 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions before getting knocked out of the game in the second quarter. Chris Moore caught four passes for 103 yards and two scores, and Shaq Washington caught five passes for 100 yards.
- Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer completed 14-of-24 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown with a pick and ran once for 30 yards
- Total yards: Cincinnati 489 – Virginia Tech 334
Game Rating: C+

By Pete Fiutak
1. Yeah, great. Virginia Tech came up with a strong bowl performance and turned the defensive dogs loose on Cincinnati on the way to a win. J.C. Coleman and the running game worked, and despite getting outgained by 155 yards, it turned out to be all Hokies in the second half. So why couldn’t this team bring it each and every week? Where was the Ohio State version of Virginia Tech? Where was this power running game for an attack that averaged just 3.7 yards per carry? There’s hope for the team going into next year with a strong nucleus returning – this might have been a big moment for the future of Virginia Tech football and how the coaching staff is going to be structured because …

By Rich Cirminiello
2. Virginia Tech played its best game since the Week 2 shocker over Ohio State, with Frank Beamer distanced from his team for much of December as he recovered from throat surgery. If the irony is lost on you, you might be stuck in a nostalgic bubble.

Better without Beamer, Frank, not Shane, who coached from the sidelines as his dad orchestrated from above, JoePa Style. Get used to it, because the game has passed by the legendary Hokie. And today’s win over Cincinnati in the Military Bowl was more of a feel-good moment for the Hall of Famer than an indication that a rally is on its way.

Frank Beamer is everything that’s easy to root for in a head coach. Genuine. Indefatigable. Well-liked and respected. And consistent enough to stand the test of time in an industry rife with turnover. But the sun has set on his brilliant career. And today’s win, sans the usual hands-on involvement of the head coach, was another reminder that Virginia Tech desperately needs fresh energy on the sidelines if it’s going to get back to being an ACC threat.



E-mail Phil Harrison
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3. Virginia Tech has been an enigma this year, and if this Tech team would have gotten off the bus more times throughout 2014, it could have been a much different year in Blacksburg. A Bud Foster defense is always going to get in your face and make you beat them deep through the air in one-on-one matchups. It a high risk, high reward type of affair and it worked in Columbus and it worked in today’s bowl game. It should have worked more except the offense was too inconsistent.

Turn the page to next year though, and this should be a very, very good Hokie team in 2015. Almost all of the defense returns, and the coaching staff will have another year of installing a new-look offense that has gotten away from running the ball, towards more of a spread look that slants toward the passing game more often. It won’t take long to see where the program is either. There’s a whale of a game out of the gate on September 5th when the Buckeyes come to town.

4. What’s next for Virginia Tech

The Hokie offense gets back QB Michael Brewer, and there’s a chance he takes a big leap forward considering his maturity and experience. Three starters are gone off the offensive line, but the running back situation is excellent with J.C. Coleman back leading a deep group, and the receiving corps that was so young and so inexperienced throughout the year should turn into a big strength.

All four starters are back on the defensive front with a pass rush that should become a killer. The secondary loses some key parts in Rover/LB Kyshoen Jarrett and safety Detrick Bonner, but there are plenty of decent options to work around. Three of the top four tacklers are gone, but the D should still be outstanding. PK Joey Slye is back after an okay year, and P A.J. Hughes returns after averaging close to 40 yards per kick.

5. What’s next for Cincinnati
If you liked what Gunner Kiel did his first time around, you’ll probably love the next act for an offense that should rock and roll from the start with a senior-loaded receiving corps ready to explode. The left side of the line is done, but Ryan Leahy should be ready to take over at left guard full-time. Mike Boone will get even more of the rushing workload, but the attack will be all about Kiel.

Two of the top three tacklers are gone – LBs Nick Temple and Jeff Luc – but the secondary is almost all back full only losing CB Howard Wilder. The line is the big problem with three starters gone and only Silverberry Mouhon back at one end – four of the top five pass rushers have to be replaced. P Sam Geraci is back after averaging 39 yards per punt, and PK Andrew Gantz returns after a strong freshman year.


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