Hokies a stern test for UT

The Virginia Tech team Tennessee will face in the Chick fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 is a typical Frank Beamer team - solid on offense, defense and special teams. Ranked No. 11 nationally, the Hokies will definitely be the favorites. Can Tennessee knock off the ACC Giant?

The Hokies are 9-3 and ranked No. 12 nationally. They have a balanced offense, averaging 206 rushing yards and 182 passing yards per game.

The offense is led by tailback Ryan Williams, who ran for 1,538 yards and 19 touchdowns during the regular season. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry and reeled in 14 passes for 180 yards, an average of 12.9 per catch.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor is Tech's second-leading rusher with 344 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 3.4 yards per carry during the regular season.

Taylor is a solid passer, having completed 126 of 226 attempts for 2,102 yards. He threw 13 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. His passer-efficiency rating was an outstanding 149.3.

Taylor's top receivers are both big-play threats. Jarrett Boykin caught 36 balls for 715 yards and five touchdowns, averaging a whopping 19.9 yards per catch. Danny Coale caught 29 balls for 572 yards and 2 TDs, averaging 19.7 yards per catch.

Defensively, Tech allowed just 300 yards per game - 139 rushing and 161 passing. The Hokies scored 47 touchdowns and allowed just 18. Their opponents completed just 46.6 percent of their pass attempts.

As always, the Hokies are outstanding in special teams. Brent Bowden averaged 43.9 yards per punt with a net average of 37.4. Matt Waldron hit 17 of 20 field-goal tries, although his longest was just 41 yards. Tech averages a hefty 24.7 yards on kickoff returns and 10.5 yards on punt returns.

Virginia Tech already played once this season at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, losing its season opener 34-24 to Alabama. The Hokies also lost to Georgia Tech 28-23 in Game 7 and to North Carolina 20-17 in Game 8.

Their biggest win was a 31-7 thrashing of Miami. They are on a roll heading into the post-season, having swept their last three regular-season games in convincing fashion. They won 36-9 at Maryland, beat North Carolina State 38-10 and rolled at Virginia 42-13.

Tech will be making its fourth appearance in the Chick fil-A Bowl. The Hokies last visited in 2006, losing to Georgia by a 31-24 score. Tennessee will be making its fifth trip to the Atlanta-based bowl. UT last played in the Chick fil-A (then known as the Peach Bowl) on Jan. 2, 2004, when the Vols lost 27-14 to Clemson.

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