Chick-Fil-A Bowl promises a lot of running

If you enjoy watching great running backs this year's Chick-Fil-A Bowl is where you want to be. The University of Tennessee's senior Montario Hardesty and Virginia Tech's true freshman Ryan Williams are expected to put on a running back clinic in the Thursday night's matchup. Go "Inside" for a better look on what to expect from the running attack.

Running the football shouldn't be an issue in this year's Chick-Fil-A Bowl game.

The matchup features two teams that love to run the football and both Tennessee and Virginia Tech have top flight running backs to lead their team's attack.

Senior Montario Hardesty turned in the best performance of his career this season, staying pretty much healthy for the first during his tenure in Knoxville.

"I feel a lot fresher than I have in a long time," Hardesty said on Saturday. "We had a couple of days off, practice mostly on the weekend, we are flying around out there today. We are ready to go."

Hardesty finished this season with 264 carries for 1,306 yards and a 4.9 yards per carry average. He comes into Thursday's bowl with 12 touchdowns on the season.

For Virginia Tech, Ryan Williams is the Hokies starting tailback. The freshman running back was named ACC Rookie of the Year after finishing with 1,538 yards.

Williams is well aware of what he will face when it comes to the Tennessee defensive unit.

"They've got a really good defensive unit," Williams said. "Any defense that can hold Florida down has got a lot of talent. Tyrod (Taylor) and the receivers have shown over the last few games that they can make some plays, and that we can be very dynamic on offense. If their defense is keyed in on stopping me, we feel like we can step up in other aspects of the offense."

Hardesty has gone the entire season without a fumble, something he hopes will continue for at least one more game. The senior running back has proven he can do a lot of things for this team, including being a proven receiving weapon coming out of the backfield.

"That was one of my biggest goals this fall," Hardesty acknowledged. "I wanted to improve every phase of my game. Being a better receiver out of the backfield. Main thing is that I didn't want to let the ball go. We practice a lot on holding the ball high and tight, it's something I want to continue for one more game."

Hardesty, who had battled a lot of injuries the last few seasons, is excited about closing out his senior season in his best health ever.

"We are ready as a team," Hardesty said. "I feel better than I have in a long time. I want to finish off my career with a big game and a big win."

Hardesty has earned the role as the Vols workhorse.

He finished with 39 carries against Kentucky in the regular season finale. While it's doubtful that Hardesty will have that many carries Thursday, Vol fans are hoping that the senior goes out in a fitting manner.

Let's face it, he has earned it.

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