Independence Bowl – Tulsa Golden Hurricane (+13.5) versus Virginia Tech Hokies

Posted: December 31, 2015 in College football, Football
Tags: , , , ,

Independence_Bowl_MatchupHELMET_LOGOSThe last time these schools met was in 1978. Tulsa leads the series 3-1 SU. This is Virginia Tech’s third appearance in this bowl as they lost to Air Force in 1984 and beat Indiana in 1993. Head coach Frank Beamer has been in a bowl the last 23 years, going 10-12 SU/10-11-1 ATS and won the Military Bowl 33-17 (+2.5) over Cincinnati last year. Tulsa is back bowling after a two year absence and have also played in this bowl twice, losing to McNeese State in the Inaugural Independence Bowl in 1976 and falling to Oreg in 1989.

Head coach Philip Montgomery, the former Baylor offensive coordinator, took over a 2-10 team and got them to a bowl in his first season. They did return 16 starters, including 10 on offense and quarterback Dane Evans fit perfectly into the new offense as he has passed for over 400 yards in three games! Tulsa never won more then 2 straight games, but also never had a three game losing streak. They won every game they were a favorite in, and lost every game they were a ‘dog in, except for their upset at New Mexico week two. The Golden Hurricanes average 503 yards per game and are No. 16 in the FBS averaging 97 yards per game then their foes allow on average. The 603 yards they put up on Oklahoma was the most the Sooners allowed all season!

Virginia Tech had extremely high expectations entering the season as they returned 16 starters, including quarterback Michael Brewer and had a manageable ACC schedule. Unfortunately, Brewer broke his collarbone in the opener versus Ohio State and didn’t fully return until the Duke loss, which made them 3-5. Following a win at Boston College, Beamer announced he would retire after the season and they won two of their last three with an overtime loss to North Carolina, then beat rival Virginia for the Commonwealth Cup that made them bowl eligible. Like Tulsa, the Hokies also never won or lost more then two straight and held four foes to either their lowest or second lowest yardage total and they have a solid passing defense.

With this game taking place at Independence Stadium, Tulsa is closer and might ordinarily have the crowd edge, but with this being Beamer’s final game, there should be plenty of Hokie backers in the crowd. Tulsa does have the better offense, but Virginia Tech has a much larger edge on defense. Both teams struggled against bowl teams as Tulsa was minus 91 yards per game and Virginia Tech was minus 69 yards per game.

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