Independence Bowl Pick

210
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Independence Bowl

Tulsa

vs.

Virginia Tech

12/26/15

This probably wasn’t the bowl Game Virginia Tech was hoping for, and while motivation could’ve been a factor, it likely won’t be in Frank Beamer’s final Game as head coach. Tulsa finished 3-5 in the AAC and that’s all we need to know here. The Hokies are a -14 point favorite (as seen at 5 Dimes Sportsbook) for the Independence Bowl played in Louisiana.

Virginia Tech had a chance to win the Coastal division this year, there’s no doubt about that, but just couldn’t win the close Games. The Hokies faltered to a 4-4 ACC record and 6-6 overall. An early-season loss at East Carolina was the start of it. They lost to Pittsburgh, Duke and UNC by a combined nine points and their Miami loss was only by 10. The Hokies fought in every Game, but didn’t have enough against the better teams. They at least finished the season with three wins in their last Four.

Tulsa has the same record, but coming out of a weaker conference, that doesn’t mean as much. against the better teams in the AAC, the Golden Hurricane’s defense was exploited as all six of their losses came by double digits. Each of these teams only had one win against a team with a winning record. Tulsa beat New Mexico and Virginia Tech took down NC State. Otherwise, nothing else is all that impressive about their Schedules. To get into this situation, Tulsa needed a Fourth-quarter rally to take down Tulane in its final Game of the season.

To make things harder for the Golden Hurricane, they’ll be without one of their offensive coordinators who took the same role down in Texas. This is still an offense that can score, but with a defense that gave up more points per Game.

Virginia Tech’s offense isn’t great, but that shouldn’t matter too much against Tulsa. Quarterback Michael Brewer has had a few good Games this year in his limited time, but this could end up being his best Game of the season. Brewer and top receiver Isaiah Ford should be in for big Games, as the two have connected for two straight 120-plus yard Games. Running back Travon McMillian should also find plenty of room. He’s been used a lot more during VT’s improved played towards the end of the year. McMillian could easily hit 100 yards for the Fourth time in this Game.

But to cover this spread, the Hokies will need to hold down the Tulsa offense that put up 38 points on Oklahoma and Cincinnati, among others. Yet again in all losses, they still lost big.

Tulsa is expected to come out gunning with quarterback Dane Evans, who has 22 TDs and 8 INTs on the year. Keyarris Garrett (88 receptions, 1,451 yards, 7 TDs) is the main receiver that Virginia Tech has to keep an eye on. If they can keep Garrett in check, that may be enough to stop this offense as the Hurricane lost stud receiver Keevan LUcas early in the season. Tulsa is okay at running the ball, and is more grind-it-out than anything, averaging 3.8 yards per carry as a team. D’Angelo Brewer leads the team with 732 yards, but Zack LAnger is the bulldozer with 17 touchdowns on the year.

Tulsa may Scorea lot of points, but its defense gives up more, which explains this spread. The over has hit Four straight times for Tulsa, but the under has hit Four straight for Virginia Tech. However, the over has hit in the Hokies’ last six non-Conference Games. against the spread, neither one of these teams has a relevant trend.

Our Pick – Virginia Tech -14

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