Two ranked teams will meet for the first time in bowl season in the 2017 Camping World Bowl. Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State both had bigger expectations, but they both had successful, nine win seasons. Here is the 2017 Camping World Bowl preview:
22 Virginia Tech Hokies (9-3)
The Hokies beat four bowl eligible teams en route to a nine win season: Boston College, Duke, West Virginia and Virginia. Two of their losses came to very good teams in Clemson and Miami, while one was to a sub-par team in Georgia Tech. It was still a good step forward for Justin Fuente’s team in his second season.
Offensively, Virginia Tech scores 28.8 points per game. It isn’t the highest number, but they have some good players on that side of the ball. They average 167.2 rushing yards per game. Two running backs, Travon McMillan and Deshawn McClease, do most of the damage and have over 400 rushing yards this season. McClease will have to carry the load, because McMillan has decided to transfer and not play in the bowl game. Quarterback Josh Jackson has pitched in with 274 rushing yards.
Jackson has had a fantastic freshman season for the Hokies. He has 2,743 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 60.3% completion. Cam Phillips was the unquestioned first target for Jackson this season and has 964 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Phillips will be out after having sports hernia surgery, which means Sean Savoy will need to step up. Savoy had 454 receiving yards this season.
The defense is the elite part of this team, allowing 13.5 points per game, which ranks fifth in the country. They rank 15th against the run and 24th against the pass. A lot of players step up for this defense, but Tremaine Edmunds has stood out with his 101 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
19 Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-3)
The Cowboys had college football playoff hopes heading into the season, but ultimately fell short. Oklahoma State was also able to beat four bowl eligible teams. These wins included Texas Tech, Texas, West Virginia and Iowa State. Mike Gundy had another good season, but couldn’t quite make it great.
Offense isn’t a problem for Oklahoma State, as they score 46.3 points per game. That ranks third in the country. Their running game is good for 183.3 yards per game and is anchored by Justice Hill. Hill has rushed for 1,347 yards and 14 touchdowns this season. He is a star in the making for the Cowboys.
The strength of the offense is the passing attack, which is the most potent in the country. Mason Rudolph has stats that jump off the page. He has 4,553 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 65% completion. His favorite target and partner in crime is James Washington. Washington leads the team with 1,423 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Marcell Ateman has also produced with 1,049 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Defensively, the Cowboys allow 30.6 points per game, but with their high-powered offense, they don’t need to be great. They rank 26th against the run and 118th versus the pass. Corner A.J. Green has four interceptions this season, which is something they will need in this game.
Virginia Tech’s defense is great, but going up against a passing attack like Oklahoma State isn’t easy. With the extra time to prepare for the defense, Rudolph will know where and when to throw the ball. In a battle of good offense versus good defense, the offense will win out this time.
Oklahoma State Cowboys 32 Virginia Tech Hokies 28
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