It’s going to be a nostalgic game for the Virginia Tech Hokies. Head coach Frank Beamer’s 23-year bowl streak comes to and end where it all started—at the Independence Bowl. Beamer’s retirement should fire up a Hokies side looking to finish the season with a winning mark.
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After a two-year absence, Tulsa is back bowling, finishing the regular season with a 6-6 slate. The Hurricane will take any and all opportunities they have after clinching a coveted postseason berth. Read on for everything you know heading into this big Camping World Independence Bowl.
There’s plenty to get excited for this bowl season. Check out the complete previews for UCLA vs. Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl and Central Michigan vs. Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl.
Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Preview
Where: Independence Stadium, Shreveport
When: Saturday, December 26, 5:45 PM ET
Line: Tulsa Golden Hurricane (+13.5) vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (-13.5); total 61.5 – view all NCAA Football lines
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Betting on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (6-6)
Tulsa is one tough matchup with their quick-fire spread offense. The Golden Hurricane scored at least 38 points in five of their last six games with some quick passes and a complimentary running game. Quarterback Dane Evans has been stellar directing the offense, leading the team to rank 11th in passing offense in the nation this season (329.8 yards per game).
Having a handful of receiving options should help Tulsa unravel a rock solid Virginia Tech passing defense, allowing just 173.8 yards per game (ninth in the FBS). But if Evans struggles to throw the ball, then the trio of running backs D’Angelo Brewer, Zack Langer and Ramadi Warren could save the day.
Brewer leads the team with 732 yards rushing, while Langer is a step behind with 714 yards and a team-high 17 touchdowns. Warren has been solid as a change-of-pace back, averaging seven yards per carry. Having so much talent in the rushing game should help Tulsa exploit Virginia Tech’s beatable front seven, allowing 180 yards per game.
The Hurricane will be hard-pressed to score a load of points in this game to make up for their horrible defense. Tulsa ranks 126th among 128 FBS teams in total defense, allowing a whopping 531.5 yards per game.
Tulsa has lost their last 10 games as underdogs of eight points or more, going 6-4 ATS during that span.
Betting on the Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6)
The Virginia Tech Hokies can turn this into an ugly game with their defense. The Hokies force plenty of fumbles, ranking second in the nation with 18. They have a very nice matchup against a Tulsa team, which has fumbled 20 times this season.
The Hokies also have a very solid front seven, which has prevented opponents to gain much ground. Most notable of which is linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka, who has racked up 66 stops, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and a team-high three forced fumbles.
Keeping Tulsa from scoring is extremely crucial for the Hokies. Their offense doesn’t have enough firepower. The passing game ranks 71st in the FBS with just 216 yards per game, while the rushing offense is only good for 151.3 yards per contest (95th in the nation).
Quarterback Michael Brewer has been inconsistent, completing just 57.5 percent of his passes for 1,359 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. But he should get plenty of success if he can get the ball in wide receiver Isaiah Ford’s hands.
Ford ranks first on the team with 937 yards and 10 touchdowns. Using the Brewer-Ford connection should help the Hokies exploit a bad Tulsa passing defense, allowing 293 yards per game, 124th in the FBS.
Tulsa also ranks among the worst in rushing defense, allowing 238.5 yards per game (119th in the nation). Having a wide open front seven should give Virginia Tech running back Travon McMillian the green light to run amok for big gains. McMillian has a team-high 960 yards and five touchdowns this season. He’s rushing for 5.2 yards per carry.
The Hokies have won five of their last eight as favorites, but have gone just 4-4 ATS.
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Virginia Tech’s defense locks down on Tulsa’s playmakers. The Hokies win and cover -13.5. Create a betting account now and get the best college football action while it lasts.