Virginia Tech wins 2014 Military Bowl vs. Cincinnati
Strong defensive play by the Hokies stifles the Bearcat offense, giving Frank Beamer his 22nd-straight winning season.
The Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman hasn’t been around for long, dating back to 2008 when it was known as the EagleBank Bowl. This year’s game will be the second to be held near the U.S. Naval Academy campus after originally being played at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., in its first five years of existence. It seems like a smart move since attendance has topped 30,000 just twice, and both of those games featured Maryland as one of the participants.
This year, the participants will be Cincinnati and Virginia Tech.
Date and time, ET: Saturday, Dec. 27, 1 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: Annapolis, Md.
Stadium: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium; 34,000
Last year’s score: Marshall 31, Maryland 20
Last year’s attendance: 30,163
Last year’s TV rating: 1.7
Last year’s payout for each school: $500,000
Team with the most all-time appearances: Maryland, 2
Team with the most all-time wins: Maryland, Marshall, San Jose State, Toledo, UCLA, Wake Forest; 1
Cincinnati (9-3, 7-1 American)
The Bearcats had a rough start to the season, winning their first two games before losing to Ohio State, Memphis and Miami (FL) to sit at 2-3. While all may have seemed lost, Cincinnati rattled off seven straight wins to end the year tied for the best record in the American Athletic Conference. Tommy Tuberville has now led the Bearcats to back-to-back bowl games (four in a row for the team).
Well traveled quarterback Gunner Kiel was the focal point of the Cincinnati attack, throwing for 2,820 yards and 28 touchdowns. Massive 6-6 wideout Mekale McKay was Kiel’s favorite endzone target, hauling in eight touchdown catches, while diminutive junior Shaq Washington caught a team-leading 61 balls for 661 yards. Cincinnati’s pass rush is something to be feared by a bowl opponent after Terrell Hartsfield brought down the quarterback eight times to lead the AAC. Running mate Jeff Luc was third with 6.5 sacks. A win for Cincy would get them to 10 wins for the third time in four years.
Last bowl game: 2013 Belk Bowl, 39-17 loss vs. North Carolina
All-time bowl record: 8-7
Head coach’s bowl record: Tommy Tuberville, 7-4
Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6, 3-5 ACC)
On Sept. 6, Virginia Tech went into Columbus and beat Ohio State, 35-21, vaulting them up to No. 17 in the AP Poll. The next week, the Hokies returned home to Blacksburg to lose, 28-21, to East Carolina. The latter was more representative of the 2014 season for Virginia Tech, which beat Virginia in the final week to clinch bowl eligibility.
Frank Beamer and Bud Foster’s defense once again performed well, allowing 20.4 points per game, but Virginia Tech was unable to find any consistent offensive production. Quarterback Michael Brewer averaged 6.2 yards per attempt, with 17 touchdowns against 14 interceptions, while leading rusher Marshawn Williams averaged just 3.8 yards per carry.
Last bowl game: 2013 Sun Bowl, 42-12 loss to UCLA
All-time bowl record: 10-17
Head coach’s bowl record: Frank Beamer, 9-12