Hokies go Camping against high-powered Cowboys offense
One of the top defenses in the nation will meet one of the most prolific offenses when No. 22 Virginia Tech and No. 19 Oklahoma State meet in the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
The matchup features the Hokies and their stingy defense ranked fourth nationally in points allowed per game (13.5) and the Cowboys and their high-flying offense ranked second in the country in points scored per game (46.3).
"Our entire team would like to send our seniors out on a winning note," Hokies coach Justin Fuente said in a release. "The opportunity to win 10 games for a second consecutive season is a challenge our squad will embrace.
"This team has earned the right to play a quality opponent in head coach Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State."
Virginia Tech (9-3) ranks 12th nationally in yards allowed per game (305.3) and has pitched three shutouts this season, including a 10-0 win over in-state rival Virginia in the regular season finale Nov. 24.
The task will get much more difficult against the Cowboys' prolific attack. Oklahoma State (9-3) ranks first nationally in passing offense (392.3) and second in yards per game (575.7). The Cowboys have scored 40 or more points in all but one of their games this season.
The Cowboys feature one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Mason Rudolph. Rudolph, a senior from Rock Hill, S.C., has completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 4,553 yards, 35 touchdowns and only nine interceptions.
His top receiving targets are James Washington (69 catches for 1,423 yards and 12 touchdowns) and Marcell Ateman (54-1,049-8).
The Hokies are playing in their 25th straight bowl game, the longest active streak recognized by the NCAA and tied for the third-longest streak in college football history. This is their second appearance in the Camping World Bowl. They defeated Rutgers 13-10 in overtime in 2012 when the game was called the Russell Athletic Bowl.
This will be only the third meeting between Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State and the first since the Hokies beat the Cowboys 34-32 in Blacksburg on Oct. 14, 1972.
Oklahoma State is a more familiar foe to Fuente, however. Fuente, a Tulsa, Okla., native, faced the Cowboys as Oklahoma's quarterback from 1996-97.
Oklahoma State is the second Big 12 opponent this season for the Hokies, who beat West Virginia 31-24 in the season opener.
This is Tech's first bowl matchup against a Big 12 opponent since losing to Kansas 24-21 in the 2008 Orange Bowl.
"Our staff will do everything we can to prepare and give these young men a chance to hopefully conclude the season on a winning note," Fuente said. "Our team is looking forward to the game and hopefully seeing the stands packed with Hokies at Camping World Stadium."