In his first year at the helm of Michigan’s football program Brady Hoke has led the Wolverines (10-2, 6-2) to a berth in this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. This is a huge accomplishment for a team that recently spent two bowl seasons watching from home. And while some critics may argue that teams such as Kansas State, Baylor, Michigan State, or Boise State were more deserving of the bid that is no reason for the Wolverine faithful to not celebrate the feat.
The BCS after all is a complex system that often leaves deserving teams on the short end of the stick. It is likely that down the road Michigan will experience the disappointment that often comes with being left out of the BCS after a successful season. This is all the more reason to celebrate how fortunate the University of Michigan football program is to receive a Sugar Bowl invite.
This year’s Sugar Bowl on January 3rd will pair the Wolverines with the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Hokies (11-2, 7-2) are coming off their second loss of the season to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. Both teams have offenses led by dual threat quarterbacks which should make the matchup all the more intriguing.
Virginia Tech is led by sophomore signal caller Logan Thomas who passed for 2,799 yards this season with 19 tds and only 9 ints. While Thomas may not be as scary of a running threat as Denard Robinson, (416 rush yds to Denard’s 1,117 rush yds) his passing numbers this season are considerably better in terms of both completion percentage and touchdown to interception ratio. Denard has completed 55.4% of his passes for 18 tds and 14 ints versus Thomas’ completion rate of 59.2%. The signal caller that is able to be the most effective on the ground and in the air will be a huge factor in this game as the opposing defense will need to respect both the run and the pass.
Both teams also feature game changing running backs that are capable of breaking plays wide open. The Wolverines will showcase sophomore Fitzgerald Toussaint who established himself as the primary ball carrier in the second half of the season and finished just shy of a thousand yards rushing. Toussaint went over the hundred yard mark in four of the last five games while averaging 135.6 rush yds per contest. Toussaint has made a name for himself with his exceptional speed by breaking free for a few large gains each game.
The Hokies will showcase Junior running back David Wilson who has emerged as the next in line in a series of great running backs at Virginia Tech. Wilson has rushed for 1,627 yards on the season while averaging 6.1 yds per carry. It is worth noting, however, that Wilson is coming off his worst performance in the ACC Championship Game against Clemson in which he was held to just 32 yards on 11 carries. The Wolverines will surely study the film from this game closely in hopes that they can recreate the success of Clemson’s defense.
With the strong similarities amongst both teams, fans will likely be in for an entertaining show when these two teams take to the field in the Louisiana Superdome. My prediction is for this to be a back-and-forth contest with the Wolverines pulling away slightly in the second half thanks to the explosive running ability of Denard Robinson. Wolverines win 27-21 in one of the best BCS Bowls of the season.
About the Author
Written by Casey Phillips
I am a resident of South West Michigan and a graduate of Western Michigan University. Like most residents of Michigan I am a die hard Tigers, Red Wings, and Pistons fan. However, my allegiances in the NFL stand with the St Louis Rams as I have been a fan since I become mesmerized by their "Greatest Show on Turf" offense that ruled the late 90s and the early 2000s. My devotion to the Rams has not swayed through their recent struggles and turmoil. When it comes to collegiate sports my heart lies solely with the University of Michigan Wolverines. I have been a U of M fan since almost the time I was born, and will never root for Michigan State, Ohio State, or Notre Dame in any circumstance. Besides my love and passion for sports I am a young, developing IT professional for a moderate sized company. I enjoy working out, spending time out doors, and visiting with friends and family when I am not at work or looking at football box scores.