2013 Sun Bowl Prediction: Virginia Tech vs. UCLA


Nov 16, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies coaching staff including head coach Frank Beamer (left) on the sidelines in overtime. The Terrapins defeated the Hokies 27-24 in overtime at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Hokies will end their season this afternoon only a few hours before the end of 2013 as the Hokies will take on UCLA in this year’s Sun Bowl out in El Paso, Texas. This is actually the second time the Hokies have played in the Sun Bowl with the other appearance being on New Year’s Day in 1947 which unfortunately ended in a 18-6 loss for the Hokies against Cincinnati. The Hokies are now back in the Sun Bowl and are ready to finish off 2013 in a big way in this massive showdown against a very good UCLA team.

Sep 21, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Marshall Thundering Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato (12) is hit by Virginia Tech Hokies defensive end J.R. Collins (42) during the first quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies have had a pass rush that has been one of the best in college football and they will go against a UCLA offense that has had issues protecting Brett Hundley. James Gayle, J.R. Collins, and Derrick Hopkins will all look to improve their 2014 NFL Draft stock and they will all come out firing looking to end the season. Dadi Nicolas will provide that extra speed rush that will cause Brett Hundley plenty of issues just trying to escape the pocket to make any plays. Of course, Hundley will have issues finding an open receiver if he can avoid the Virginia Tech pass rush.

UCLA’s receiving corps is solid but not great as Shaq Evans is the main guy that could cause some major problems. Evans is a speedy guy that will look to make some big plays but Kendall Fuller or Antone Exum both are talented enough to do the job though the Hokies might have Kyle Fuller out there also. The Hokies have the secondary to make the UCLA a one-dimensional offense with Brett Hundley and Myles Jack running the football. Jack has played fairly well since he started playing some running back but the Hokies have the front 7 to slow down Jack and Hundley somewhat though both those guys will make some plays.

Nov 9, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas (3) drops back to pass in the first quarter of a game against the Miami Hurricanes at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Logan Thomas has been inconsistent throughout his collegiate career and while Anthony Barr will put a lot of pressure on Thomas and get to him a few times, Thomas will end his college career with a solid game. Thomas played well in a big game against Miami and playing UCLA in the Sun Bowl is definitely another big game. Thomas will want to show NFL scouts that he has the potential to be a quarterback at the next level and this will be his last chance to do so. Thomas is ready to come out and finish his collegiate career on a high note.

Thomas may have to carry the offense though as the loss of Trey Edmunds will make the Hokies a lot more one-dimensional but J.C. Coleman will do enough to force the running game to be respected by the Bruins. However, Coleman won’t do too much more than that as Coleman is a speed back that thrives in space and not pounding it between the tackles like Trey Edmunds. Coleman will make some plays but Logan Thomas will have to be that power runner for the Hokies.

Logan Thomas is ready for this game and his receiving corps has turned into a solid one that has a very bright future. Joshua Stanford has the potential to be the best receiver since Jarrett Boykin graduated and Stanford is going to have a big game to prove to scouts how good he really is. Screen plays has become an effective part of the offense and Demitri Knowles will make tons of plays on screen passes today. The man who will have a surprisingly big impact is Willie Byrn who will make some big catches in this game. This will be a close low-scoring game but the Hokies will prevail in the end.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 21, UCLA 17

What do you think about the game Virginia Tech fans?