Rutgers has a shot at their third season of 10 wins or more in school history at this year’s Russell Athletic Bowl. The Scarlet Knights are fired up about their first bowl game in Orlando after making a run to a share of the Big East Conference championship in 2012.
RU Athletic Director Tim Pernetti and Head Coach Kyle Flood had nothing but kind words to say about their opportunity to come to the Russell Athletic Bowl. “We’re really looking forward to the opportunity to compete in the game and certainly excited about the invitation,” said Pernetti. “I know our fans — from the amount of e-mails and text messages and Twitter messages I’m getting tonight — are very anxiously looking forward to getting to Orlando to compete in the game.”
Flood echoed those statements while speaking about the team. “Our football team is very excited to play in, to date, the most prestigious bowl game that we’ve had the opportunity to play in against a great opponent in Virginia Tech,” he said. We couldn’t be happier to enter our seventh bowl game in eight years and have an opportunity to travel down there to the [Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium] and participate in this event.”
Though RU was expected to have a strong team this season, there was uncertainty about whether they could compete for a conference title in Flood’s first year. However, the team surpassed expectations with an impressive season, entering the bowl ranked 14th nationally in total defense. Now they have a chance to compete against a former Big East rival in Virginia Tech. The two teams have not played since 2003.
“We’ve got an opportunity to compete against an excellent Virginia Tech football team and also to send our seniors out with a 10-win season, something that’s only been done twice here in the history of our program,” said Flood. “I think they are excited about the challenges. They’re certainly excited about the location, being able to come down to Orlando for a week.
“From everything we’ve heard, we know everything done there is done first rate and hospitality is unmatched, so I think the energy level is really high within our program.”