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Sugar Bowl 2012: Michigan Wolverines vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Preview

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SUGAR BOWL 2012 PREVIEW
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, right, and Michigan head coach Brady Hoke pose for photos with the Sugar Bowl trophy during a news conference before their BCS Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) | AP
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Virgina Tech (11-2) vs. Michigan (10-2), 8:30 p.m. EST (ESPN)

Line: Michigan by 3.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Michigan, which won 10 games in Brady Hoke's first season as head coach, is in its first BCS bowl since the 2007 Rose Bowl and is looking for its first BCS Bowl victory since defeating Alabama in overtime of the 2000 Orange Bowl. Virginia Tech seeks to salvage an otherwise impressive 11-win season which was marred by a lopsided loss to Clemson in the ACC championship game. That result left many questioning whether the Hokies deserved a BCS bid, so they look to answer that with their first 12-win season in program history.

KEY MATCHUP

Virginia Tech RB David Wilson, a projected first-round NFL draft choice who rushed for 1,627 yards and nine TDs this season, against Michigan's defense. The Wolverines have improved defensively since coordinator Greg Mattison returned to Michigan from the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, but still had some hiccups and yielded 1,549 rushing yards to opponents this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Virginia Tech: Senior WRs Jarrett Boykin (180 catches, 2,854 yards) and Danny Coale (157, 2,541) rank first and second in career catches and yards receiving for the Hokies.

Michigan: Dual threat QB Denard Robinson is not relied upon under Hoke's regime as he once was to create the bulk of the offense, but he remains a constant big-play threat. He ranks eighth all-time at Michigan in both rushing (3,216 yards) and passing (4,814 yards). He is also sixth in school history with 38 TD passes and fifth with 35 TD runs.

FACTS & FIGURES

Virginia Tech is in its 19th straight bowl and sixth BCS bowl since the 1995 season. ... The Hokies are 1-4 in BCS Bowls, including Sugar Bowl losses to Florida State on Jan. 4, 2000 and Auburn on Jan. 3, 2005. ... The Hokies are 1-2 in the Sugar Bowl overall, having beaten Texas on Dec. 31, 1995, before the BCS arrangement began. ... Virginia Tech has won at least 10 games in each of the past eight seasons. ... The Wolverines are making their 41st bowl appearance, taking a bowl game record of 19-21 into the Sugar Bowl. ... Michigan has played in one previous Sugar Bowl, losing 9-7 to Auburn on Jan. 2, 1984. ... Michigan is 18-3 all-time against schools from the ACC. ... The Wolverines have won one bowl game in their last six. ... Michigan is the only bowl participant this season to have played 10 other bowl teams during the regular season. ... Nine of Michigan's 10 victories this season came against teams that finished the season with six or more victories.

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