The Allstate Sugar Bowl is likely to be a great matchup. A couple of the more decorated programs in history, and a couple of the toughest defensive units in the nation this season, will square off in New Orleans when Michigan of the Big Ten takes on ACC runner-up Virginia Tech.
This contest will mark the first-ever meeting between the schools.
Our Sugar Bowl odds show Michigan as a 2.5-point spread favorite, while the total has been set at 50.5 points.
Michigan closed their regular season with three consecutive wins, the most recent a 40-34 rivalry win versus Ohio State to win 10 games under first-year coach Brady Hoke, ending up second in the Big Ten Legends Division (6-2). Michigan was 2-2 as a visitor, getting beat by Michigan State and Iowa.
The Wolverines rank seventh in the nation in scoring defense (17 points per game) and surrender 318 yards per game (189 passing, 129 via the run) while recording 28 sacks and generating 27 turnovers three of which were taken back for scores (Brandon Herron and Courtney Avery, fumbles; Herron, interception).
Kenny Demens leads the defensive unit with 86 stops (22 more than any other player), while Ryan Van Bergen has five sacks and three fumble recoveries. Thomas Gordon has four fumble recoveries, and Avery and J.T. Floyd each have two picks.
Virginia Tech reached the conference title game once again (7-1, won Coastal Division), but had their seven-game win streak broken with a 38-10 loss to Clemson. Virginia Tech is 6-1 away from home, winning the first six such games. Both of Tech’s defeats this season came versus Clemson.
The Hokies rate eighth in the country in points allowed (17 ppg) and allows 314 yards per contest (206 through the air, 108 via the run) while recording 38 sacks and enticing 22 turnovers.
Antone Exum paces this unit with 85 stops and two forced fumbles, while James Gayle has a team-high seven sacks. Jayron Hosley has three picks and two forced fumbles.
The Hokies rate 55th in the country in scoring (28 ppg) while compiling 416 yards per game (227 passing, 189 on the ground).
David Wilson paces the ground attack with 1,627 yards and nine scores on 6.1 yards per attempt, while Logan Thomas completes 59 percent of his passes for 2,799 yards and 19 touchdowns with nine picks. The offensive line has given up 15 sacks. Jarrett Boykin leads the pass catchers with 57 grabs for 731 yards and five TDs, while Danny Coals has 52 grabs for 787 yards and three scores.