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UCLA Bruins vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Sun Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/31/13

Virginia Tech Hokies (8-4) at UCLA Bruins (9-3)

College Football: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 2:00 pm (Sun Bowl)

The Line: UCLA Bruins -7.5 -- Over/Under: 47.5 See the Latest Odds


The Virginia Tech Hokies and the UCLA Bruins play on Tuesday afternoon in the Sun Bowl.

Virginia Tech finished the season 8-4. Logan Thomas hasn’t improved on his 2011 season when he was a second-team All-ACC selection, but the Hokies quarterback impressed enough this fall to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl next month. Thomas continues to get dinged by interceptions, compiling 13 more this season to give him 39 over the last three years. He cleaned things up a bit during the last two months of the regular season, going without an interception in five of the final eight games. The Hokies weren’t a strong ground team before losing leading rusher Trey Edmunds to a fractured right tibia Nov. 30 in the regular-season finale against Virginia. Now they’ll have to lean on J.C. Coleman, who has carried the ball just 75 times for 262 yards this season, and possibly gamble with freshman Jerome Wright, who's yet to touch the ball. Virginia Tech is dealing with a handful of other injuries that could impact the game, most notably to cornerback Kyle Fuller, who underwent surgery Nov. 19 to repair core muscle damage in his lower abdomen. Fuller, a first-team all-ACC pick last season, is hoping to play his final collegiate game alongside his younger brother, Kendall, a freshman defensive back for the Hokies.

UCLA Bruins vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Sun Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/31/13

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The UCLA Bruins finished the season 9-3. The Bruins, who play Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on Dec. 31 in El Paso, Tex., have one of the top defensive ends in the nation in Anthony Barr and a talented sophomore quarterback in Brett Hundley, who must soon decide whether to enter the NFL Draft. But no player has generated more buzz than Myles Jack. The freshman linebacker added running back to his duties last month and totaled 267 yards and seven touchdowns in the final four games. The Bruins are aiming for their first 10-win season since 2005, a year that also culminated with a victory in El Paso, Tex. Hundley has played a major role in UCLA’s outcomes this season, not only leading the Bruins in every passing category but also leading the team in rushing. He has been careful not to get too attached to a particular receiver, as both Shaquelle Evans (43 catches, 617 yards) and Devin Fuller (42-464) have taken turns leading the team in receiving.

Virginia Tech’s offense lives and dies by Logan Thomas, and over the past three years the Hokies have been good but not great with him at quarterback. The Hokies defense is solid once again but they will have their hands full with UCLA’s Hundley and the Bruins offense. I don’t think Virginia Tech will be able to keep up or catch up when the Bruins get going in this one. I’m taking the Bruins to win by double-digits in what should be a somewhat high scoring game.

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