The Virginia Tech Hokies will be playing the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 28th. The trip to Orlando will continue a streak of 15th consecutive seasons with a bowl appearance for Virginia Tech, that has included bowl victories over powers Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Clemson. But earlier this year, the streak appeared in jeopardy. The Hokies were sitting at 4-6 and would need to win their last two games of the season, just to become bowl eligible. The Hokies were up to the task and were rewarded with a trip to Orlando. I talked to Virginia Tech Defensive Tackle Derrick Hopkins, who earned Second Team All ACC Honors, about the challenges and pressures the Hokies faced this year on their way to a receiving a bid to the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Which game this season, even if it was a loss, was key to the team overcoming adversity and coming together?
Derrick: It was probably the Duke game because people had started counting us out and not giving us any chance to win the game. Plus Duke was having
a really good year and had a really good year but we want to prove to people that we weren’t down and out yet.
What did it mean to the team to keep Coach Beamer’s bowl streak alive?
Derrick: It felt great because you never want to be the team to break a streak, so it felt good plus we wanted to end the season on a good note for the seniors.
What should fans expect out of this match-up?
Derrick: They should expect a hard-fought game and both teams giving there all to win the game.
What’s your favorite part of bowl week from past experience?
Derrick: Just to experience a different environment and be able to spend it with your teammates is great.
What have you heard about Orlando as a bowl destination?
Derrick: I’ve heard it is a great place and fun place to travel to. There are many activities and places to visit down there and the best thing of it all is the warm weather.
Would you prefer a playoff game or a bowl trip?
Derrick: It doesn’t really matter to me. Whatever system we have we still have to play football and win games so whichever one they pick then let’s go with it.
Thank you very much good luck to you and all of the Hokies.
Derrick: No problem man and thank you.
Morgan Lusk, the interviewer, is a student at Radford University in Virginia and a former college football player.