A look ahead to the Belk Bowl
The dawn of bowl season is upon us, and the Kentucky Wildcats are eagerly anticipating their matchup with the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Belk Bowl. The game takes place on Dec. 31 at Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
It will be Lynn Bowden’s final game as a Wildcat, and the junior surely wants to go out with a bang. We know what UK is about this season, but what about its opponent?
Virginia Tech finished the regular season 8-4 and was a win away from facing Clemson in the ACC Championship. In November the Hokies cracked the top 25 for a brief period and they gave No. 16 Notre Dame quite a game a few weeks later, losing after a late fourth quarter touchdown. But the team showed its resilience by bouncing back and knocking off No. 22 Wake Forest the next week.
A name to know
It’s been a journey for redshirt sophomore quarterback Hendon Hooker, who after last season entered his name in the transfer portal. After spending two years on the bench, Hooker wanted to find playing time. However, he withdrew his name three weeks later and decided to remain in Blacksburg. Hooker became QB1 in October, and in his first start versus Miami, led a game-winning fourth quarter drive.
Hooker is a very versatile quarterback. He stands 6’4” and has thrown for 11 touchdowns and rushed for 5. He’s very quick, and the Virginia Tech offense is schemed well around him.
Kentucky’s defense will have to always keep an eye on him in the Belk Bowl, because Hooker loves to scramble. In VT’s last two games he had 20+ attempts on the ground.
The Hokies will be playing inspired football, as longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster has announced he is retiring after the bowl game. The 60-year-old is the longest tenured FBS assistant at the same school, and has left a lasting legacy within his 32 years at the program. Virginia Tech would surely love to send him off by stifling the Cats explosive offense.
Stick with us here at Dylan & Dylan Sports for more Belk Bowl coverage in the weeks leading up to the game!