- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

CINCINNATI (9-3) vs. VIRGINIA TECH (6-6), 1 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: Cincinnati by 3

Series Record: Tied 5-5

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Virginia Tech seeks to extend its run of consecutive seasons with a winning record to 22 in its 22nd successive year in a bowl game. Cincinnati, the American Athletic Conference champion, seeks its eighth straight win overall and is looking for redemption after losing to Atlantic Coast Conference foe North Carolina 39-17 last year in the Belk Bowl.

KEY MATCHUP

Cincinnati’s high-powered offense and Virginia Tech’s up-and-down defense. The Bearcats topped the 30-point barrier nine times, twice reached 50 and own the nation’s 13th-ranked passing offense. The Hokies limited foes to fewer than 20 points on three occasions and are ranked 14th against the pass. “If you just look at the stats,” Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville said, “it’s clearly our strength vs. their strength: our offense vs. their defense.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cincinnati: Notre Dame transfer Gunner Kiel completed 219 of 364 passes for 3,010 yards and 30 TDs with 11 INTs. He’s the first player in school history to throw for at least four TDs in three straight games.

Virginia Tech: Senior safety Detrick Bonner played 796 snaps on defense and 62 more on special teams. He had 68 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble, and his run of 39 straight starts leads the team.

FACTS & FIGURES

Virginia Tech’s streak of 22 straight bowl appearances is second-longest in the nation behind Florida State. … Hokies coach Frank Beamer will work in upstairs coaching box while recovering from throat surgery. … Bearcats lost to Ohio State 50-28, Tech beat Buckeyes 35-21. … Cincinnati is one of seven FBS programs with nine or more wins in each of last four years. …Twenty-five of VT’s 33 TDs were scored by freshmen … Cincinnati LB Jeff Luc is tied for the NCAA lead with six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. … Hokies are 6-15 all-time in Maryland, including 27-24 loss to Bearcats in 2012 at FedExField.

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