ORLANDO — After one of its most unfulfilling seasons in recent memory, Virginia Tech avoided its first losing season since 1992.
Cody Journell kicked a 22-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime Friday to help the Hokies beat Rutgers 13-10 in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Virginia Tech (7-6) won its final three games.
"Not everything in life is real smooth," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. "These players worked hard and how they reacted to adversity and to disappointment and when all of them wanted to do better — they kept together."
Rutgers (9-4) had a chance to tie it in overtime, but Nick Borgese missed a 42-yard field goal barely wide right.
The win was the Hokies' 12th straight over their former Big East rival.
Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas had two interceptions, but also had 192 yards passing and the only passing touchdown.
"I can't commend the defense more," Thomas said. "The entire season that's kind of how it's been."
INDEPENDENCE BOWL: Tyler Tettleton threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns and Beau Blankenship scored four touchdowns as Ohio cruised to a 45-14 victory in Shreveport, La. Chase Cochran caught three passes for 162 yards and a touchdown as the Bobcats (9-4) won their second straight bowl. Blankenship's four rushing touchdowns set an Independence Bowl record. Louisiana-Monroe (8-5) struggled in its first bowl after 19 seasons in Division I-A. Kolton Browning threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns, but also three first-half interceptions for the Warhawks.
GOPHER SETS RECORD: Minnesota's Troy Stoudermire broke the NCAA record for career kickoff return yards on the opening kickoff against Texas Tech at the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Houston. Stoudermire returned the kickoff 26 yards to bring his career total to 3,530 yards, surpassing the 3,517 Houston's Tyron Carrier amassed in a career that ended in 2011. The game was not over at press time, check sports.tampabay.com for a result.
LATE THURSDAY: Glasco Martin ran for three touchdowns and Nick Florence threw for two TDs and ran for one as Baylor overwhelmed UCLA 49-26 in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Lache Seastrunk rushed 16 times for 138 yards and one score for Baylor, which outgained UCLA 494-362. The Bears (8-5) won their final four games and five of six. UCLA (9-5) lost its final three.
AULT RETIRES: Chris Ault retired as Nevada's coach after 28 years with the Wolf Pack in three stints. Ault, 66, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, won 10 conference championships and took the Wolf Pack to the postseason 16 times, including 10 bowl games in 12 Division I-A seasons. He finished with a record of 233-109-1.
OTHER MOVES: Division III St. John's (Minn.) hired assistant Gary Fasching to replace John Gagliardi, whose 60-year tenure left him as college football's all-time victory leader. Gagliardi retired last month with a record of 489-138-11. … Former NFL defensive coordinator Dale Lindsey was named San Diego's coach.
COACH CLEARED IN PORN CASE REASSIGNED: Minnesota- Mankato reassigned a head coach cleared of child pornography charges last month. Todd Hoffner will serve as the school's assistant athletic director for facilities development.
OKLAHOMA: The No. 12 Sooners suspended defensive tackle Stacy McGee from the Cotton Bowl after he was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol on Christmas Eve.
TEXAS: The Longhorns sent home backup quarterback Case McCoy and injured linebacker Jordan Hicks home before tonight's Alamo Bowl for violating team rules, AP reported.