BLACKSBURG, Va. (WRIC) – Justin Fuente will make his bowl debut as Virginia Tech’s head coach as the Hokies make their first-ever appearance in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 29. Tech’s current bowl streak of 24 consecutive seasons is the longest active streak recognized by the NCAA. The Hokies (9-4) will take on a foe from the Southeastern Conference. Kickoff is slated for 5:30 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
“Our fans have been fabulous all season, and I know Hokie Nation will be anxious to join us in Charlotte for the Belk Bowl,” Fuente said in a statement released by the school. “As I told the team after last night’s game, our seniors deserve to end their careers out on a positive note. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to this senior class and our staff will do everything possible to prepare our squad to face a quality foe from the SEC.
“Coach Beamer and his teams built Virginia Tech into the nation’s most consistent postseason participant and we appreciate the standard we’re expected to uphold. For myself, these seniors and this entire squad, we felt an obligation to extend Coach Beamer’s bowl streak. Now, our objective is to prepare and play to the best of our ability to conclude this season with a victory. I can’t thank Hokie Nation enough for their unwavering support and our team looks forward to seeing the stands packed with Maroon and Orange in Charlotte.”
Tech has won three of its past four bowls, closing out Frank Beamer’s career with a thrilling 55-52 victory in the 2015 Camping World Independence Bowl over Tulsa. Tech’s current bowl streak began with a 45-20 win over Indiana in the 1993 Independence Bowl, one most remembered for a defensive and a special teams touchdown in the first half. The Hokies last met in SEC foe in the postseason in the 2009 Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta as Virginia Tech registered a 37-14 victory over Tennessee.
For more information on the bowl, please visit the Belk Bowl’s website at www.belkbowl.com.