ORLANDO - Cody Journell kicked a 22-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime to help Virginia Tech beat Rutgers, 13-10, in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Friday night.
Virginia Tech (7-6) won its third straight game to avoid its first losing season since 1992.
Rutgers (9-4) had a chance to tie it in overtime, but Nick Borgese missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt to the right.
Virginia Tech trailed, 10-0, at the half, then rallied in the final 30 minutes thanks to some timely turnovers and offense. Quarterback Logan Thomas struggled in the first half and finished with a pair of interceptions, but also had 192 passing yards and the game's only passing touchdown.
The win also was the Hokies' 12th straight victory over their former Big East Conference rival.
Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum, selected the most valuable player of the game, picked off Gary Nova's pass early in the fourth quarter to set up the tying score.
Rutgers seemed to be in command until the start of the fourth quarter, when turnovers and a surge from the Hokies offense quickly turned the momentum.
Down by 10-0, Virginia Tech took over after Rutgers missed a field goal and moved into Scarlet Knights territory for the first time in the game on a 32-yard pass from Thomas to Dyrell Roberts.
Thomas then found Corey Fuller for a 25-yard strike on the next play before the drive stalled on the 8. It forced the Hokies to settle for Journell's 25-yard field goal.
Exum intercepted Nova's pass on the ensuing drive, giving the Hokies a first down on the Rutgers 21. The Hokies scored three plays later on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Thomas to Fuller with 10 minutes, 56 seconds left.
It was defense on both sides that controlled the action in the first half.
The Scarlet Knights were the most effective offensively, managing a modest seven first downs and a field goal. But the Scarlet Knights came up empty on their best drive of the half, failing to convert on a fourth-down pass play inside the Hokies 35.
A miscue by Virginia Tech on the opening drive of the game produced the game's first score.
Hokies center Caleb Farris sent his second snap of the night sailing past Thomas and into the end zone. Thomas scrambled back to pick it up and tried to run it out, but he was instantly swarmed and lost the ball as he was tackled. It was eventually recovered by Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene for the touchdown.