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Cincinnati sneaks past Virginia Tech in entertaining Military Bowl rematch

Dec 31, 2018 08:30PM ● By Jake Russell
By Jake Russell

It was just four years ago that Virginia Tech and Cincinnati faced off in their first Military Bowl contest. That game ended in a 33-17 victory for the Blacksburg faithful.

Fast forward to New Year's Eve 2018 and the Hokies and Bearcats reconvened at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in cold and rain-soaked Annapolis with another big crowd heavily slanted toward Virginia Tech.

This year's Military Bowl marked the 26th straight season that the Hokies have appeared in a bowl game.

Both teams put on a highly-entertaining show, which picked up steam in a back-and-forth second half that saw both teams combine for 38 points.

Monday's installation of the Military Bowl featured high drama with seven lead changes and a final drive by Virginia Tech that saw a Cincinnati interception negated by a defensive pass interference penalty only for the Bearcats to snag another interception two plays later. This time, no penalty. James Wiggins' pick with 33 seconds remaining sealed the deal.

Cincinnati (11-2) avenged its 2014 Military Bowl loss to beat Virginia Tech (6-7), 35-31, thanks in large part to sophomore running back Michael Warren, who ran for a career-high 166 yards and two touchdowns on the way to earning Military Bowl MVP honors.

The win marked the first 11-win season for the Bearcats since former head coach Brian Kelly took the team to the Sugar Bowl in 2009. It's the third 11-win season in program history.

The Hokies finish the season with a losing record for the first time since 1992. 

Past Military Bowl coverage:

2017: Navy Pounds Virginia, 49-7, To Win 2017 Military Bowl
2016: Wake Forest Wins Military Bowl By Topping No. 24 Temple, 34-26
2015: Navy Ends Historic Season With 44-28 Military Bowl Win Over Pittsburgh
2014: Virginia Tech Beats Cincinnati In 2014 Military Bowl
2013: Maryland, Marshall Take Annapolis By Storm In Military Bowl