Set to play in the most prestigious bowl game in program history – and arguable against the biggest name opponent – the Scarlet Knights are ready to get to work.
"We're playing a very respectable opponent in Virginia Tech," said senior middle linebacker Steve Beauharnais. "It's really important for us to go out with a win and send the seniors off on a good note and to have some hype going into next season."
Rutgers wins 10 games for the third time in program history if it wins Friday. It also brings an end to the two-game skid that ended the regular season and wipes some of the bad taste away after falling short of the BCS.
Co-Big East champions, Rutgers is focused, said team captain Tim Wright.
"It's definitely important to come out here with a victory," the fifth-year senior said. "First, it's a business trip. We've got to definitely focus all of our energy, all of our emotions and everything we prepare for all to that. That's the number one thing we came out here for is a football game. The pleasure side, they do a good job of implementing activities for us to go to. At the end of the day, it's a business trip and that's what we're really focusing on."
The program will have a family-dinner opportunity on Christmas, said head coach Kyle Flood, and there will be plenty of opportunity to enjoy the rewards of a bowl trip while in sunny Orlando.
"It's nice down here," said outside linebacker Khaseem Greene. "The weather is great. My family will travel down on Christmas. It's just going to be a different experience for us and I'm excited about that."
And a holiday trip to Disney World never hurts.
"I've never been to Disney World," Beauharnais said. "I'm looking forward to doing that. I'm looking forward to everything. Anything that Orlando and the bowl organization have to offer, I'm looking forward to."
The Russell Athletic Bowl provides Rutgers with the opportunity to strengthen its presence in Florida. With 10 Florida players on the roster and four more verbally committed in the class of 2013, expect a strong presence from Rutgers families in the Citrus Bowl stadium seats.