It’s not often that a team gets spanked on the first Saturday of December but still gets a taste of sugar a day later.

But that’s the case for No. 11 Virginia Tech, the Michigan football team’s opponent in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 3.

On Saturday, No. 15 Clemson smoked the Hokies, 38-10. It was the second time this season the Tigers have easily handled Virginia Tech — on Oct. 1, Clemson rolled them, 23-3, in Blacksburg, Va.

Yet, despite only beating one ranked team all season in then-No. 20 Georgia Tech on Nov. 10, Virginia Tech (7-1 ACC, 11-2 overall) is on its way to the Sugar Bowl for the third time in school history.

“I’m proud of our football team and what we’ve been able to do,” said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer in a teleconference last night. “I think the people we’ve been able to beat, they didn’t seem weak to me.

“There’s a lot of reasons why you’d like to have Virginia Tech in your bowl game.”

Beamer would know — the 25th-year coach is a Virginia Tech graduate and was the starting cornerback for the Hokies from 1967-69. He’s currently first in all-time wins (251) and bowl appearances (18) for active coaches.

During Beamer’s tenure at Virginia Tech, the program has been one of the most consistent in the nation, winning 10 or more games in eight straight seasons and in 13 of the past 16.

Though he’s been around a long time, Beamer knows very little about the Wolverines. He said he’s never met Michigan coach Brady Hoke but has heard good things.

“I know (Hoke’s) name for the tremendous job he’s done in coaching,” Beamer said. “I don’t know a lot about Michigan. Until recently, I didn’t really think us and Michigan would be meeting in a bowl game.”

There was a similar feeling on Michigan’s end.

“From the clips on ESPN, they look pretty good,” said senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen. “I didn’t get the chance to watch them too much this season, but obviously we’re taking them very seriously. They’re going to be very motivated off their loss to Clemson and they’ve got plenty of athletes, I know that.”

Michigan has some athletes of its own, too. And there’s little doubt that one of the first names Beamer will address in preparation for Michigan will be Denard Robinson. Beamer has never seen the junior quarterback play in person, but he’s seen plenty of him on television.

“What I’ve seen of him is on the highlight reels, and he’s got plenty of them,” Beamer said. “You understand pretty quickly what a unique and talented athlete he is.”

The Hokies also have a pretty talented dual-threat quarterback in redshirt sophomore Logan Thomas. Thomas was a second-team All-ACC selection this season, completing 60.5 percent of his passes for 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also carried the ball 125 times for an average of three yards per carry and 10 total touchdowns.

Robinson, a second-team All-Big Ten selection, mirrors Thomas’s touchdown numbers but has thrown double the amount of interceptions with 14. However, Robinson is a much bigger threat on the ground — he’s averaged 5.9 yards per carry off 208 rushes for 16 touchdowns this season.

“From what I’ve seen, that guy can go,” Beamer said.

Beamer, who has coached several dual-threat quarterbacks in his career, including Michael Vick, said it’ll help a little bit that his team is used to playing with running quarterbacks.

But when it comes down to it, the Hokies are still going to have to find a way to take down the shifty Robinson.

“I think us having that type of guys gives us some experience,” he said. “But it all gets back to the players and being able to tackle the guy when you get him there.”

For Virginia Tech, the Clemson spanking is in the past. The bad taste of its second loss is gone and sugar is all it can taste.

And now, the Hokies’ focus is solely on Michigan.

“We’re gonna pay close attention to (Michigan) now,” Beamer said. “We’re going to get to work on them and try to represent the ACC in the best way possible.”

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