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.
Virginia Tech struggled throughout, though, tallying only 73 yards total in the first two quarters. Thomas was also sacked twice and intercepted late in the half, which severely hampered an offense that never made it into Rutgers' territory.
Penalties also bent in Rutgers' favor. Virginia Tech was penalized eight times for 60 yards. The Scarlet Knights weren't whistled for any penalties in the half.
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.
Beamer said the challenge to not any shortcomings from this season cloud the offseason.
"I couldn't be more proud of this team," he said. "We've won some more games in other years, but I think this group is special."
Notes: The game was the lowest scoring the bowl's history. It surpassed Stanford's 24-3 win over Penn State in 1993. ...The game also set a bowl record with 20 punts, passing the previous record of 19 in the 1991 matchup between Alabama and Colorado.
Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower .
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.