By RENALDO DORSETT
THE 2014 Military Bowl will feature a distinct Bahamian presence on both participating teams.
Broadcasted live on ESPN 1pm December 27, the Virginia Tech Hokies and Cincinnati Bearcats will face off in the aforementioned bowl game in Annapolis, Maryland.
The Hokies will feature junior wide receiver Demitri Knowles, while the Bearcats feature current redshirt freshman offensive lineman Chris Ferguson.
The matchup for the game, played at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, was announced Sunday, when major college football finalised its bowl match-ups.
Virginia Tech finished the season at 6-6, 3-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Their sole signature win of the season came against Ohio State.
The Bearcats finished 9-3, 7-1 in American Athletic Conference. They finished with a share of the AAC title.
It was a disappointing season for Grand Bahamian Knowles and his Hokies, but an opportunity remains to salvage the season with a bowl victory.
Knowles fell out of favour with head coach Frank Beamer’s staff and finished the year with just three catches for 55 yards and no touchdowns.
For his three year career in Blacksburg, Virginia, he has totalled 67 catches for 936 yards and four yards.
The Hokies opened the season at 2-0, including a win over then ranked No.8 Ohio State, but has since lost consecutive games at home in Lane Stadium, most recently a 27-24 loss this weekend to ACC foe, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Knowles caught two passes for 19 yards, one rush for seven yards and returned one kickoff for 29 yards in the loss. On the season Knowles has three catches for 55 yards.
For Knowles, a junior season that began with lofty expectations only to be derailed by off-season injury is back on track as the Hokies face depth issues at the wide receiver position.
After a promising sophomore campaign, Knowles was expected to emerge in the Hokies new-look offence following the departure of quarterback Logan Thomas to the NFL.
As a sophomore, he had his best season to date when he totalled 43 receptions for 619 yards and three touchdowns, good for an average of 14.4 yards per catch and a best of 56 yards.
Ferguson chose to redshirt his true freshman season to better prepare himself for next year.
When he makes his debut in the 2015 campaign, Ferguson hopes to contend for a position in the starting lineup with the University of Cincinnati Bearcats.
“I’m not playing this year and I chose to redshirt to give myself a better opportunity next year,” he said. “During training camp they had me at offensive line but when I got back to school they moved me back to defensive line because both the the O-line and D-line coaches wanted me to play on their side of the ball from I stepped on campus. They basically left the decision up to me.”
Ferguson was initially recruited as a defensive lineman. He came to the Bearcats as a three-star recruit, according to ESPN.com, and has a pair of stars from 247sports.com and Scout.com.
As a defensive lineman in his senior season at Lake Nona High School in Orlando, Florida, he recorded 17 total tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
NCAA bowl games can award their participants up to $550 in gifts.
Participants in the Military Bowl will be treated to what has been ranked among some of the best gift packages of this season.
The Military Bowl gifts will include a Microsoft Xbox One console, Under Armour backpack, Might Boom Ball speakers and a beanie.