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Pinstripe Bowl Preview: Maryland-Virginia Tech Preview, Picks, Predictions

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An old ACC showdown, and all Larry can talk about is...Rutgers?

NCAA Football: Maryland at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Maryland Terrapins vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

1:15pm | ESPN | MD -3.5 | O/U 54.5

Yankee Stadium (Bronx, NY)

larry31: VaTech parted ways with HC Justin Fuentes during the regular season and they are currently being led by interim HC JC Price. They have hired ex-PSU DC and defensive guru Brent Pry, so Price is auditioning for a position elswhere, not for the HC gig at Va Tech.

When Maryland Has the Ball

According to Football Outsiders, VaTech is ranked 58th on defense. By comparison, Rutgers ranked 52nd on defense and Illinois ranked 33rd. PSU is ranked 8th.

Maryland executed their offense efficiently against their most recent opponent, similarly-ranked Rutgers. The Terrapins struggled early in the year with Illinois and struggled with PSU’s top-10 defense.

VaTech’s defense is largely intact. It is solid, but not elite or formidable. I would expect similar offensive production against Va Tech as Rutgers. Maryland beat Rutgers to become bowl eligible, 40-16. I expect MD to score 28+ points against Va Tech.

When Virginia Tech Has the Ball

Given the upheaval at head coach, there have been the expected exodus of players to the NFL and transfer portal. VaTech finished the 2021 regular season ranked 74th in offense. And that was with their starting QB, Braxton Burmeister, who was their 2nd leading rusher: VaTech’s top two QBs have left the program. They are down to their 3rd string QB, and after that, a true freshmen who has not played. So, I expect Va Tech’s offense to be anemic. The one bright spot for Va Tech is that they are going against a MD defense that was ranked 106th.

Reports are VaTech’s 3rd string QB, Connor Blumrick, who will be the starter for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, is a big, physical guy who can run but ain’t so good at the pitch and catch part. I expect VaTech’s offense to look like a lesser version of Michigan State. Lots of rushing, but not as good. And not much passing, and also not as good as MSU.

Look for Maryland to totally load the box, which shut down the Spartans’ rushing attack, but left their DBs 1-on-1 for the entirety of the game. Michigan State made Maryland pay by executing their pass offense—VaTech will need to hit open receivers going against 1-on-1 coverage, but I don’t think the Hokies’ inexperienced QB with limited throwing skills will be able to make the Terps pay the way Michigan State did.

Special Teams?

The Zooker is still running special teams at MD. ’Nuff said, advantage Hokies.

Other Intangibles

  • First bowl game for MD since 2016.
  • VaTech just qualified for their 29th consecutive bowl game and have already hired a new head coach.
  • Maryland is truly excited to be playing in the Pinstripe Bowl.

I get the feeling VaTech feels like they are slumming, and might catch a figurative STD by being in such close proximity to a clearly inferior class of football team in the Maryland Terrapins. I tend to place a lot of value on psychological factors affecting the outcome of a football game. MD had the definite edge here.

Who wins?

Maryland’s proficient passing attack, led by Taulia Tagovailoa, should be effective against a Rutgers-like defense. Even though the Terps’ defense statistically sucked, they put together a solid effort against Rutgers with Brian Williams calling the plays instead of DC Brian Stewart.

I can’t overstate how much the above point is a key difference. Maryland allowed Indiana’s 114th ranked offense to score 35 points!!!! Rutgers’ 118th ranked offense only scored 16. I expect Va Tech, with their offense decimated by transfers due to the HC change, to look something like Rutgers and Indiana on offense.

Maryland takes this one by more than the 3.5 point spread.

Poll

Pick’em:

This poll is closed

  • 84%
    Maryland
    (95 votes)
  • 15%
    Virginia Tech
    (17 votes)
112 votes total Vote Now