The 2021 Pinstripe Bowl is here with Virginia Tech looking to end the brief J.C. Price era with a second win in three games while Maryland is looking for their first winning season since 2014 season. Today's game also brings a return of a brief ACC rivalry that we first saw return on the court earlier this fall when the Hokies beat the Terps in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge.
So will Tech have the same success in Yankee Stadium as they did in College Park earlier this fall? Check out all our coverage including some links to other Pinstripe Bowl stories plus our picks below.
- Three Things to Watch for VT Against Maryland
- Three Freshman Hokies to Watch in the 2021 Pinstripe Bowl
- Virginia Tech Reveals Special Yankees Tribute Uniforms
This is going to be a tough matchup for Virginia Tech as the offense is limited while the defense may spend a lot of time out on the field given how Maryland is very likely to load the box and force the Hokies to try to put together some sort of passing attack.
Connor Blumrick has proven he can be a tough runner, but he is a very limited passer than teams have gotten a clear read on. We saw that in the UVA game where Braxton Burmeister was significantly more effective because he brought a passing threat while Blumrick didn't and allowed UVA to load the box, something that I would expect Maryland to do plenty of.
However, the Terps' rush defense has been okay at best so if Tech can get some unpredictability with their RB duo of Raheem Blackshear and Malachi Thomas and put together a strong OL performance, they may have a chance.
With no rain in the forecast, Maryland's strong passing attack led by Taulia Tagovailoa and star WR Rakim Jarrett will be ready to test a Tech secondary that's without Jermaine Waller who opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft. Tech will need their whole secondary at their best against a Terps' offense that has 10 players with 18+ receptions this season with Dorian Strong likely to lead this unit matched up against Jarrett.
Tech is pulling out all the stops for this game and while they will fight admirably, their offensive predictability with Blumrick is going to be a big issue as the Terps will get the job done against a Hokies' team that knows they need to find a QB in the transfer portal this offseason.
Pick: Maryland 24, Virginia Tech 13
Be prepared to get a solid glance into the foreseeable future when the Hokies and Terrapins battle in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
After finishing off the regular season with a victory over Virginia, many of the top players on the Hokies’ roster have opted out of the contest or have entered the transfer portal, giving J.C. Price’s side an uphill battle on Wednesday.
This game still holds a great deal for the Hokies. After a roller coaster season where the last six weeks have seen Justin Fuente mutually agree to part ways, Brent Pry given the keys, changes to the roster, and a National Signing Day; this program is still motivated to post a win in the Bronx.
Taking a glance into the Hokies’ recent bowl game history, it hasn’t been too bright.
After opting-out of participating in a bowl game in 2020, the Hokies haven’t been victorious in postseason football since defeating Arkansas 35-24 in the 2016 Belk Bowl. Their three straight defeats was the longest losing bowl game losing streak since prior to the Frank Beamer era.
Going five straight years without a bowl game victory would feel like a dark spot for the program, but they can throw that all behind them with 60 minutes of successful football.
As previously stated with all the opt-outs for Virginia Tech, their opponent in the Terrapins have been on the rise in the past few seasons and will be making its first bowl game appearance in the third season of the Mike Locksley era.
Despite the changes that Maryland and Virginia Tech have dealt with over the past month, we should still expect a highly competitive matchup in New York where one program looks to build on its future as one side looks to start anew.
As both sides face off to secure a winning record in 2021, I believe the Terrapins have the slight edge heading into Wednesday’s matchup and pull out a tight one in the concrete jungle.