Pinstripe Bowl Practice

Pinstripe Bowl Practice, Dec. 27, 2021.

Virginia Tech will travel to the Bronx to play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29 against the Maryland Terrapins, who are now members of the Big Ten. The former ACC rivals are meeting for the first time since 2013. 

After a strong start to the season, things mostly unraveled down the stretch for the Hokies (6–6, 4–4 ACC). This became an all-too-familiar theme under former coach Justin Fuente, who was let go after the Duke game in mid-November. The Hokies were able to salvage their season and earn bowl eligibility by beating archrival Virginia in Charlottesville. The win allowed Virginia Tech to retain the Commonwealth Cup and continue its dominance in the series. 

Maryland (6–6, 3–6 Big Ten) once again started strong in nonconference play, but struggled in Big Ten play. Blowout losses to Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa have shown that the Terrapins are not ready to compete against the Big Ten’s elite. In an absolutely rugged Big Ten East that makes competitions even more difficult, the Terrapins were still able to salvage bowl eligibility for the first time since 2016 by routing Rutgers 40–16 to end the season. 

Both teams will be looking to finish with a winning record. For the Hokies, it’s about establishing momentum for the start of the Brent Pry era. The former Penn State defensive coordinator has taken over the program and overhauled the staff, including replacing defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton and embattled offensive coach Brad Cornelsen. Quarterback Braxton Burmeister, wide receiverTayvion Robinson and running back Raheem Blackshear will not play for the Hokies, as all have either entered the transfer portal or declared for the NFL Draft. However, this should provide an opportunity for young players on offense to step up, and the defense should be able to finish out strong against a capable Maryland passing attack. 

Prediction: Virginia Tech wins a close game 27–20.

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