This December 29th, the Maryland Terrapins take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2021 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. Both teams are on the east coast, so the stadium may be packed with both teams’ fans, making a home-field advantage seem bleak. The two teams ended their season 6-6 and ended their seasons with a win which gives them the same momentum coming into this matchup. Maryland has been in the news recently after acquiring several players from the Florida Gators and could lead them to a more impressive Big 10 position in next year’s season. The potential for a more stacked team next year may lift the team’s spirits and give them more momentum going into the bowl game. Virginia Tech has been rumored to have difficulties with their team due to COVID, so hopefully, the team will be healthy enough going into Wednesday afternoon.
Maryland Vs. Virginia Tech Betting Odds
Maryland Betting Odds
The star of the Maryland football team is none other than Taulia Tagovailoa, the brother of the Miami Dolphins quarterback. Taulia has been more than a brother following the shadow of an NFL player. He has created a name of his own on the Maryland team. Throughout the season, he has acquired 3,595 passing yards, which places him at twelfth in the nation for college QBs. He also has 24 touchdown passes and only eleven interceptions. When the team is doing well, Tagovailoa soars. In his winning games, he averages 345 yards. The losses the team has received all stem from top defensive teams such as Ohio State, Iowa, Michigan State, and Michigan, where he only averages 254 yards per game. Virginia Tech doesn’t have the same aggressive defense as the team’s Tagovailoa has faced this season, so he may surpass expectations in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Tagovailoa will most likely be looking towards his top receiver, Rakim Jarret, in this matchup. Jarret has 769 receiving yards on 56 receptions this season, proving him to be a threat to any defense. He averages around 13 yards per reception and is very capable of taking every ball to the endzone. In their last game against Rutgers, Jarret was able to turn his seven receptions into 111 yards with ease. The Virginia Tech defense will try their best to contain the sophomore, but the Taulia-Rakim combination may be too powerful to stop.
Virginia Tech Betting Odds
Virginia Tech is entering their 34th bowl game appearance in team history. They ended their 2021 regular season in third place in the ACC Coastal conference. They will be entering their bowl game after news that their six-year head coach, Justin Fuente, will not be returning next season. In the bowl game, the team will be coached by interim head coach JC Price, who has been the associate head coach and defensive line coach for the team all season. Price led the Hokies to victory in their last matchup against UVA and leaves the team feeling hopeful going into bowl week.
Earlier this month, Virginia Tech’s season QB1, Braxton Burmeister, entered the transfer portal, leaving the team weak on the offensive front. In his place, Connor Blumrick is set to start. Blumrick started his college football career at Texas A&M University as a rushing quarterback. The junior QB doesn’t have much experience throwing the ball this season, with only 42 passing yards, but he makes up for it with his rush ability. He has only played in five games this season for the Hokies but managed to acquire 231 rushing yards for two touchdowns on 41 attempts. The Maryland defense will be well aware of the rush option from the quarterback, which may force him to take the ball in the air more often, which can lead to errors. He has no interceptions on his 16 passing attempts, but that statistic may rise due to his lack of experience.
Maryland Vs. Virginia Tech Picks & Prediction
This will be the first time Maryland and Virginia Tech will face each other in a bowl game. DraftKings has favored the Terrapins in the matchup with a -3.5 (105) spread and a moneyline of -160. They’ve given the Hokies a spread of +3.5 (-115) with a moneyline of +140. With the quarterback and coaching struggles of Virginia Tech, I’m surprised the spread is not placed with a larger gap. It’s very difficult for a team to have success with an inexperienced quarterback and an interim head coach in any game. This will be especially hard against a powerful quarterback like Tagovailoa. Unfortunately for the Hokies, it’s beginning to look like the Maryland team will take home the New Era Pinstripe trophy.
My Pick: Maryland Win, Maryland Covers.