Yankee Stadium –Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 265 yards and two TD passes brought his season total to 26, which tied the Terps’ single-season record. Maryland routed Virginia Tech to a tune of 54-10 in the Pinstripe Bowl on Wednesday.
With the win, Maryland secured their first winning record since 2014 and took a giant step forward under Coach Michael Locksley regime.
“The famous four words he says — ‘the best is ahead’ — I feel like that’s what we showed out there,” quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa said.
Tagovailoa took home the game’s MVP Trophy, helped the Terrapins (7-6) dismantle the Virginia Tech’s defense.
VT played Maryland without starting quarterback Braxton Burmeister, who entered the transfer portal after passing for 1,960 yards and 14 touchdowns. Knox Kadum, a reserve quarterback, also left the program, throwing Connor Blumrick, a junior who had previously attempted only 16 passes this season, into the starting role and into the lion’s den.
Blumrick scored the Hokies’ only touchdown with a three-yard rush into the end zone, but he finished with just 110 yards passing, completing 9 of 15 attempts. The Hokies were thin at wide receiver, missing their top two weapons in Tré Turner, who skipped the bowl for the NFL and Tayvion Robinson, who transferred to Kentucky.
Coach Brent Pry went on ESPN during the game to hype the 2022 season. Pry boasted, “We are gonna play a great brand of defense.” A few ticks later, Tagovailoa hit Jones on a deep route and a 14-3 lead. The Teps never looked back.
Tagovailoa hit Jones again in the third quarter for a 34-10 lead that helped Maryland with their first bowl win since 2010.
Darryl Jones, a senior wide receiver, had never caught a touchdown pass over his first 40 games. He had two and finished with 111 yards receiving against the Hokies (6-7).
Bruiser running back Antwain Littleton II had a 4-yard rushing TD for Maryland and Joseph Petrino answered the Hokies’ lone touchdown with a 44-yard field goal with 59 seconds left in the first half for a 24-10 lead. Roman Hemby scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter.
Maryland never let the foot off the gas pedal and played attacked football for four quarters. Virginia Tech QB Connor Blumrick fumbled in the fourth quarter and Greg Rose scooped the rock and ran 11 yards for a score and a 47-10 advantage.
Coby McDonald ended the scoring with a 20-yard sprint that made it 54-10 and wrapped head coach Mike Locksley’s first bowl win over seven seasons.
“We wouldn’t be in this situation that we’re in with the winning season if it wasn’t for Taulia,” Locksley said. “ Maybe we can get him a little bit of respect in terms of being one of the top quarterbacks in the country, which I really feel and believe he is.”
The Hokies have a special bond with the Yankees following the April 16, 2007 shooting on the Virginia Tech campus that left 32 dead. The Yankees made a $1 million donation to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund and followed up the next season with an exhibition game against Virginia Tech on the Blacksburg campus. The Yankees wore caps in the Hokies’ orange and maroon, their “NY” emblem on the front and a “VT” logo on the side.
The Hokies returned the favor in the Pinstripe Bowl and wore the interlocking “NY” on their helmets.
The winner of the Pinstripe Bowl receives the George M. Steinbrenner Trophy.
“He’s here in spirit. This game is all about him,” Levine said of the late Yankees owner.
The Hokies play their first game under Price on Sept. 3 at Old Dominion.
Maryland is set to open Sept. 3 against Buffalo.