|Maryland lining up at the two-yard line before Roman Hemby's touchdown late in the third quarter. Photo by Jason Schott.
In the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, the Maryland Terrapins put on quite a show in a dominant performance in a 54-10 triumph over the Virginia Tech Hokies.
This was a triumph for the Yankees to pull this off after a one-year Covid absence, as bowl games have also been cancelled this season. The teams were treated to the usual festivities around New York City as well during the week leading up to the game, including ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and visiting the 9/11 Museum, despite concerns around the Omricon variant.
Maryland was led by quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, who completed 20 of 24 passes for 265 yards, with two touchdown passes.
"I think it's a great feeling," Tagovailoa said of winning in such a dominant fashion. "Coming into this game, we knew what was at stake. We are just happy it didn't get canceled. It means a lot for our Maryland family, our fans. They've been waiting a long time for us to have a winning season and make bowl games and win a lot of games. I know it's hard to stay patient and stuff like that, but we feel like the best is ahead, like I said. We're just continuing to get better, and Coach talked about this being the start of our next season, and so I feel like we gave people something to see."
Maryland Head Coach Michael Locksley said of the win, "Number one, I can't even put into words just how proud I am of this team. As I told the seniors before the game, we'll forever be indebted for those guys because they really have put this thing on a really solid foundation that I think shows the trajectory of what our program can be. We've come a long way as a program since 2019. It's been a lot of hard work. Hasn't been easy. These guys have bought into what you have to do to have winning football. The culture, the way you have to work, the habits and behaviors you got to create. To send the seniors out with a significant bowl win, a winning season means the world to me, and to me these guys, like I said, will forever be indebted for the leadership that they've shown."
Wide receiver Darryl Jones caught both of Tagovailoa's TD passes, and he made four catches for 111 yards overall.
The Maryland running game also had a big day, with 207 yards overall, led by Tayon Fleet-Davis, who had eight carries for 57 yards.
Maryland set the tone early when Tarheeb Still found ran back a punt 92 yards 2:16 into the game, finding a path up the right side of the field and having a clear lane just just past midfield, to make it 7-0. This came after Virginia Tech went three-and-out on their opening possession.
Virginia Tech got a field goal early in the second quarter, then Maryland responded in a big way. On the first play of a drive at the 9:27 mark of the second, Tagovailoa found Jones for a 70-yard pass to make it 14-3. After Virginia went three-and-out, Maryland took just 1:35 for a five-play, 60-yard drive capped by a four-yard TD run from Antwaine Littleton to open up a 21-3 lead.
Virginia responded with their best drive of the game, 13 plays for 75 yards over five minutes and 11 seconds, capped by a three-yard TD run from quarterback Connor Blumrick to cut it to 21-10.
Maryland got a 44-yard field goal from Joseph Petrino with 59 seconds left in the second, at the end of a six-play 60-yard drive, to take a 24-10 lead into the half.
Petrino got another field goal early in the third to cap off an 11-play, 63-yard, 4:47 drive, to make it 27-10 before Tagovailoa found Jones for a 32-yard touchdown at the 6:48 mark and Roman Hemby ran one in from two yards out with just 18 seconds left in the third to make it 41-10.
Then, just 10 seconds into the fourth, Greg Rose made a fumble recovery from 11 yards out to make it 47-10 Maryland. It stayed that way until there was just 1:12 left when Colby McDonald ran one in from 20 yards out to close out a 10-play, 80-yard drive, and make it 54-10, a fitting end to the day for the Terrapins.