The Virginia Tech Hokies entered the New Era Pinstripe Bowl with several key starters opting out of the game either for NFL preparations or transfer portal entry. WR Tre Turner, WR Tayvion Robinson, QB Braxton Burmeister, OL Lecitus Smith, DE Amare Barno, DT Jordan Williams, CB Jermaine Waller, and backup QB Knox Kadum were all absent. With Texas A&M transfer, Connor Blumrick, under center as the starter the Hokies were expected to spend a lot of effort on the running game. During the first half the Hokie struggled to establish the rushing game. 32 of 43 offensive plays were runs, but VT only managed 88-yards (2.8 YPC) on the ground. There were flashes of a passing game, highlighted by a 42-yard completion to Jaden Payoute that set up a Virginia Tech field goal. The Hokies were able to put together a complete drive late in the second quarter with Blumrick running for a TD after marching 75-yards. The Maryland Terrapins were slow to start on offense with their sole first quarter score coming from a 92-yard punt return touchdown. Tagovailoa found his stride during the second quarter though and the Terps scored an additional 17 points. Tahj Bullock made his Virginia Tech debut during the TD scoring drive, handing the ball of twice, before handing the reigns back to Blumrick.
Maryland received the second half kickoff and their offense continued to march down the field, scoring a field goal on their first possession of the half. The game was put out of reach when the Terps scored a 32-yard touchdown on a fourth down attempt to put Maryland up 34-10 with 6:48 remaining in the third quarter. With a healthy lead the Terrapins largely stuck to the ground and were able to do what they wished, earning multiple rushing first downs, and scoring another rushing TD during the final seconds of the third quarter. To start the fourth quarter Blumrick was leveled by an untouched Maryland defender, resulting in a scoop and score fumble. Tahj Bullock entered the game after and attempted to get the Hokies going in the right direction, but his first full series ended with a VT punt. In the end, Maryland obliterated Virginia Tech, 54-10.
Maryland scored in the air, on the ground, on special teams, and on defense. It was a complete domination. With all the starters that opted out and the instability of the last few weeks, this game was always going to be tough. Hats off to Coach Price and the young players that stepped up to give it their all and give us a game! Thank you to the players that gutted it out in a tough situation and high-pressure environment. The rebuild begins now.