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Previewing the Foster Farms Bowl with a Stanford football reporter

Previewing the Foster Farms Bowl with a Stanford football reporter
Coach David Shaw and Stanford have grown accustomed to going to major bowls. This year, they stay close to home and face Maryland in the Foster Farms Bowl. (Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

As we've done all season, we preview Maryland's final football game of 2014 with a beat reporter who covers the Terps' opponent in the Foster Farms Bowl.

This week, we traded emails with Tom FitzGerald, who covers Stanford for the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Be sure to check out more of Tom's work here before the Terps and Cardinal kick off Dec. 30 at 10 p.m. from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

TRACKING THE TERPS: Before we get to the football, give us a scouting report on this bowl and the new stadium in Santa Clara. It may be a virtual home game for Stanford, but it's also going to be a desirable holiday getaway for a bunch of Terps fans. Any hot spots they should hit while they're out there?

TOM FITZGERALD: Lots of nice restaurants at Santana Row in San Jose. Orenchi Ramen in Santa Clara is a very popular Japanese restaurant. For geeks, there's the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. In Palo Alto, Evvia is the hottest restaurant; hard reservation to get. Old Pro is a great sports bar for those looking to catch up on other bowl games. Tamarine has high-end Vietnamese food. Cafe Alto, great Italian food, just reopened on University Ave. Pizzeria Delfina offers amazing pizza, salads, etc. Put your name on a chalkboard and wait. There's the original Gordon Biersch and a Tacolicious branch.

For those staying in San Francisco, there are too many great places to list here.

Bowl games occasionally come down to simply which team is more motivated. With this being Stanford's least significant bowl in years, is that a concern for the Cardinal?

Don't think so. Sure, they're disappointed they didn't reach the Rose Bowl, but they finished strong and are eager to prove their detractors wrong in this bowl game.

What's the biggest different between this Stanford team and the ones that went to four straight BCS bowls?

The previous teams had veteran offensive lines; this one had four new starters. The previous teams had powerful tailbacks, Stefan Taylor and then Tyler Gaffney. This team has a bunch of smaller, quick backs who don't break a lot of tackles.

Kevin Hogan quarterbacked the Rose Bowl teams the last two years, but before then, Andrew Luck was the QB. Luck was a once-in-a-generation type of player.

Can you give us a Stanford player we should keep an eye on in the game?

Either Devon Cajuste, a 6-4 wide receiver, especially if Ty Montgomery can't go because of his sprained shoulder. Or Remound Wright, who has advanced to the front of the pack of tailbacks.

And a prediction?

Stanford, 24-14.

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