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Three takeaways from Maryland football’s 54-10 victory over Virginia Tech in Pinstripe Bowl

Maryland football’s 54-10 win over Virginia Tech in the Pinstripe Bowl was significant, and not just because of the final score. The Terps not only won their first bowl game since 2010, but the program secured its first winning season in seven years.

From the young players getting experience to senior wide receiver Darryl Jones having a career day in his final game as a Terp, here are three takeaways from Maryland’s blowout victory at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.

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Maryland’s underclassmen step up

During the weeks leading up to the Pinstripe Bowl, Maryland coach Mike Locksley emphasized how this was the start of the 2022 season. He wanted to use the extra practices to develop the young players on the roster.

Sophomore defensive lineman Isaac Bunyun and freshman defensive lineman Darrell Jackson, who had six tackles, were in the starting lineup. All three of Maryland’s rushing touchdowns came from freshmen running backs Colby McDonald, Antwain Littleton and Roman Hemby (John Carroll).

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The last time Hemby played was during Maryland’s win over Howard in Week 2 when he carried the ball 12 times for 45 yards and a touchdown. On Wednesday, he was much more involved as he returned a kickoff for 28 yards in the second quarter and finished with five carries for 26 yards and a 2-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter.

Littleton, who hadn’t played this season, rushed for 45 yards on seven carries. Overall, five players had between four and eight carries and each had between 26 and 57 yards as Maryland finished with 206 yards on 28 carries. It was clear Locksley committed to getting the young guys involved.

“Our coaches did a really good job with the 15 practices — 14, however many it was — of really developing these guys, and I think it paid off,” Locksley said. “We’ve got some talented young players, and it was a great way to start off the 2022 season.”

Maryland wide receiver Darryl Jones, right, finished with four catches for a career-high 111 yards and the first two touchdowns of his career.
Maryland wide receiver Darryl Jones, right, finished with four catches for a career-high 111 yards and the first two touchdowns of his career. (Adam Hunger/AP)

Darryl Jones has career day in final game as a Terp

For four years, Jones waited for his moment in the spotlight. Before the Pinstripe Bowl, he had not caught a touchdown in college, so it was only fitting for his breakout performance to come in his final game.

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Jones not only caught his first score, but he had one in each half on his way to finishing with four catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns. After he caught a 70-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa in the second quarter and a 32-yard score in the third, Jones was so locked in that he couldn’t fully appreciate what was happening until after the game.

“I wasn’t thinking about it,” Jones said. “I’m just, like, let’s keep going, let’s keep going. Thinking about it, it is crazy. This is my first time being here, first time scoring, first time [in a] bowl game. I’ll definitely remember this. I’ll tell this story for I don’t know how many years, but it’s definitely special.”

Maryland dominated the third quarter

Maryland put the pedal to the medal in the third quarter, crushing the worn-down Hokies in all three phases and outgaining them 187-8.

The Terps’ defense held Virginia Tech running back Raheem Blackshear, who finished with 12 carries for 46 yards after he ran for 169 yards against Virginia in the regular-season finale, to 8 yards in the third. Hokies quarterback Connor Blumrick, who made his first career start after transferring from Texas A&M, went 1-for-4 with 2 passing yards in the quarter.

Much of the dominance had to do with Maryland controlling the clock with extended possessions. The Terps had the ball for 11:38 compared with Virginia Tech’s 3:22. Maryland was 2-for-2 on red-zone scoring chances and converted three of five third-down opportunities.

Meanwhile, Tagovailoa was 6-for-9 for 73 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 42 yards on four carries.

“Our quarterback stayed consistent with his execution, and the guys up front gave him time to make the throws, and also we were able to run the ball, and I think that played a major part in it,” Locksley said. “Wore them down a little bit.”

Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was named the game's most valuable player after completing 20-of-24 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns.
Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was named the game's most valuable player after completing 20-of-24 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns. (Adam Hunger/AP)
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