Virginia Tech and Maryland will get tangled up in Pinstripe Bowl

Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” returns to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, only the stunner will blare through the speakers before a game, not near the end.

Mariano Rivera’s famous entrance song is also used by the Virginia Tech football team during the pregame run out of the tunnel, and it will be played for the Hokies prior to their New Era Pinstripe Bowl appearance against Maryland.

Major League Baseball shut its players out this month and COVID-19 is still causing damage elsewhere in the NCAA bowling season, but the familiar tune will ensure a strong Yankees connection and some normality for the 11th edition of the Pinstripe Bowl after the game. last year in The Bronx was canceled due to the pandemic.

Virginia Tech (6-6) extended the longest streak in the nation with 29 consecutive bowling-eligibility seasons (since 1993) and will face former ACC nemesis Maryland (6-6).

Junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, has thrown 3,595 yards and 24 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 12 games for the Terrapins, the seventh Big Ten program in seven seasons of the conference’s affiliation to the Pinstripe Bowl to accept a bid.

“He’s really good and the best thing he’s doing is extending games,” Virginia Tech interim coach JC Price said during a conference call on Tuesday. “And when he extends them, you have quarterbacks who seem to run, but what he does great is the first guy almost never knocks him down.

“Usually if you run more than five, six seconds the advantage goes to attack and that’s what he’s had them do all year and why they pass the numbers so well.”

Price, the former Virginia Tech defensive coach, took over in November when head coach Jason Fuente was fired with a 5-5 record. The Hokies practiced at Columbia’s facilities in Inwood this week, while Maryland trained at The Bronx in Fordham, where the legendary Vince Lombardi played and began his collegiate coaching career.

“Man, clear the history there at Fordham, some of the great coaches who’ve spent time there, they’ve got a little something in the locker room with Vince Lombardi, who’s pretty much one of the forefathers in the game,” Maryland coach Mike Locksley said . “It’s a great experience for our players to be there on campus. … It’s all done top-notch here.”

Spending a few days in New York around the holidays is always part of the game’s appeal, even though COVID-19 has limited some of this week’s activity. Price called visiting the 9/11 Memorial “the most important” thing he did with his team before the game.

“To go to the site and go through the museum and relive that tragic day, not to say that was fun, but it’s definitely the most impressive part of our visit,” Price said. “To see our players go through that museum and the time and details it took those guys to read those things, I think we could have probably spent eight hours there.

“That was just really moving and the respect that everyone went through that museum with… that was a special moment. That will probably be something I’ll keep close to my heart forever.”

Virginia Tech and the Yankees have a historic bond — and the Hokies announced Tuesday that they’ll be wearing the interlocking “NY” on one side of their helmets on Wednesday.

In 2007, the Yankees made a $1 million donation to the university after a shooting on the Blacksburg campus and played an exhibition game against the Tech baseball team the following year.

“We checked out some highlights from the game and some news stories from when they were here in ’08,” said Price. “We said [the players] the history, the background. When something happens, you get that person who says, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” Or you have people who just do something, like George Steinbrenner.”

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