The Teams: Maryland Terrapins (5-4) vs. Virginia Tech (7-3)
The Site: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
The Time: 12:30 PM
TV, Radio, Internet: WDCA, ESPN980, ESPN3
The Coaches: Frank Beamer (26th season, 223-107-2) and Randy Edsall (3rd season, 11-22)
Meeting the Opposition:
Virginia Tech has rebounded well this year from their disappointing season last year, finishing 7-6 and 4-4 in ACC play. After starting out the season with a loss to Alabama followed by a couple of unimpressive wins, Virginia Tech has really stepped up and played at a higher caliber during the ACC schedule.
In their win against Miami, Virginia Tech’s offense looked very impressive as quarterback Logan Thomas completed 80.6 percent of his passes for 366 yards and two touchdowns. Thomas has a reputation as an inconsistent quarterback, but he has led a Virginia Tech offense that has looked explosive, gaining 995 yards of offense in the past two games. Virginia Tech’s offense is contingent on Thomas’ success. You never know what kind of game you will get from him as he threw for 59 yards on 5-of-26 passing with one interception against Alabama. He will make or break the Virginia Tech’s offense.
On the other side of the ball, there is much more consistency as Virginia Tech’s defense is their strength. Virginia Tech leads the ACC in sacks, interceptions, and is second in pass deflections. There’s a reason for that as their defensive line anchored by Derrick Hopkins, Luther Maddy, J.R. Collins, and James Gayle. They have done a great job of putting pressure on all of the quarterbacks they’ve faced. The secondary led by the Fuller brothers and Antone Exum is a talented and speedy secondary that will make quarterback C.J. Brown pay if he makes a costly mistake.
Key Questions and Storylines
- Can Maryland get pressure on Logan Thomas?
- The first four games of the year, Maryland was one of the top defenses in the country and led the NCAA in sacks. They’ve showed the weapons that they have on defense. Then the Florida State game happened. Maryland has been kept quiet and has now fell to the sixth-best defense in ACC in terms of sacks. Putting pressure on Thomas will force him into some bad decisions, increasing Maryland’s ability to come away with the win.
- Can Maryland get their receivers space from the secondary?
- Maryland’s receiving corps took a loss when wideouts DeAndre Lane and Levern Jacobs were ruled out for the game. Ricardo Young, Maryland’s third string quarterback, has moved to receiver for the game in order to give Maryland some much needed depth. Going against a stellar secondary, offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will need to figure out a way to get the ball to their receivers. If they fail to do so, it will be another long game.
- Can the offensive line hold up against Virginia Tech?
- The offensive line was abysmal against Syracuse, giving Brown no time to throw and thus leading to minimal offensive success. Going against a great defensive line will be a huge test for them and they will have to do it without their new offensive tackle Moise Larose, who was ruled out with a foot injury. Arguably the biggest and most vital storyline, Maryland will need to get some success on the line in order to get any offensive success.
The Terrapins will win if:
- Maryland can open up their passing game and utilize the weapons left.
- Maryland can get pressure on Logan Thomas and force him to make mistakes.
The Terrapins will lose if:
- Logan Thomas has a good game and is able to open up the passing game.
- Maryland’s offensive line can’t contain Virginia Tech’s defensive line.