2009 Virginia Tech Football: What to Watch vs. Maryland

The Team

  • I'd like to see the Hokies take care of business in this one. It's been a while since Tech really laid the wood to a team on the road. We allowed Duke to hang around way to long earlier this year. Last year, we lost three conference road games and needed a big comeback to beat UNC.
  • The last road beat down the Hokies issued in conference play was 2007 against Georgia Tech, Duke and Clemson. Maryland is a team Tech SHOULD beat easily. But few things have been easy for this team the last month.
  • I hope to see the Hokies stop puckering up like they have been since the kickoff of the Georgia Tech game and start playing loose like they were against BC, Duke and Miami. TCB, Hokies.
  • The argument has been made that Maryland is better than its 2-7 record indicates. After all, it beat Clemson. But the Terps two wins were also by three points each. Maryland may be thiiiiiis close to being in contention for a bowl, but its also thiiiiiis close to being 0-9.

Virginia Tech Offense vs. Maryland Defense

  • Maryland's pass defense has been awful this year. While the short passing game was open against East Carolina, I think we'll be able to get guys open deep against the Terps. The injury to Nolan Carroll really hurt Maryland's secondary and while I think free safety Terrell Skinner is a decent player, he can't be everywhere.
  • The other Maryland defender I like is Alex Wujciak. He and two other Terps had interceptions against NC State, which helped move Maryland to +1 in turnover margin in conference games. The Terps are -9 in turnover margin in all games, thanks in large part to a five-turnover day against Rutgers.
  • Amazingly, Maryland's run defense isn't terrible. You look at the roster and other than Wujciak, there isn't a guy that pops out at you, but they are holding conference opponents to under three yards per carry, the best in the ACC.
  • Clemson, Virginia and Duke really struggled running the ball against Maryland. But Wake Forest and even NC State saw some success. Good running backs can get yards against this defense. Hell, James Madison had over six yards per carry against them.
  • The key to keeping Maryland from hanging around will be converting when we get deep on its side of the field. That's something the Hokies have struggled with lately, but have been largely successful with over the span of the whole year.
  • Maryland is one of the worst teams in the conference defending in the red zone. Opponents score touchdowns nearly two-thirds of the time they get in the Terps' red zone.

Virginia Tech Defense vs. Maryland Offense

  • We will likely see Jamarr Robinson at quarterback for the Terps. Robinson saw his first significant time in a Maryland uniform last week after the injury to Chris Turner.
  • Robinson is an elusive quarterback who didn't do anything special against NC State, but didn't do anything incredibly stupid either. As the guys from Testudo Times pointed out, he looked very confident at QB.
  • Then again, I'd look pretty confident, too, facing NC State's defense. The goal for the Hokies should be to force Robinson out of his comfort zone, but not let him get free and make plays with his feet.
  • Cody Grimm should be able to put pressure on Robinson from the whip position in this game. But at the same time he can't let Robinson get to the outside where he can pick up extra yards.
  • If we see a big game from Stephan Virgil it will be good day for the Hokies. The Terps have a playmaker at wide receiver in Torrey Smith, but I think there's a better chance of him scoring on a kick return than on offense. But he's still dangerous in space like Darrius Heyward-Bey was last year scoring Maryland's only touchdown.
  • We'll get to see a good battle of kick returners between Smith and Dyrell Roberts. Both a very dangerous.
  • The Terps will be without Da'Rel Sc'ott at running back so I don't expect them to be able to accomplish much on the ground. They averaged 4.0 ypc against NC State, but haven't been able to establish a run game without Scott.
  • The one thing about the Terp RBs is that they are difficult to bring down in the backfield. Their 24 tackles for loss against in league games is the fewest among ACC teams.
  • The Terps haven't made many trips to the red zone (only 14 in five ACC games), but they've scored eight touchdowns and four field goals in those trips. That's not bad at all.

Outcome

  • Just a walk in the park, Kazansky.

Watch the Box Score For:

  • Virginia Tech yards per carry
  • Virginia Tech sacks
  • Maryland return yards
  • Maryland first down yards per play

Virginia Tech Players to Watch:

  • 5 - Tyrod Taylor, Jr., QB
  • 34 - Ryan Williams, Fr., RB
  • 22 - Stephan Virgil, Sr., CB
  • 26 - Cody Grimm, Sr., LB

Maryland Players to Watch:

  • 11 - Jamarr Robinson, So., QB
  • 82 - Torrey Smith, So., WR
  • 33 - Alex Wujciak, Jr., LB
  • 1 - Terrell Skinner, Sr., FS

Final Score

Virginia Tech 34, Maryland 14

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