Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What to Watch vs. Maryland

Most stats are from cfbstats.com.

Lane Stadium

- Lane better be at its fiercest. This is a national televised Thursday night game in Blacksburg. After two lackluster environments in Boston and Tallahassee, I want to experience Lane as I know and love it. As a place where dreams go to die for opposing teams. As a place where Miami had its national title hopes doused in 2003. As a place where Clemson couldn't top 100 yards rushing with Davis and Spiller in 2006. If you plan on giving up if things don't go right for Holt or Glennon and the offense early, don't show up. But if you're going to try and will Virginia Tech to a much-needed win, feel free to join me at Lane on Saturday.

UPDATE: CGB agrees with my sentiment.


- It will be the movable object against the penetrable force when the Hokies have the ball. Virginia Tech has the worst offense in the ACC, averaging 280.0 YPG, while Maryland's D is No. 11 in the ACC, giving up 365.6 YPG.

- Whether it's Cory Holt or Sean Glennon at quarterback (my money's on Holt), the Hokies will stick to their run-first mentality. Probably more so than before. It will be up the offensive line, which isn't bad at run blocking, to open holes for Evans and Oglesby. The Hokies are No. 4 in the ACC in yards per game on the ground, averaging 160.0 yards per game. However, the Hokies get those yards by grinding it out. Only GT has more carries per game than Tech's 43.6 in the ACC.

- Maryland's defense gives up slightly more than what the Hokies average per carry. The Terps give up 3.7 yards per carry while the Hokies average 3.6.

- I don't think the Terps are as good on defense as they have been in years past, especially on the defensive line. Their best defensive player, Will Linebacker Dave Philistin, is questionable for the game with a shoulder injury. I like our offense's chances of moving the ball.

- Holt may not be as good a passer as Glennon, but he's a capable passer and is at least Tyrod's equal through the air. What I liked about Holt was he made his decisions, made them quickly and got rid of the ball. He took one sack, but for the most part was confident in the pocket and moved to either improve his throwing lane or escape a collapsing pocket. I think he'll be fine.


- The Terps will also look to run when they have the ball. They have two capable running backs, with the best being Da'Rel Scott. Not surprisingly, Scott has done much better in the Terps wins than in their losses. He averages 111.8 yards in Maryland's wins and 79.5 yards in its losses. Maryland loses when you force them to pass early and often. In its five wins, Scott averages almost 22 carries per game. In the two losses, he had 22 total carries.

- However, Scott is slowed by a sore shoulder and is questionable for Thursday's game. My guess is he plays, but not much. He'll probably get about five carries to see how the shoulder feels. That's not good for the Terps because Scott currently leads the ACC in yards per game at 102.6. He's eighth in the conference with 5.5 yards per carry.

- Freshman Davin Meggett was solid against NC State's porous defense a week and a half ago. Meggett is the son of former New England Patriot Dave Meggett. He came in for Scott late in the game against NC State and had a 31-yard reception that set up the game winning field goal.

- Meggett has the pedigree, but is untested. He has averaged 6.3 carries per game and has not carried the ball more than 13 times in a game. While the Hokie defense has not been as good this year as in the past, there is still a big difference between running against NC State and Delaware and running against Virginia Tech.

- While I would consider the Terps a run-first team, they are a very good passing team. Chris Turner has the Terps playing much better since he took over for Jordan Steffy. He has an experience O-line and plenty of targets to throw to.

- Turner, unlike Crane and Ponder, is not a threat to run and doesn't have good enough speed to avoid our defensive ends. The difference is I think Maryland's O-line is better than BC and FSU's. The results will be there for the defensive line if they can get pressure.

- The combination of the two wide receivers (Darrius Heyward-Bey and Danny Oquendo) and the tight end (Dan Gronkowski) is the best in the ACC, in my opinion. Maryland is No. 3 in the ACC in yards per attempt with 7.2. This is a problem for the Hokies, since they are D.A.L. in the ACC, giving up 7.7 YPA.

- I hope this doesn't turn into a replay of the BC game, where the Hokies are able to stop the run and do well against the pass for the most part, but are susceptible to big plays through the air. Deep field communication between Kam and Dorian Porch is going to be incredibly important Thursday.


- For whatever reason, I am infinitely confident about Tech's chances on Thursday. It's the exact opposite feeling I had going into the Florida State game. I can't point to a tangible reason why I think we win this game going away, it's just the feeling I have. I think being back at home for a night game in The Burg will re-energize this team. I believe blindly in Cory Holt's ability to manage this offense and do enough to give the Hokies the win. I like Holt and hope this is his chance to do something he can be remembered for at Tech.

Check the Box Score for:

1. VT rushing yards
2. UMd rushing yards
3. Turnovers
4. VT sacks
(Yeah, yeah, I know. Not exactly going on a limb here. But it's going to be that kind of game. The major stats will decide it.)

VT Players to Watch

32 - Darren Evans, So., RB
12 - Cory Holt, Sr., QB
45 - Purnell Sturdivant, Sr., LB
17 - Kam Chancellor, Jr., FS

UMd Players to Watch

8 - Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jr., WR
41 - Davin Meggett, Fr., RB
55 - Trey Covington, Sr., LEO (DE/LB)
40 - Jeremy Navarre, Sr., DT

Score: Virginia Tech 27, Maryland 6

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