What: Resurgent Maryland and pass-happy Deacs meet in a game with surprising conference implications
Where: BB&T Field, Wake Forest
Where to Watch: Break out your 'puter again; ESPN360 only
In a Nutshell:
Wake Offense vs. Maryland Defense: Watch out for one of the best passing attacks in the country. Riley Skinner is efficient and generally error-free. He has plenty of targets to throw to, with budding star Marshall Williams flanked by Chris Givens and Devon Brown. However, WF lacks a consistent running game and their offensive line has been banged up and many linemen have been switching positions. Expect Don Brown to dial up the blitz packages all day against a weakened OL to force Skinner into mistakes.
Maryland Offense vs. Wake Defense: The Terps are without Da'Rel Scott, yes, but they're going up against a team that has struggled against the pass anyway. Chris Turner will probably be busy against the mediocre pass defense. Torrey Smith should have a good day against Anthony Ghee, who has had trouble in coverage, and the young Kenny Okoro, who could be mistake-prone if challenged. Even better, Wake Forest has had struggled getting to the QB, as they're one of the worst in the country in sacks and tackles for loss. If Maryland can give Turner a little bit of time and don't turn the ball over, this could work.
Keys to the Game:
Staying motivated - Maryland's coming off a huge win, and that's a recipe for disaster (see last year's Virginia game). They're good enough to win, but they've got to stay focused.
Redevelop running game - Yeah, Wake's defense isn't great against the pass, but even the worst of teams can sell out against the pass and stop the offense. Getting the running going again would be extremely beneficial.
Mistake free - Wake's stats are misleading; they've played some very good teams. This is a good team; if Maryland is to have a shot at winning, they can't kill themselves with penalties and turnovers.
Which is how it came to be that Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker earned a face-to-face greeting from the sophomore safety.
Wake Forest Preview - N&O
Wake's defense is barely average, but if Maryland can't run for more than 69 yards again, the Deacons are good enough to absorb some passing damage by Turner. After all, they survived N.C. State's Russell Wilson a week ago in the same stadium.
Maryland's Defense Making Strides - Sun
"I certainly had some concerns," Brown, 54, said this week as Maryland (2-3, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) prepared for its first ACC road game, against Wake Forest (3-2, 1-1). "It's funny. When I went in '98 to UMass [as defensive coordinator], it took us about six or seven games, and then over the last bit of the season right through the [Division I-AA] national championship game we played really well," Brown said.
Without Scott, No Change of Pace for Terps - WT
"The two freshmen that's behind me and Meggett, they're players," Douglas said. "So we can fill the void. No question."