What: Maryland takes on Virginia Tech in Jamarr Robinson's starting debut
When: 1 pm.
Where: Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium, College Park, Maryland
In a Nutshell:
- Maryland Offense vs. Virginia Tech Defense: Tech's passing defense is notoriously solid - 8th in the country, as a matter of fact. It's a good thing that Jamarr Robinson, who's never had more than a half of real PT (and that half came last week), is making his debut as a starting QB against them, right? Yeah, the passing game will be tough to watch. Thus, it makes sense that Maryland would run the ball, especially because VT's running defense is good but not great (69th). In fact, that's how teams have stayed close to the Hokies in the past few games - stuffing the ball in the middle of the line. The problem there is that the defense probably won't be able to slow Tech's offense, so they'll be in a hole all game. It's both common sense and a notrious reputation of Maryland's coaches to abandon the run quickly, so we'll have to see how committed Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin are to keeping the ball on the ground.
- Virginia Tech Defense vs. Maryland Offense: Ryan Williams has led the Hokies to the 21st ranked rushing attack in the country, and I was surprised to see it that low. Every time I see VT, it seems that they really do well on the ground. Alex Wujciak, the best run defender on the team, will have his hands full with Williams, but it's games like these that make you really appreciate Wujciak. Tech doesn't turn away from the run very often (they're 103rd, but not for lack of execution - it's for lack of passing the ball a lot), but if they're forced to, they can do some damage. Tyrod Taylor is 32nd in the nation in passing efficiency, and he can make plays with his feet if Maryland's able to collapse the pocket. The problem here is that the only way to effectively stop Williams is loading up the box, and then Taylor can make the easy throw. Don Brown has to cook up something special for this one.
- Pound the Rock: Give the ball to Davin Meggett, Gary Douglas, and Caleb Porzel. All. Game. Long. The offensive line will have to show up for this one, but if Maryland can make a dent in the middle of the Tech DL, they'll have a shot.
- Prevent Williams, Contain Taylor: I'm not a DC, but if the way I look at stopping Tech's offense is to keep Ryan Williams in check as much as possible while giving Tyrod Taylor some open receivers, but preventing the big play. Taylor's not perfect, and if he has to throw too much, he's liable to make a mistake.
- Special Teams and Defense: Maryland's offense isn't good enough to straight up stand up to VT. We'll need at least 14 points from the defense or special teams to stay close in this one.
Players to Watch:
- Caleb Porzel, RB, Maryland - Ok, so I call it every single game, but I'm seeing a big run for Porzel today. Gotta happen eventually.
- Whoever Lines Up at Guard - Does this make sense? Maryland needs to attack the middle of the line like the last few teams did. They don't have the pedigree to do it, but you never know who might have a good day.
- Jason Worilds, DE, Virginia Tech - Worilds' stats have been lackluster compared to what most expected out of him, but he's still really talented. It's another marquee matchup for Bruce Campbell.
- Kam Chancellor, S, Virginia Tech - He's a risk-taker - he might come up with a big play, or he might take a chance and give up a big play.
- Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech - It's definitely obvious, but it's also right: if Williams is contained, Maryland has a chance.
- Dyrell Roberts, WR, Virginia Tech - Tech's version of Torrey Smith, Roberts is a playmaker both at WR and on the kickoff return team.
- Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland - The team's (ACC's?) premier run defender, Wujciak is due for a 15 tackle day. He'll have to have a solid one to keep Maryland in it.
Kenny Tate, S, Maryland - Maryland's version of Chancellor, we'll need another big play from Tate today, and not a poor angle on Williams.