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Maryland-Virginia Tech preview: Last time's a charm?

Maryland has never defeated Virginia Tech in ACC play. Could that change Saturday?

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when Maryland was 5-1? I sure do. Three conference losses later, and Maryland is still hoping for that last win to secure bowl eligibility. This week, they face a very talented Virginia Tech team in Blacksburg that looks on track to win the Coastal Division (as long as Duke loses one of the three remaining games).

The two teams have played four times since Virginia Tech joined the ACC. Maryland has lost all four, with the closest margin of defeat sitting at ten points.

Let's run the matchup down, unit by unit.

Maryland offensive line vs. Virginia Tech defensive line:

To add to Maryland's offensive line misery, true freshman starting left tackle Moise Larose will miss this game with an injury.

The Hokies are tied with Clemson for the conference lead in sacks, with 31, and have five different defensive lineman with at least four this season. Leading the way is junior defensive tackle Luther Maddy, who has 10.5 tackles for a loss and six-and-a-half sacks this season.

Advantage: Virginia Tech.

Maryland defensive line vs. Virginia Tech offensive line:

You know, I started this section by writing that this is Maryland's only unit that has been healthy all year, but then I realized that isn't true. Besides the season-ending injury to Ty Tucker (which I wasn't going to count because he was unlikely to play anyway), Zeke Riser missed the first part of the season. How quickly we can forget.

Anyway, the Hokies have only given up 18 sacks all season.

Advantage: Virginia Tech.

Maryland rushing offense vs. Virginia Tech front seven:

The Terps' have shown either an inability or an unwillingness to run the ball as of late, with C.J. Brown's noticeable jitters combined with (or caused by) atrocious offensive line play.

Virginia Tech has a Virginia Tech defense, which means they are mean, make plays in the backfield, and take the ball away from you.

Advantage: Virginia Tech.

Maryland front seven vs. Virginia Tech rushing offense:

Maryland returns Cole Farrand and a fully-healthy Lorne Goree, which should make a big difference against a Virginia Tech offense that has struggled to run the ball this season. The Hokies are averaging 3.3 yards per carry, with Trey Edmunds leading the way at 3.8 and nine touchdowns. Logan Thomas is also a weapon on the ground (more on that later), but has not been able to replicate his successes from the last two years in that area.

Advantage: Maryland.

Maryland receivers vs. Virginia Tech secondary:

Maryland is now down to four wide receivers -- Nigel King, Malcolm Culmer, Amba Etta-Tawo and Daniel Adams. Virginia Tech has 17 interceptions this season, including nine from true freshmen Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson. The Hokies have also broken up 37 passes this season (ten by senior Kyle Fuller).

Advantage: Virginia Tech.

Maryland secondary vs. Virginia Tech receivers:

The Hokies have six different players averaging at least ten yards per catch, led by Joshua Stanford (34 receptions for 562 yards and one score) and Willie Byrn (40 catches for 529 yards and one score). Their touchdown threat is D.J. Coles, who has five touchdowns on just 19 catches.

Maryland, meanwhile, gets Anthony Nixon back at safety, but the injury issues at cornerback continue to plague them.

Advantage: Virginia Tech.

Maryland quarterback vs. Virginia Tech quarterback:

You can say what you want about Logan Thomas's tendency for turnovers, but he showed all the potential in the world against Miami and looks miles better than a post-Florida State C.J. Brown.

Advantage: Virginia Tech.

Maryland special teams vs. Virginia Tech special teams:

Virginia Tech kicked kicker Cody Journell off the team this week, so Maryland has a decided advantage here.

Advantage: Maryland.

Overall impressions and final tally

Virginia Tech, 6-2.

Our prediction: Virginia Tech 34, Maryland 13.