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Maryland (3-2) at Virginia (2-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 13, 3:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Scott Stadium (61,500) -- Charlottesville, Virginia. Television: RSN. Home Record: Maryland 2-1, Virginia 2-1. Away Record: Maryland 1-1, Virginia 0-3. Neutral Record: Maryland 0-0, Virginia 0-0. Conference Record: Maryland 1-0, Virginia 0-2. Series Record: Maryland leads, 42-32-2.
GAME NOTES: After opening their ACC schedule with a win last week, the Maryland Terrapins will try to make it two in a row when they visit Scott Stadium to take on the Virginia Cavaliers.
Maryland kicked off its league slate with a 19-14 win over Wake Forest this past weekend. At times, the Terrapins have shown the look of a solid postseason contender, beating Temple on the road and dropping a tight contest at fifth-ranked West Virginia. The Terps have a fairly manageable schedule in the coming weeks, and another win here would certainly keep the team in the ACC title conversation.
Meanwhile, Virginia has dropped four in a row after a 2-0 start that included a comeback win over Penn State in early-September. Most recently, the Cavaliers were dealt a 42-17 loss at Duke last week, dropping to 0-2 in the ACC. Head coach Mike London made a quarterback change against Duke, inserting Phillip Sims, a transfer from Alabama, as the starter.
Maryland leads the all-time series, 42-32-2.
The Terrapins has been largely held in check this season. They enter this tilt ranked 103rd nationally in scoring offense (20.8 ppg) and 117th in total offense (274.0 ypg). Freshman Perry Hills appeared to come out of his shell a few weeks ago, throwing for a season-best 305 yards and three TDs against West Virginia. In last week's victory, Hills was more of a game manager, completing only 14-of-25 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. However, he also threw an interception and was sacked three times. Stefon Diggs turned in his second straight 100-yard receiving game, finishing with five catches for 105 yards. His 63-yard grab in the fourth quarter set up the game-winning one-yard touchdown run by Justus Pickett. Diggs ranks second in the ACC with 154.8 all- purpose yards per game.
The defense deserves much of the credit for last week's victory, as the Terps held Wake Forest to just 241 total yards. In fact, the Demon Deacons managed just 45 yards in the second half, including only four in the fourth quarter. Maryland has fared well on that side of the ball for much of the season, ranking seventh nationally in total defense (257.2 ypg). Demetrius Hartsfield turned in a strong effort against Wake, notching 10 tackles (seven solo), one pass breakup and a sack. His sack of Wake quarterback Tanner Price on 4th- and-15 with less than a minute to play sealed the outcome. Still, the Terps must come out more focused early in this week's contest after allowing Price to toss a 73-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game, which drained a lot of the energy from the home crowd.
Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco simply had not been getting the job done through the Cavaliers' first five games, so coach London decided it was time to make a switch against Duke. Sims and wide receiver E.J. Scott both made their first career starts, and Sims' first two passes went to Scott. Although the end result was still a loss, and a rather lopsided one, Sims did show some positive signs. In fact, his 268 passing yards were the second-most by a UVA QB making his first career start. He also got some rare help from the ground game as Kevin Parks scored a rushing TD in the first quarter, marking the team's first rushing score since the season opener, a span of 16 quarters.
After allowing an average of 17.5 points in its first two contests, Virginia has yielded an average of 42.3 points over the last four games, all losses. The team now ranks 100th in the nation and second-to-last in the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 34.0 ppg. The Cavs thought they were catching a bit of a break last week when Duke starting quarterback Sean Renfree was held out with an injured right elbow. However, his replacement, Anthony Boone, came in and threw four TD passes in his first start. Duke also found plenty of running lanes, averaging 5.1 yards per carry as a team. One area that UVA was able to clamp down was on third downs, as the Blue Devils converted only 3-of-14 such opportunities.
The Terps appear to be on the brink of making some real noise in the ACC, but they must take care of business in winnable league games such as this one. UVA's leaky defense could give the freshman Hills an opportunity to open things up with the passing game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Maryland 37, Virginia 20
10/10 10:35:20 ET