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Virginia (5-3) at Maryland (2-6)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: November 5th, 12:30 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Byrd Stadium (48,055) -- College Park, Maryland. Television: ACC Network. Home Record: Virginia 3-2, Maryland 2-4. Away Record: Virginia 2-1, Maryland 0-2. Neutral Record: Virginia 0-0, Maryland 0-0. Conference Record: Virginia 2-2, Maryland 1-4. Series Record: Maryland leads, 42-31-2.

GAME NOTES: Familiar ACC foes will collide in College Park this weekend, as the Maryland Terrapins play host to the Virginia Cavaliers.

Mike London's Cavaliers have quietly enjoyed success so far this season, as they own a solid 5-3 record and can become bowl eligible with a win this weekend. Three of the last four outings have resulted in victory, including last Thursday's 28-21 triumph over Miami-Florida on the road.

Randy Edsall's first season as the leader of the Maryland program has been disappointing for sure, as the Terps are just 2-6 overall and 1-4 in ACC action. They will play their final home game on Saturday, and both of their victories have come in College Park. Unfortunately, the last four outings overall have resulted in defeat, including a 28-17 setback to Boston College last weekend.

Maryland owns a 42-31-2 series advantage over Virginia, which includes a 42-23 romp in last year's meeting.

The Cavaliers have been able to move the ball and score points at a respectable rate this season, as they are averaging 25.2 ppg and 415.2 total ypg. Give the club credit for pounding out 186.4 rushing ypg at a clip of 4.6 yards per attempt, and note that 13 of the 23 offensive touchdowns scored have come on running plays. Perry Jones paces the club with 643 rushing yards, while Kevin Parks has seven rushing scores to his credit. At QB, Michael Rocco has taken most of the snaps lately, and while he is completing close to 60 percent of his passes, Rocco has still thrown more INTs (eight) than TDs (six).

Last week against Miami, Rocco threw for 226 yards and a pair of scores, and Jones also threw a touchdown pass on a gadget play. The Cavaliers finished with 470 total yards and didn't commit a single turnover in what was a highly disciplined and impressive performance.

Opponents are scoring only 22.8 ppg against Virginia, which is giving up 329.0 total ypg. The run defense has been solid, limiting foes to 131.6 ypg behind an average of 3.7 ypc. There is some room for improvement against the pass, however, as the Cavs are permitting 12.0 yards per completion and have surrendered 13 passing touchdowns against only eight interceptions. Steve Greer leads coach London's team by a wide margin with his 72 total tackles, and Matt Conrath has eight TFL.

Miami racked up 432 total yards against Virginia last week, and while the Cavaliers permitted a mere 85 rushing yards and zero TDs on 32 attempts, they were victimized for three passing TDs. On a positive note, they limited the Hurricanes to 2-of-9 success on third-down conversion attempts.

Switching focus to Maryland, it fell behind Boston College 21-3 by halftime last week and couldn't come back from that deficit. Terps' QB Danny O'Brien finished 14-of-35 for 165 yards with one TD and one INT, and Davin Meggett rushed for 99 yards in the setback. Maryland didn't surrender a single sack in the affair, but the club held possession of the ball for less than 24 minutes, in part because it was just 5-of-17 on third-down conversion attempts.

Overall this season, Maryland is averaging 24.0 ppg and 382.4 total ypg. It is impressive that the Terps have lost only one fumble so far this season, and the club's 4.7 ypc average on running plays is solid. Meggett is a player to watch, as his quickness has enabled him to compile 625 rushing yards and three scores to date. O'Brien has completed 57.6 percent of his passes for 1,275 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The Terps permitted Boston College to rack up 404 total yards last week despite the fact that the Eagles completed only five passes in the contest. Maryland was gashed for 372 rushing yards on 62 attempts, and all four BC touchdowns came on the ground.

There is obviously plenty of room for Maryland to improve defensively, especially considering the fact that it is surrendering 31.0 ppg and 437.2 total ypg. The Terps have struggled to stop the run, yielding 234.8 ypg at a clip of 4.9 ypc, and 23 of the 29 touchdowns allowed by the defense have been rushing scores. It is somewhat surprising that Maryland is 2-6 considering the fact that it has generated 20 takeaways and is a plus-nine in turnover margin.

In this final home game of the season for Maryland, expect the squad to gut out a narrow victory. Edsall will eventually turn things around for the Terps, who were far better last year under the former regime.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Maryland 24, Virginia 20

11/02 10:33:37 ET