The last time the Maryland Terrapins visited Lane Stadium back on a chilly Thursday night in 2004, they were the recipients of a 55-6 drubbing and were embarrassed in front a national television audience.
Then again, the Hokies were also ranked 15th at the time and eventually went on to win the conference championship. Meanwhile, the Terps entered the game with a 4-5 record and had one of the worst offenses in Ralph Friedgen’s tenure, since he took over the program back in 2001.
Flash forward four years later and things have changed significantly.
No. 23 Maryland (6-2, 3-1 ACC) is in first place in the Atlantic Division and is the only team in the entire ACC with just one conference loss.
Virginia Tech (5-3, 2-2 ACC), on the other hand, has lost two consecutive conference games and currently stands second to last in the Coastal Division.
The Hokies have struggled offensively since the start of season (ranked 112th in the nation), and now that quarterbacks Sean Glennon and Tyrod Taylor are both questionable for tomorrow night’s game after enduring injuries against Florida State, that leaves redshirt senior Cory Holt as the team’s most healthy option behind center.
However, it has been confirmed that all three quarterbacks (Taylor, Glennon, and Holt) will be dressed and ready to compete tonight, but I expect Glennon to take the most snaps, as Taylor's mobile playing style will only aggravate his ankle sprain. The game is a must-win for the Hokies if they want to remain in contention for the conference championship.
The Terps have had their fair share of injuries as well as star running back and ACC leading rusher Da’Rel Scott reinjured his shoulder two weeks ago against NC State. Scott’s speed is dangerous but has been limited lately because of his durability. He’s listed as questionable, along with linebackers Dave Phillistin and Adrian Moten.
Virginia Tech’s defense is its greatest asset. Cornerback Macho Harris already has four interceptions this season. The Hokies will plan to bring the pressure to Maryland quarterback Chris Turner early and often in hopes of forcing a turnover, something Tech mightily excels at. In fact, it ranks sixth in the country in turnover margin.
As for predictions, this one is a tossup. The Terps always seem to play well against better opposition, and while the Hokies may not be ranked, they still play fierce, tough Beamer Ball. The electric atmosphere in Blacksburg on a Thursday night is unlike anything else in college football, and that can only help Tech.
21-17, Virginia Tech. Winning at Lane Stadium on a Thursday night is hard. Like, really hard. The only exception was Boston College’s win last year, and that took a miraculous play by Matt Ryan in order to seal it up. At any rate, this should be a very enjoyable game at a great game-day atmosphere in one of the most unpredictable conferences in all of college football.