Virginia Tech has lost two regular season games in a row in the regular season for the first time since the 2006 season. The last time the Hokies lost three in a row was 2002. If there's a year it could happen it would be this one, as the Hokies are very young and inexperienced at key positions on the offensive side of the ball heading into Thursday's tilt against Maryland.
Maryland has been the opposite on offense. Chris Turner has had a very good year, especially since he wasn't even the opening day starter when Maryland opened against Delaware. Since then he has played very well, throwing for nearly 1,500 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions.
Maryland has also been helped out by running back Da'Rel Scott. The sophomore has rushed for 718 yards with five touchdowns and is a key component in the Maryland offense. However, Scott is bothered by an injury and it's unsure whether he will play in tonight's game.
The key matchup on the night will be Darrius Heyward-Bey against Victor "Macho" Harris. Harris has given up a couple of big plays this season, but he's the most utilized player on the team for the Hokies. He returns punts, plays boundary-corner, and also plays receiver.
The key for the Hokies will be keeping Harris fresh, while at the same time using him like they have all season. Tech's defense has to limit the big plays in this ball game, or else they will have a hard time winning.
While the defense has to limit the big offensive plays, it will need to make a few big plays itself. The best offense for the Hokies this year has been a scoring defense. Tech's offense was so bad against Boston College, every time the defense picked off a pass and didn't return it for a touchdown, everyone was disappointed because they knew the offense wouldn't be able to score.
The defensive line will need to get after Turner, and, if they can, Harris and the rest of the secondary should be able to make some big plays.
The Hokies also have to play better on special teams. In some games this year, special teams has been key in victories, but twice the special teams has contributed greatly to a loss.
First game that comes to mind would be the first game of the season. Tech had a lead on East Carolina, and then Greg Boone missed a blocking assignment and ECU blocked a punt with under two minutes left and won the game.
In the Hokies last game versus Florida State, a roughing the kicker call gave FSU new life and Ponder threw a bomb to Greg Carr on the very next play, scoring shortly after. When the Hokies make bad decisions and play poorly on special teams, it's tough for them to come out on top.
Darren Evans will need about 25 carries in this one, and he should run the ball effectively against this Terrapin front. Maryland's defense doesn't rank in the top 50 of rushing yards allowed per game, which means Evans should have a big day.
The big question mark again for this offense is quarterback play. The coaching staff has said either Sean Glennon or Cory Holt will start, and my guess is they'll put Glennon out there. He will need to have an effective game through the air for the Hokies to win.
Final prediction has the Hokies coming out on top, 27-21.