Preview: Pressure mounts as Maryland meets Virginia Tech

Preview: Pressure mounts as Maryland meets Virginia Tech
November 15, 2013, 9:00 am
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Edsall and the Terps still hoping to earn bowl eligibility

(Associated Press)

VITALS

Matchup: Maryland (5-4, 1-4 ACC) at Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2 ACC)

Date: Nov. 16, 2013

Time: 12:30 p.m. ET

Location: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.

TV: ESPN3

Spread: Virginia Tech (-16.5)

THREE-POINT STANCE: THREE KEYS TO WATCH

- Just when it seemed that the injury situation couldn’t get any worse for Maryland at the wide receiver position, it did. Stefon Diggs and Deon Long have been out since going down in Week 8 against Wake Forest and now three more wide receivers--Tyrek Cheeseboro (head), DeAndre Lane (hamstring), and Levern Jacobs (head)--all will not play against Virginia Tech.

That has further necessitated the move of backup quarterback Ricardo Young to wide receiver, which happened in full this week according to head coach Randy Edsall.

Without wide receiver threats on the perimeter, first no Diggs or Long and now without solid fill-ins Jacobs and Lane, quarterback C.J. Brown will have a more difficult time effectively running the zone read offense that produced points through the team’s first four weeks. No weapons for Brown to find through the air means the defense can key in on the running game, which will stifle Maryland’s attack.

- Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas might have slipped down NFL Draft boards over the past two seasons, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a threat against Maryland on Saturday. At 6-6, 260 pounds, Thomas is a sizeable dual-threat quarterback who has won games for the Hokies with his arm, his legs, or both at different points throughout his career.

Because of that, it will be important for Maryland to not just pressure him, but also contain him or else he can turn a broken play into a big gain. Look for Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield to lead the charge.

- Injuries have also hit the Maryland offensive line. Freshman Moise Larose, who started replaced Mike Madaras as a starter at left tackle against Syracuse after Madaras left the team, will not play on Saturday against Virginia Tech. He is listed as out on the team’s weekly injury report with a foot injury.

That means junior Jake Wheeler slots in at left tackle and Maryland will use its third different player at that position in three weeks. Instability on the offensive line is an issue, the effects of which often radiate outward. If the line can’t keep quarterback C.J. Brown on his feet, it’s going to be a long day in Blacksburg.

WHAT'S ON THE LINE?

The clock is ticking for Maryland to become bowl eligible. The Terrapins have lost three straight games and four of their last five. Displeasure and frustration are mounting as they head on the road to a hostile environment as 16.5-point underdogs. If Randy Edsall’s team can’t get a win on Saturday, it will come down to Boston College at home or NC State on the road to try to notch the team’s sixth win.

FULL INJURY REPORT

DB Milan Collins | Ankle | Out for the season

LB Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil | Upper Body | Out for the season

WR Stefon Diggs | Leg | Out for the season

OL JaJuan Dulaney | Knee | Out for the season

WR Deon Long | Leg | Out for the season

DB Dexter McDougle | Shoulder | Out for the season

DL Mike Minter | Knee | Out for the season

DL Kingsley Opara| Shoulder | Out for the season

DL Ty Tucker | Knee | Out for the season

WR Tyrek Cheeseboro | Head | Out

WR Levern Jacobs | Head | Out

DB Jeremiah Johnson | Toe | Out

WR DeAndre Lane | Hamstring | Out

OL Moise Larose | Foot | Out

LB Abner Logan | Foot | Out

TE Dave Stinebaugh | Knee | Probable

LB Alex Twine | Shoulder | Probable

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