Tuesday News Conference Quotes
Thursday, Nov. 6
No. 23 Maryland (6-2, 3-1 ACC)
Virginia Tech (5-3, 2-2 ACC)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Blacksburg, Va.
Stadium: Lane Stadium/Worsham Field (66,233)
TV: ESPN - Chris Fowler (play-by-play), Craig James (color), Jesse Palmer (color) and Erin Andrews (sidelines) will call the action. Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will show a two-hour replay of the game at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Radio: Terrapin Sports Radio Network - Johnny Holliday (play-by-play), Jonathan Claiborne (color) and Tim Strachan (sidelines) have the call. XM Satellite Radio Channel 190. Pregame with Gary Stein and Scott McBrien begins at 6 p.m. Click here to Listen Live on-line. The Terrapin Sports Radio Network (14 affiliates): WJZ 105.7 FM - Baltimore (Flagship); WJZ 1300 AM - Baltimore (Flagship); WJFK 106.7 FM - Washington D.C.; WCEM AM 1240 - Cambridge; WBEY 97.9 FM - Crisfield; WGOP AM 540 - Crisfield; WTBO AM 1450 - Cumberland; WFMD AM 930 - Frederick; WARK AM 1490 - Hagerstown; WPTX 1690 AM - Lexington Park, Md.; WVMD 99.5 FM - Midland; WMSG AM 1050 - Oakland; WQMR FM 101.1 - Ocean City; WTGM AM 960 - Salisbury. The game can also be heard nationally on the ISP Sports Network. Bill Robinski (pbp) and John Bunting (color) will call the action. Click here for a list of affiliates.
Terps on the Air...
Maryland's football broadcasting lineup for 2008-09, includes the Ralph Friedgen Radio Show and the Ralph Friedgen Television Show (FridgeTV). The Ralph Friedgen Radio Show airs from 8-9 p.m. each Wednesday during the season on the Terrapin Sports Radio Network which increased from 10 to 14 affiliates this season. The Ralph Friedgen Television Show, which is presented by Outback Steakhouse, airs weekly at 11:30 a.m. Saturday on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. The fast-paced, 30-minute show goes behind the scenes with Friedgen and the Maryland football team. Replays of the show are normally scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday on Comcast SportsNet, just prior to the rebroadcast of the Terps most recent football game. Comcast SportsNet will carry the official rebroadcasts of all 12 University of Maryland football games. Friedgen also appears each Wednesday during the season on Comcast's SportsNite wrap-up show. Comcast goes live "Inside the Coach's Office" with Friedgen at 6:45 p.m. each Wednesday.
Maryland, which entered the national rankings last week, hits the road Thursday to face Virginia Tech in a nationally-televised ACC cross divisional game. The Terps, who sit atop the Atlantic Division, and Hokies, who are tied for fourth in the Coastal Division, have not faced each other since 2005. Maryland has won five of its last six games, while Virginia Tech has dropped two straight, though both came on the road. Thursday's game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. from Lane Stadium/Worsham Field. The game can be seen on ESPN or heard on the Terrapin Sports Radio Network. Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will show a two-hour replay of the game at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Maryland reached bowl eligibility for the sixth time in eight seasons under Ralph Friedgen with its thrilling 27-24 win over NC State (10/25). The Terps have played in a bowl game after each of the last two seasons.
Maryland has won all three of its games vs. ranked foes (AP poll) this season (No. 23 Cal; No. 20 Clemson; No. 21 Wake Forest) and five straight over the last two years (No. 8 Boston College and No. 10 Rutgers in 2007). The Terps are one of only two teams in the nation (also Texas) to have knocked off three ranked opponents this year. The five consecutive wins over Top 25 teams is also tied for the most in school history (1949-52). The Terps may have a chance to eclipse that mark as two of the their final four foes (No. 19 UNC and No. 24 Florida State) are currently ranked in the Top 25.
Offensively, Maryland has gotten back on track the last two games after going scoreless at Virginia (10/4). The Terps are second in the ACC in total offense (366.6 ypg) and have averaged a league-best 6.0 yards per play. Junior Chris Turner, the second-rated passer in the ACC, is averaging 178.5 passing yards pg, while sophomore Da'Rel Scott leads the ACC and ranks 26th nationally in rushing (102.6 ypg). Junior WR Darrius Heyward-Bey is the Terps' deep threat. He has a team-high 25 catches and is averaging 16.2 yards per reception. Opening holes for the running game and protecting Turner is a veteran offensive line led by senior center Edwin Williams, a member of the watch lists for the Rimington Trophy and Lombardi Award. Senior TE Dan Gronkowski, on the watch list for the Mackey Award, is second on the team in receptions (22).
Maryland has allowed more than 30 points just once this season and ranks No. 31 nationally in scoring defense (19.3 ppg). The Terps are 34th nationally in sacks (2.3 pg) and 58th against the run (137.3 ypg). Senior DT Jeremy Navarre anchors the defensive line, having posted 42 tackles on the year. Sophomore LB Alex Wujciak has been impressive during his first season in uniform, posting 63 tackles over the last five games, including 15 vs. NC State (10/25). Senior LB Moise Fokou has been active throughout the season, while senior LB Dave Philistin continues to make plays. Philistin is second on team in tackles (58) and Fokou has posted a team-best four sacks. The secondary is without its leader, senior CB Kevin Barnes who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury vs. Wake Forest (10/18). Picking up the slack are senior Jeff Allen (44 tackles) and junior Jamari McCollough (team-best three picks).
Senior Obi Egekeze and sophomore Travis Baltz are two of the better kickers in the ACC. Egekeze has connected on 11 of his last 12 field-goal attempts, including the game-winner vs. NC State (10/25), after missing his first five. Baltz, a freshman All-ACC choice last season, ranks first in the league in punting (42.2 ypp). Redshirt freshman Torrey Smith has emerged as a playmaker, averaging 24.7 yards per kickoff return. The sure-handed Danny Oquendo is the punt returner for the third straight season. Maryland ranks fourth nationally in punt return yardage defense (2.9 ypr).
Maryland has won at least six of its first eight games for the fourth time in Ralph Friedgen's eight years, and first time since 2006, when the team finished 9-4 and beat Purdue in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Maryland's schedule is ranked 25th-most difficult over the last four games of 2008, according to NCAA.com. The Terps' final four foes have a combined record of 17-10 (.630) and all of those teams are either ranked or have been in the Top 25 this year.
Darrius Heyward-Bey needs 116 receiving yards to become the third wideout in school history to reach 2,000 career yards.
Chris Turner needs 24 passing yards to reach the Terps' all-time top 10. Turner is currently 11th in career passing yards (3,386).
Turner has just one interception in his last 126 pass attempts, dating back to the fourth quarter of the Eastern Michigan game (9/20). The lone pick in that four-plus game stretch came at the end of the Virginia game (10/4).
Da'Rel Scott is on pace to become the Terps seventh back to rush for 1,000 yards and first since 2002 (Chris Downs, 1,154). Scott needs to average 56.4 yards over this final five games (including a bowl game) to reach that plateau. He ranks first in the ACC is rushing (102.6 ypg).
Scott has two of the top three single-game rushing performances in the ACC this season (197 vs. Delaware; 163 vs. NC State). His rushing total vs. NC State was the most in an ACC game this season.
Senior Jeremy Navarre ranks first in the ACC in tackles among defensive lineman (5.3 pg).
Maryland is in search of its 200th ACC victory Thursday. Only Clemson (224) has more conference wins. The Terps have an all-time record of 199-163-4 (.549) in ACC games, including a 36-24 (.600) mark under Friedgen. The Terps have an all-time record of 598-518-43 (.535).
In the National Polls...
Maryland is No. 23 in the AP poll (up from No. 25 last week), No. 21 in the USA Today poll (up from No. 25 last week) and No. 23 in the BCS standings (not ranked last week. The Terps are ranked for the first time since 2006, when they were in the Top 25 for two weeks during November. They were No. 23 in the AP poll after upsetting No. 19 Clemson, 13-12, on Nov. 4 and jumped to No. 21 after defeating Miami, 14-13, on Nov. 11, 2006.
Winning the Close Ones...
A key to the Terps success this season has been their ability to win the close ones. Maryland is 3-0 this season in games decided by seven points or less and have won two of their three ACC games with fourth-quarter game-winning drives (Clemson and NC State). The Terps struggled in close games last year (1-4), but over the last three seasons Maryland is 10-5 in games decided by seven points or less.
Maryland ranks No. 69 nationally in total defense (365.6 ypg), but the Terps have been especially sharp in the second half of each ACC game. Maryland has yielded an average of 133.2 yards and surrendered just 17 points overall in the final 30 minutes of those four games.
Moving up the Ranks...
With their strong performances in recent victories over Wake Forest and NC State, Maryland's offensive and defensive units catapulted up rankings in several key statistical categories.
Having scored 20 or more points in five of its last six contests, Maryland now ranks second in the ACC in total offense (366.6 ypg), and third in rushing offense (166.8 ypg), pass efficiency (127.3) and third-down efficiency (42.0 percent).
Maryland's defense held NC State to seven second-half points in the team's 27-24 win. The Terps now rank 31st in the nation (FBS) in scoring defense (19.3 ppg), as well as tied for fifth in the ACC in sacks (2.25 pg).
Maryland's offensive line has allowed just three sacks over the last five games. Thanks largely to its offensive line, Maryland ranks third in the ACC and tied for 32nd in the nation (FBS) in fewest sacks allowed (1.38 pg). The Terps have allowed just 11 sacks this season. After eight games last year, Maryland had surrendered 26 sacks.
Quick Strike Ability...
The Terps have shown a knack for getting on the board quickly. Thus far this season, 15 of the team's 22 touchdowns have come on drives of five plays or less and/or in fewer than 2:00. Maryland had two such instances vs. NC State. A four-play, 24-yard drive in 1:18 capped by a Davin Meggett 1-yard TD run in the second quarter resulted from a turnover forced by the Terps defense. RB Da'Rel Scott then accounted for 43 rushing yards, including a 24-yard TD run, during a four-play scoring drive to open the second half. That explosiveness has enabled the Terps to outscore opponents by 33 points this season despite having accounted for fewer first downs.
Terps' Tackling Tandem...
As has been the case much of the season, LB Alex Wujciak paced Maryland in tackles against NC State. Wujciak tallied a game-high 15 tackles and fell just short of his career high mark of 16 stops. Wujciak's effort helped compensate for the absence of fellow tackle machine Dave Philistin, who left the game during the second quarter due to injury.
Maryland is now 5-0 this season when Wujciak and/or Philistin reach double digits in tackles.
Wujciak currently ranks second in the ACC and tied for 13th in the nation (FBS) in tackles (10.0 pg). He also leads the ACC in tackles during conference games (13.2 pg). Despite playing sparingly against the Wolfpack, Philistin still ranks second on the team, tied for 12th in the ACC in stops (7.2 pg).
Wujciak's 16 tackles vs. Clemson are tied for the most this season in the ACC during a single game (16 also by Kavell Conner, Clemson; Jon Copper, Virginia; Aaron Curry, Wake Forest; and Michael Tauiliili, Duke).
Despite being only a redshirt sophomore, RB Da'Rel Scott has been Maryland's leading rusher all season, and the latest game against NC State proved no exception. The Terps ball-carrier rushed for 163 yards on 23 carries against the Wolfpack, including a 24-yard TD run during the third quarter. His rushing total was the most by a Maryland player during an ACC game since Josh Allen rushed for 257 yards against Virginia Nov. 13, 2003. It marked Scott's third 100-yard rushing performance of the season and his career.
Scott, on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, currently leads the ACC and ranks 26th in the nation (FBS) in rushing (102.6 ypg). He also leads the team and ranks sixth in the ACC and tied for 67th nationally in all-purpose yards (116.0 ypg). He is tied for the team lead with five touchdowns.
With a 39-yard scamper in the second quarter to go along with his 24-yard TD run vs. NC State , Scott now has eight carries of at least 24 yards in 2008 (40, 37 and 26 vs. Delaware; 63 and 24 vs. MTSU; 24 vs. Cal; 39 and 24 vs. NC State) and also caught a season-high 25-yard reception against Clemson on Sept. 27.
Scott started his sophomore campaign with a bang, compiling 407 yards in the first three games, including a season opener-record 197 yards vs. Delaware on Aug. 30. Scott's three-game rushing total ranks sixth on Maryland's all-time list for most rushing yards through the first three games of a season.
Heyward-Bey Leading the Way...
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey has served as a catalyst for the Maryland offense all season, and he continued to produce against NC State. The junior wideout recorded two receptions for 28 yards and also rushed twice for 17 yards, despite playing in weather conditions that neutralized his speed.
Heyward-Bey, on the watch list for the Maxwell and Biletnikoff Awards, currently leads the team and ranks ninth in the ACC in receiving yards (50.5 ypg). He also leads the team in receptions, is tied for the team lead with five touchdowns and stands third in all-purpose yards (75.8 ypg).
When Heyward-Bey touches the football this season, good things tend to happen for the Terps offense. On nine rushing attempts thus far in 2008, Heyward-Bey has totaled a career-high 202 yards (22.4 ypc), which is the third-most rushing yards on the team and tops in the nation among wide receivers in the FBS.
Following his 76-yard scamper on a reverse at Clemson (9/27) to set up a score, Heyward-Bey now has three plays of more than 75 yards in his Terrapins career. He also notched an 80-yard TD catch earlier this season vs. MTSU and had a team-record 96-yard TD reception against Miami during the 2006 season.
Heyward-Bey has caught at least one pass in 30 of the last 33 contests dating back to the 2006 season. In addition, his 15.6 career yards per catch average ranks 10th nationally among active players.
Heyward-Bey has continued his ascent through Maryland's career records this season. With two more receptions vs. the Wolfpack, he passed Russ Weaver (1992-98) to move into fourth place all-time at Maryland with 121 career receptions.
Heyward-Bey still ranks fourth all-time in Maryland history with 1,884 career receiving yards following his performance Saturday, but is now just 11 yards behind Azizuddin Abdur-Ra'oof (1984-87) for third place in school history.
Heyward-Bey remains tied with Gary Collins (1959-61) for fourth place all-time at Maryland with 12 career receiving TDs.
Heyward-Bey had two plays this season of 75 yards or greater. He caught an 80-yard TD pass from Chris Turner vs. MTSU (9/6) and ran a 76-yard reverse to set up a score vs. Clemson (9/27).
Closing the Door...
When a botched Maryland punt return gave NC State possession at mid-field during the second quarter of the Oct. 25 game, the Terps defense stiffened and held the Wolfpack to a field goal at the end of the half. On the season, the Maryland offense has turned the ball 14 times, but the defense has surrendered just 17 opponent points off those miscues.
Turner on Target...
QB Chris Turner has orchestrated the Maryland offense effectively throughout the 2008 campaign, and he managed the game against NC State well despite poor weather conditions that hindered passing football. Turner completed 9 of 20 passes for 126 yards with a 13-yard TD pass to TE Dan Gronkowski during the first quarter.
Turner did not throw an interception vs. NC State, and now has gone 61 consecutive pass attempts without throwing one.
Turner currently ranks second in the ACC and 55th in the nation (FBS) in pass efficiency (126.9). The junior signal-caller also ranks tied for third in the ACC in touchdown passes (eight).
Continuing to prove his worth in big games, Turner is 4-0 as a starter against ranked opponents (also with wins over No. 20 Clemson and No. 23 Cal in 2008; win over No. 8 Boston College in 2007). He also played an integral role in the other such game (win over No. 10 Rutgers in 2007) during Maryland's four-game winning streak against ranked foes. The Simi Valley, Calif., native has yet to throw an interception vs. a ranked opponent. In four games vs. the top 25, Turner has completed 94 of 137 passes (68.6 percent) for 1,135 yards and seven TDs.
With his TD pass to Gronkowski against the Wolfpack, the 15th of his career, Turner moved into a four-way tied for 16th place in school history in that category.
A 10-yard completion to WR Danny Oquendo during the third quarter vs. Wake Forest (10/18) enabled Turner to become the 14th Maryland signal-caller to surpass 3,000 passing yards for his career. He has thrown for 3,386 yards during his career, and needs just 24 passing yards to reach Maryland's all-time top 10 list.
In 19 career games, Turner also currently ranks tied for 10th in school history with Shaun Hill (2000-01) and Scott Zolak (1988-90) with 270 career completions and 13th with 439 career pass attempts.
Turner has thrown for at least 200 yards in 10 of his last 13 starts.
Turner has also been sharp on third down this season, completing 62 percent (42 of 68) of his passes. His latest third-down heroics came when he completed a 31-yard strike to RB Davin Meggett on third-and-10 during the game-winning drive vs. NC State.
Through the Uprights...
One game after notching a career-high four field goals vs. Wake Forest (10/18), PK Obi Egekeze kicked a game-winning 20-yard field goal with six seconds left in Maryland's 27-24 victory over NC State. It was Egekeze's first career last-second, game-winning field goal, as well as the first for the Terps since Dan Ennis hit one to beat Clemson on Nov. 4, 2006.
Egekeze also accounted for another career-best against the Wolfpack, booting a career-long 47-yard field goal during the second quarter. That kick marked Egekeze's 10th consecutive field goal conversion, though that streak ended when he missed from 39 yards during the fourth quarter.
Egekeze currently ranks fourth in the ACC and tied for 32nd in the nation (FBS) in field goals (1.38 pg). He also ranks fourth in the ACC in kick scoring (6.9 ppg).
At his best during conference play, Egekeze has now hit 21 of 23 field goals (91.3 percent) during ACC contests over the course of his career.
With his performance vs. NC State, Egekeze moved into a tie with Joe O'Donnell (1994-96) for eighth place on Maryland's all-time list with 28 career field goals.
Under first-year offensive coordinator James Franklin, Maryland's offense has developed into one for which the quarterback is not necessarily the only player to throw the ball. RB Da'Rel Scott's 9-yard TD pass to WR Darrius Heyward-Bey against Wake Forest (10/18) marked the second time this season a non-quarterback threw a TD pass for the Terps.
Earlier this season in the game against Eastern Michigan (9/20), all three of Maryland's first-string wide receivers got involved in a trick play that resulted in a touchdown. Heyward-Bey took a handoff and threw a lateral to fellow WR Danny Oquendo, who threw a 43-yard TD pass to fellow WR Isaiah Williams. The play marked Oquendo's first career touchdown pass and Williams' first score of the season. Oquendo became Maryland's first non-quarterback to throw a touchdown pass since RB Josh Allen threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Oquendo vs. Boston College on Nov. 18, 2006.
Maryland's offensive creativity continued against Virginia (10/4). On the final play of the first half, QB Chris Turner connected with Williams for an 11-yard gain. Williams proceeded to shovel the ball to a streaking Heyward-Bey (25 yards), who tossed a lateral pass to Scott (nine yards). The play totaled 45 yards, making it the Terps' third-longest pass play of the season.
True freshman RB Davin Meggett took over running duties on the Terps' final drive against NC State following an injury to Scott, accounting for 51 total yards during the 15-play, 89-yard game-winning drive (five carries for 20 yards; one reception for 31 yards). Meggett also scored Maryland's second TD of the game when he ran in from 1-yard out during the second quarter.
Meggett recorded the biggest reception of his young career when he took a catch and run 31 yards on third-and-10 during the final drive vs. NC State. That play set up Obi Egekeze's game-winning field goal.
Meggett finished with 34 yards on eight carries against the Wolfpack. The true freshman back currently ranks second on the team in both rushing yards (266) and rushing touchdowns (three).
`Gronk' Going Strong...
Continuing his steady play, TE Dan Gronkowski had yet another strong performance against NC State, notching his third TD reception of the season on a 13-yard strike from QB Chris Turner during the first quarter to open Maryland's scoring. He also made a crucial 16-yard reception during the game-winning drive. With three receptions for a team-high 37 yards vs. the Wolfpack, Gronkowski continues to build on what has already become a career season for the senior.
A candidate for the John Mackey Award, bestowed to the nation's top tight end, Gronkowski currently ranks second on the team in receptions (22) and third in receiving yards (223). He now has tallied multiple receptions in seven consecutive games.
Bullock to the Rescue...
When LB Dave Philistin left the game against NC State with an injury during the first half, fellow LB Chase Bullock filled in admirably. The senior registered a career-high 11 tackles and two PBUs while playing Will linebacker for the Terps.
Navarre's Defensive Leadership...
DL Jeremy Navarre has provided leadership for the Terps all season, and he had perhaps his best game of the year against NC State (10/25). The senior sacked QB Russell Wilson for a loss of 12 during the fourth quarter, ensuring the Wolfpack had to punt rather than attempt a long field goal and setting up the Terps final drive. Navarre finished the game with six stops, including 2.5 TFLs, and one forced fumble.
Navarre currently leads all conference defensive linemen and ranks 38th in the ACC in tackles (5.3 pg). He also ranks tied for second on the team in sacks (2.5), fourth in TFLs (4.0) and tied for fourth in PBUs (three).
Points Off Turnovers...
Maryland has its defense to thank for the excellent starting field position that led to its second touchdown against NC State. Just over three minutes into the second quarter, DT Jeremy Navarre stripped the ball from NC State RB Andre Brown, and fellow DB Jamari McCollough recovered at the Wolfpack's 24-yard line. For Navarre, it was his fourth career forced fumble which is tops on the team. For McCollough, who leads the team with three interceptions, it marked the first fumble recovery of his career.
Maryland's Mr. Versatility...
Sure-handed WR Danny Oquendo had another productive game against Wake Forest (10/18), recording three receptions for a career-high 90 yards, including a 50-yard TD pass from QB Chris Turner that represents Maryland's second-longest pass play of the season.
Oquendo currently ranks tied for second on the team in receiving yards (223) and third in receptions (15) this season.
Oquendo also ranks eighth all-time on the Maryland career list with 400 punt return yards.
Oquendo has also had key contributions in other areas. He completed his lone pass on the season, a 43-yard TD pass to Isaiah Williams off a fake reverse and had a hand in thwarting three on-sides kicks vs. Cal (9/13).
Mr. Smith Comes From Washington...
WR Torrey Smith returned four kickoffs for 85 yards, including a long return of 29 yards, vs. NC State. That performance gave him 618 kickoff return yards on the season and enabled Smith to rewrite Maryland's single-season freshman record (previous record: 566 by Da'Rel Scott in 2007).
Smith's single-season kickoff return yardage already ranks as the fifth-most all-time in school history, and his 618 return yards puts Smith in 17th place all-time at Maryland for career kickoff return yards.
Smith currently ranks fifth in the ACC and 39th in the nation (FBS) in kick return average (24.7 ypr). He also ranks second on the team and tied for 10th in the ACC in all-purpose yards (89.9 ypg).
Freshman DL Dion Armstrong recorded the first sack of his career when he brought down QB Russell Wilson for a loss of two during the second quarter of the NC State game (10/25). DB Jamari McCollough did likewise when he sacked Wilson for a loss of eight during the third quarter.
Virginia Tech At-A-Glance...
Following a five-game win streak, Virginia Tech (5-3, 2-2 ACC) lost consecutive conference road games at Boston College and Florida State before having a bye last week.
Virginia Tech, which has been ranked as high as No. 17 in the AP poll this season, has an average margin of defeat of just 6.7 points in its three losses.
The Hokies rank among the conference leaders in turnover margin (tied for second - plus-10), opponent first downs (third - 122), opponent third-down efficiency (third - 35.6 percent), punt return average (third - 12.4 ypr), rushing offense (fourth - 160.0 ypg) and total defense (fifth - 304.2 ypg). Nationally, they rank tied for sixth in turnover margin, 12th in opponent first downs and 28th in total defense.
QBs Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon both have seen significant action this season, passing for a combined 932 yard with a pair of touchdowns. Five different Hokie targets have notched at least 100 receiving yards this season led by true freshman WR Jarrett Boykin (13 receptions for 224 yards).
In addition to Taylor (442 rushing yards), RBs Darren Evans (519) and Kenny Lewis, Jr. (237) have paced Virginia Tech's ground attack. That trio has combined for 13 rushing touchdowns in 2008.
The Hokies defense has playmakers in every unit. DL Orion Martin (5.5 sacks) and LB Cody Grimm (4.0) rank fourth and tied for sixth, respectively, in the ACC in sacks. DB Victor Harris stands fourth in the conference with four interceptions. LBs Purnell Sturdivant (61 stops) and Brett Warren (58) are the team's leading tacklers.
Maryland-Virginia Series History...
Maryland leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech, 15-13, though the Hokies have won the last three. Prior to that stretch, the Terps won nine of the previous 10 meetings.
Despite the somewhat close proximity (260 miles), the schools have played each other just four times in the last 68 years.
Maryland is 4-4 all-time in Blacksburg, having lost the last two times (1993, 2004).
Maryland's Ralph Friedgen and Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer have coached together over the years and remain friends. The two were graduate assistants at Maryland (1972) and assistant coaches at The Citadel (1973-78). Friedgen also served as assistant head coach at Murray State during Beamer's first year (1981) as head coach.
Maryland defensive coordinator Chris Cosh is a 1983 graduate of Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech SS/OLB coach Jim Cavanaugh was the running backs coach at Maryland (1982-86) when Friedgen was the offensive coordinator. Cavanaugh took over as OC in 1987 when Friedgen left for Georgia Tech with Bobby Ross.
Maryland's Danny Pearman (special teams/tight ends coach) was on Beamer's staff from 1998 through 2005.
Playing a greater role due to injuries in the secondary, Jamari McCollough has proven extremely valuable defensively this season. The junior safety notched both his first career sack and fumble recovery against NC State. Earlier in the season, McCollough accounted for his third interception of the season when he tracked down an overthrown deep pass by Clemson QB Cullen Harper in Maryland's win over the Tigers (9/27). The play gave McCollough three picks in a six-quarter span dating back to the Eastern Michigan game (9/20). He had two vs. the Eagles, including one in the end zone during a first-half scoring threat.
McCollough, who did not have any interceptions entering the season, currently leads the team, ranks tied for fifth in the ACC and tied for 31st in the nation in interceptions (.38 pg).
Breaking Up Is Easy To Do...
The Terps defense continued to disrupt the opposing quarterback's passing during the win over Wake Forest (10/18). Led by LB Chase Bullock, Maryland posted five PBUs vs. the Wolfpack. Bullock had two PBUs and LB Moise Fokou and DB Anthony Wiseman added one apiece.
Because he missed time with an injury earlier this season, DB Nolan Carroll has not played in enough games to qualify for conference leaders. However, he leads the team with six PBUs this season. Fellow DB Kevin Barnes, who is sidelined for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury, ranks tied for fourth in the ACC and tied for 44th in the nation in passes defended (1.0 pg).
As a team, the Terps have already broken up 34 passes this season (4.3 pg). They averaged 3.5 per game last season.
Baltz's Punting Prowess...
P Travis Baltz has booted himself into the nation's elite at his position during his sophomore season. The Whitehouse, Ohio, native punted two times for 99 yards vs. NC State. His punt of 54 yards during the second quarter was downed by FB Cory Jackson at the Wolfpack's 1-yard line.
Baltz currently ranks first in the ACC and 29th in the nation (FBS) in punting (42.2 ypp). Thanks in large part to Baltz, Maryland also leads the conference and ranks 11th nationally in net punting (38.1 ypp).
Big Play Ability...
The Terps offense has notched 39 plays of 20 yards or more so far this season. Of those 39 instances, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey has accounted for 10 of them (seven receiving and three rushing) and RB Da'Rel Scott has accounted for nine of them (eight rushing and one receiving).
Friedgen Preaches Discipline...
Head coach Ralph Friedgen and his staff continually preach disciplined play to the Terps, and the team seems to be listening. Through the first eight games of the season, Maryland ranks fourth in the ACC and tied for 22nd nationally (FBS) in fewest penalties (4.75 pg).
Maryland's special teams unit has come up big all season long. During the win over NC State, PK Obi Egekeze kicked the game-winning field goal and also hit a career-long 46-yarder. The Terps special teams also pinned the Wolfpack at their own 1-yard line on a punt during the second quarter.
The special teams units' performance against NC State was hardly its first noteworthy one this season. In the previous game against Wake Forest, Egekeze kicked four field goal to provide Maryland some breathing room. One week after LB Adrian Moten blocked a punt and WR Torrey Smith notched a 57-yard kickoff return in a win over Eastern Michigan (9/20), LS Andrew Schmitt recovered a muffed punt against Clemson (9/27) to set up a Maryland field goal in that upset victory.
Portis Provides Change of Pace...
Second-string QB Josh Portis is using his speed to add a new dimension to the Terps offense this season. With 167 yards on 29 carries so far this season, Portis already has the most rushing yards by a Maryland quarterback since Scott McBrien ran for 259 yards in 2003.
By The Numbers...
2...The Terps are one of only two teams (also Texas) in the country to defeat three top 25 teams this season (No. 23 Cal; No. 20 Clemson; No. 21 Wake Forest).
3...The Maryland offensive line has allowed just three sacks over the last five games (1 for each 50.3 pass attempts).
3...WR Darrius Heyward-Bey has three plays in excess of 75 yards in his career, including two this season (80-yd TD reception vs. Middle Tennessee State; 76-yd run vs. Clemson). He had a school record 96-yd TD catch vs. Miami in 2006.
6...Maryland has won six straight home games, having not lost in College Park since the 2007 Clemson game (Oct. 27). During the Ralph Friedgen era, the Terps now have won 38 of 49 home games.
7...Number of 2007 bowl teams slated to play the Terps in 2008.
9...Number of current players who have completed their degrees. That list includes PK Obi Egekeze, DL Mack Frost, OL Jack Griffin, TE Dan Gronkowski, DL Dean Muhtadi, OL Dane Randolph, QB Jordan Steffy, DB Richard Taylor and OL Edwin Williams. Each of those players is either enrolled in graduate school or pursuing another undergraduate degree.
11...PK Obi Egekeze has made 11 of his last 12 field-goal attempts after missing his first five on the season.
12.6...LB Alex Wujicak has averaged 12.6 tackles over the last four games, including a career-high 16 vs. No. 20 Clemson (9/27) and 15 vs. NC State (10/25)
17...Number of career carries by the Maryland tailbacks (14 by Da'Rel Scott/3 by Morgan Green/0 by Davin Meggett) entering the season.
26...Number of former Terps on NFL rosters (see list on page 22).
30...Number of seniors on this season's roster.
62...The Terps have won 62 games in Ralph Friedgen's seven-plus seasons which is more than they had in the 14 years prior to his arrival (55).
91.3...Obi Egekeze has hit 91.3 percent of his career field-goal attempts (21 of 23) in ACC action.
93...The Terps have connected on 93 straight PATs, dating back to 2005 (vs. UNC). Obi Egekeze hit all 36 attempts last season and 22 this year. Dan Ennis was good on all 32 in 2006.