Previewing Maryland’s ACC opener against Wake Forest. Check out the links, vote in the poll, then return to your regularly scheduled Friday events.
Who: Maryland (2-2, 0-0 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (3-2, 1-2).
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Byrd Stadium.
DMV radio: WTEM (980 AM), WJZ (105.7 FM).
Satellite radio: XM Channel 190, Sirius Channel 112.
Coaches: Terps – Randy Edsall (Second season, 4-12). Demon Deacons – Jim Grobe (12th season, 71-69)
Series: Terps lead 42-17-1. Edsall is 1-3 all-time vs. Wake Forest. The Deacons’ last won 31-10 on Nov. 19, 2011.
With the nonconference schedule in the past, the Terps enter eight straight ACC games with a .500 record off a bye week and a fairly impressive showing in a 31-21 loss at West Virginia. Wake Forest, which has won four out of its past six meetings against Maryland, stumbled to a 34-27 loss against Duke last Saturday, in which leading receiver Michael Campanaro, a Maryland native, broke the back of his hand and will miss his Free State homecoming. With a new-look offensive line and the same four co-starters in the backfield, the Terps’ offense will look to continue the momentum established against the Mountaineers, when quarterback Perry Hills had a career-high 305 yards and three touchdowns. Stefon Diggs was electric with two touchdown receptions, and the defense put frequent pressure on quarterback Geno Smith, pressure the unit will have to sustain against the Demon Deacons.
- Bye week blues? How will the Terps respond coming off the bye week? With personnel changes, they’ve appeared to at least theoretically addressed the sacks issue – more on this next – and have spent the week working on ball security to eliminate turnovers. The defense has preached cutting down on the big plays that cost them against West Virginia. With some time off, Maryland is finally healthy as well. Kenneth “The Linebacker Formerly Known as Kenny” Tate has one game under his belt and will boost that front seven. Matt Robinson is listed as questionable, but should play. For a team that had a seemingly endless list of preseason injuries, the Terps are nearly at full strength.
- Pass protection? Now about those well-chronicled sacks. Hills is a brick. He also spends far too much time on the ground. The former wrestler can absorb the blows just fine, but he’s still been sacked 16 times in four games. Mike Madaras and Andrew Zeller were promoted to starters over Nick Klemm and De’Onte Arnett, respectively. But Madaras, a top prospect out of Good Counsel, is only a true freshman. How will he and Zeller fare in a full game?
- Who will replace Campanaro? Campanaro was well on his way to a 1,000-yard season before he suffered that broken hand. Either Terence Davis, who had a 100-yard effort against Duke but coughed up a crucial late fumble, or Lovell Jackson will replace him as the “Z” receiver. The Deacons are still a run-first team, but the Terps are quite stingy against the run. They’ll need to open up lanes with play action, something that could prove difficult without Campanaro’s services.
2.3: Yards per rush allowed by the Maryland defense, eighth-best nationally.
5:25 Improvement, in minutes and seconds, that the Terps have shown in time of possession from last season (25:16 per game to 30:41).
100: Percentage of times Wake Forest scores when entering the red zone. The Deacons are 13 for 13, including 11 touchdowns.
“I’m sure they will just plug somebody in to do a lot of the same things that he has done. Maybe not so much in terms of handling the ball off and the speed sweeps and those sort of things. In the passing game they have somebody that can go in and play that position.” – Edsall on Campanaro.
“I’d like to say we could just plug somebody else in, but Mike was a great player for us. Losing him is a big deal.” –Wake Forest offensive coordinator Steed Lobotzke.
The Song(s) of Saturday