Who: Maryland (4-2, 2-0 ACC) vs. North Carolina State (4-2, 1-1 ACC)/
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Byrd Stadium.
DMV radio: WTEM (980 AM), WJZ (105.7 FM).
Satellite radio: XM Channel 191, Sirius Channel 113.
Coaches: Terps – Randy Edsall (Second season, 6-12). Wolfpack – Tom O’Brien (Sixth season, 37-32).
Series: Tied 32-32-4.
Undefeated in the ACC and in first place in the ACC Atlantic Division, Maryland hosts North Carolina State for its Homecoming game, with a chance to move to 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 2001, likely an unthinkable notion at the beginning of the season. But Maryland’s defense has kept the Terps in enough games so far to compensate for one of the nation’s least productive offenses. North Carolina State, on the other hand, marches in rested after a bye week, still riding the euphoria brought on by its 17-16 home upset of Florida State two weeks ago. Senior Mike Glennon is an experienced, pro-style quarterback who will challenge the Terps’ secondary, so getting pressure on the backfield will be paramount for Maryland’s top 10 defense. The Wolfpack has talked all week about keying on Maryland freshman phenom Stefon Diggs, so quarterback Perry Hills might need to look elsewhere for offensive productivity, especially if Diggs can’t get going.
- Bowl bound? This is a big one for the Terps. Taking care of business at home would mean moving to 5-2 heading into a road matchup against reeling Boston College with a bowl berth on the line. Maryland’s players and coaches spoke all week ignoring the possibility of reaching the postseason, but it’s hard to think that the Terps aren’t at least internally using that as a motivational tool. It would mark a huge turnaround for Edsall’s program in just his second year in College Park. But that means getting by a solid North Carolina State team first, hardly a given at this point.
- Will O’Brien’s road woes surface again? Under O’Brien, the Wolfpack has been absolutely dreadful on the road in division games, losing 16 straight. Glennon will need to be at his best against a rapidly improving Maryland secondary in order to upset that trend. Earlier this week, Edsall called Glennon, a local product, the best NFL prospect quarterback that the Terps will face this season, and that included Geno Smith. So high praise for Glennon coming out of Maryland. As for the epic comeback the Wolfpack hung on the Terps in 2011? That’s out of both teams’ minds.
- How will the offensive line hold up? The exact same question was posed last Friday previewing the Virginia game, and it still applies. With Bennett Fulper sidelined, Josh Cary steps into the starting lineup. Sal Conaboy is doubtful, so that likely means true freshman Evan Mulrooney will get the bulk of the playing time at center. Add that to a lineup already starting true freshman Mike Madaras, redshirt freshman Andrew Zeller and senior Justin Gilbert, who appeared to nick his knee against the Cavaliers, and the rushing game might be in for another long day.
5.5: The Terps’ average margin of victory this season.
Minus-2: Rushing yards by Maryland last week against Virginia.
16: Seconds remaining when Glennon threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Underwood to beat then-No. 3 Florida State two weeks ago.
“It puts things back in perspective. You’re not as good as you think you are.” – A.J. Francis on Maryland’s defensive performance vs. Virginia.
“It’s not a measure we use to threaten them, it’s just good to have competition and it’s good to have guys that can compete. If a guy is not getting the job done, you find a way to find a guy to get it done.” – Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley on the offensive line.
THE SONG OF SATURDAY
“Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran