The Logan Thomas roulette wheel landed on jackpot last weekend, when the Virginia Tech quarterback became the first quarterback in program history to top 300 yards in consecutive games. Only six of his 31 pass attempts during an upset road win over 14th-ranked Miami were incompletions.
As the Hokies prepare for their home finale at Lane Stadium, the Maryland football team limps in ranked 12th in the ACC in pass completion defense with a secondary that hasn’t gotten any healthier. Forcing Thomas into mistakes, the type of inconsistencies that have defined his up-and-down season, might be the Terps’ best shot for returning home with a win.
“Big, strong, athletic, really good arm strength, can see over top of the line,” Coach Randy Edsall said Tuesday. “He’s a guy who’s been very, very productive for them, understands what they want to do offensively and where to go with the football. He presents a tremendous challenge for you.”
Before Thomas blew up on the Hurricanes, he reached a low point in a four-turnover miserable day at Boston College. As colleague Mark Giannotto wrote, that game caused Thomas to receive “nasty phone calls, disparaging e-mails and rude Facebook messages.” But he endeared himself again to the Virginia Tech faithful again at Sun Life Stadium, throwing for 366 yards and a touchdown.
“I’m proud of him,” Coach Frank Beamer said on the ACC coaches teleconference this week. “Except for a couple of plays against BC, he played a great football game up there. But those two plays kind of set the tone. He hung in there. Lot of things are being said and some of them certainly shouldn’t be said. But he hung in there and he came back and played a great football game. He put it all together. I think he handled the adversity just like our football team did. But he’s a leader and he certainly handled adversity extremely well, and as a result led our football team to a great win.”
Now he faces a Maryland defensive backfield still without starting cornerbacks Jeremiah Johnson and Dexter McDougle, the latter out for the season after season-ending shoulder surgery and the former still rehabilitating a fractured toe. Freshman Will Likely recorded his first career interception against Syracuse last weekend and has endeared himself to the coaching staff, but the Terps still rank 10th in the ACC in pass defense (228.8 yards per game) and are tied for 10th in interceptions (10).
“They’re just another explosive team,” linebacker Marcus Whitfield said. “They can make plays. Definitely trying to contain the quarterback. He’s a pretty big quarterback. He can move. He can throw. It’s definitely something we’re worried about. When we have a chance to hit him, hit him. Take him down as soon as possible. However you can get him down, get him down.”
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