Wake Forest (3-2) at Maryland (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 6, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Byrd Stadium (54,000) -- College Park, Maryland. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Wake Forest 3-1, Maryland 1-1 Away Record: Wake Forest 0-1, Maryland 1-1. Neutral Record: Wake Forest 0-0, Maryland 0-0. Conference Record: Wake Forest 1-2, Maryland 0-0. Series Record: Maryland leads 42-17-1.
GAME NOTES: The Maryland Terrapins get back to action after a bye week as they open up their ACC schedule with a duel with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Byrd Stadium.
This is only the second game away from home for Wake Forest, which is 3-2 overall, but just 1-2 in three ACC games. Most recently the Demon Deacons suffered a 34-27 loss to a surprising Duke Blue Devils squad in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons have lost two of their last three after posting wins in the first two weeks of the season.
Maryland has slid back to .500 after a 2-0 start. The Terps had a bye this past weekend after falling to Geno Smith and the West Virginia Mountaineers 31-21 in their most recent matchup. After this past weekend's antics by Smith and the Mountaineers' offense, the Terps holding WVU to its lowest point total of the season looks like quite a feat. Maryland has not yet played a game in conference play and is coming off a 1-7 mark in league play last season
This series has been dominated by Maryland over the years with the Terps holding a 42-17-1 record against the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest won last season's matchup 31-10 at home and have won four of the last six meetings. Maryland has won 19-of-27 matchups at Byrd Stadium.
A look at Maryland's offensive production shows that the Terps are probably worse than their 2-2 record might indicate. Maryland is ranked last in the conference in a number of offensive categories, including scoring (21.3 ppg), total offense (281.5 ypg), first downs (16.5 pg), red zone attempts (nine) and touchdowns (six).
The unit has had a sizable discrepancy between the running and passing attacks, with the Terps piling up 749 yards through the air and 377 on the ground. Freshman quarterback Perry Hills was forced into action and has had flashes of brilliance this season, but overall has been an average performer, completing 58.2 percent of his passes for 749 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.
Stefon Diggs has been the team's leader in terms of receiving yards (259) and TDs (3), while Marcus Leak has been the possession receiver with a team-high 14 receptions. On the ground the team's most productive backs are Wes Brown (127 yards) and Justus Pickett (116).
What has kept Maryland afloat has been the defense. Against the same West Virginia offensive unit that this past weekend put up 800 yards of total offense, Maryland gave up only 338 yards.
Overall Maryland is the second best defense in terms of yards allowed this season (261.3 ypg) in the ACC and the most efficient against the run, allowing only 334 yards on the ground. The team's scoring defense (22.0 ppg) is also ranked among the top five in the ACC.
Demetrius Hartfield has been all over the field for the Maryland defense, leading the team with 33 tackles and a pair of sacks, while also grabbing an interception and two fumble recoveries. Joe Vellano has played well up front with a team-high 6.5 tackles for loss, including a sack.
Like Maryland Wake Forest has not been an overly productive offense this season, averaging only 24.8 points and 351.8 yards per game. Still those numbers are much better than that of the Terps.
Tanner Price has had a solid season under center thus far, throwing for 1,055 yards and five touchdowns, while completing just 56.7 percent of his passes. However, Price has had some consistency issues in terms of protecting the ball with four picks and has also been sacked nine times.
Michael Campanaro is by far the squad's best receiver with team-highs in receptions (38), yards (429) and touchdowns (three). He is currently the fifth most productive receiver in the ACC. However, Campanaro is listed as out indefinitely after breaking his hand against Duke.
The running game has not been as productive but it has still put up solid numbers led by Josh Harris (304 yards, 3 TDs) and Deandre Martin (279, 5 TDs).
Where Wake Forest's similarities with Maryland end is on defense. The Demon Deacons rank last in the ACC in scoring defense (33.4 ppg) and second to last on total defense (458.0 ypg). Wake Forest is also allowing teams to convert on third down at an almost 50 percent rate this season, while giving up 114 first downs which is almost 30 more than Wake Forest (87).
Mike Olson 44) and Lovell Jackson (42) have each recorded at least 40 tackles this early in the season, while Jackson has recorded a team-high three sacks. A.J. Marshall has been good in the secondary with 29 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, an interception and a pair of pass breakups.
Both of these team's don't figure to be major players in the ACC title race down the stretch but a win here could be an important step, as each team is looking to make a bowl appearance after a season away in 2011. Wake Forest had the better offense in this matchup prior to Campanaro going down, but Maryland's defense has clearly been a superior unit giving the Terps the edge, especially at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Maryland 21, Wake Forest 17
10/03 10:40:22 ET