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Maryland-Wake Forest - Homecoming preview

By Rick Nelligan

Welcome to homecoming weekend, Terps fans. The unfortunate recipient of the Terps homecoming beat down? The Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Maryland comes into the weekend right in the mix in the ACC Atlantic division at 2-1, and holds a 5-2 record overall. Coming off of a victory in Chestnut Hill that snapped a 10-game road losing streak, the Terps have a bit of momentum on their side -- not to mention the fact that Wake Forest is really struggling right now, having lost five straight.

The last time Wake Forest visited College Park, they were shut out 26-0. While I don’t expect another shutout, I don’t really expect the outcome to be any less convincing for the Terps. While the Terps have yet to look spectacular on offense, they’ve been solid and mostly error free. But this is the week I expect the Terps offense to break out. Wake Forest is 112th in the nation when it comes to points given up, with 37.7 per game. That’s out of 120 FBS teams folks, not exactly going to strike fear in anyone’s hearts this Halloween.

While I expect quarterback Danny O’Brien to put up solid numbers – about 200 yards passing and a touchdown – count on the Terps running game to break out this week. Against FBS teams, Wake Forest is getting gashed in the running game to the tune of 234.5 yards per game, including a horrendous 5.4 yards per carry. Terps running backs Davin Meggett and Da’Rel Scott haven’t been spectacular this year, they are averaging 5.3 and 4.6 yards per carry, respectively. Hopefully offensive coordinator James Franklin gives them an opportunity to excel.

On defense, the Terps are becoming the stout unit that most people thought they could be. Over the last three games, the Terps defense has only given up 18 points per game (taking out the kick return for a touchdown and the pick-six in the Clemson game.) The Terps run defense has been especially strong, not surrendering more than 100 yards on the ground to any team over the last three contests.

The improvement couldn’t have come at a better time. Wake Forest comes in sporting the 23rd ranked rushing offense, led by redshirt freshman running back Josh Harris who’s coming off a 241 yard effort against Virginia Tech. I absolutely expect the Terps defense to continue their exceptional play of late and really shut down the Demon Deacons. Especially considering their quarterback play has been extremely putrid, passing for 100 yards or less in five games this year. Alex Wujciak and company will be able to focus solely on the Wake Forest running backs, which ought to be a scary thought for them on the eve of Halloween. Some people will be having nightmares of Freddy Krueger on Halloween. The Demon Deacons will be having nightmares of Kenny Tate and Adrian Moten.

I’m not pulling a Joe Namath and guaranteeing a victory, but everything seems to be lining up just right for the Terps. I haven’t even mentioned that with a win on Saturday, the Terps will have six wins, thus becoming bowl eligible. You better believe that after having that awful taste of last year in their mouths, the Terps will be hungry to get back to a bowl game. Look for the Terps to win convincingly, 31-17, with one of Wake Forest’s touchdowns coming in garbage time.

By Box Seats blogger  | October 29, 2010; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  Rick Nelligan, Terps  | Tags:  Rick Nelligan, Terps  
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