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For Hokies and Terps, dueling kickoff returners

Virginia Tech and Maryland have emerging kickoff return stars. Dyrell Roberts of the Hokies and the Terrapins’ Torrey Smith are each dynamic special-teams threats.

The matchup between Roberts and Smith should provide an intriguing subplot on Saturday, when the No. 20 Hokies play at Maryland in an affair that lacks luster.

Roberts has shown an explosive burst for Virginia Tech this season. He returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown in its season opener against Alabama. And he has not slowed down since.

Roberts, sophomore, ranks first nationally in kickoff returns (38.6 yards per return). Roberts has 425 kickoff return yards this season.

He has provided his reel of highlight moments: a 76-yard return against Nebraska, a 58-yard return against Georgia Tech, a 47-yard return against Alabama.

Smith, a sophomore, set the ACC’s single-season record for kickoff return yards (1,089) last season. This season, he already has 1,113 yards and two touchdowns. Smith ranks fourth on the ACC’s career kickoff return list.

Smith ranks third nationally in all-purpose yards (200.7 per game). He is the only player in the country to post more than 260 all-purpose yards three times this season.

In addition to being playmakers, both returners also share something in common: opposing teams have kicked away from them this season out of respect for their ability.

By Mark Viera  |  November 13, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
 
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