The Washington Times - November 5, 2008, 10:59AM

If you look at the numbers and nothing else, it’s a wonder Virginia Tech has a winning record.

A minimal passing game, terrible protection when someone does bother to throw and one of the worst net punting figures in the country.

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Yet there the Hokies are, 5-3 and in control of their Coastal Division fate with four games to go.

Maryland could change that with a win tomorrow.

Here’s the stats breakdown between the two teams heading into the showdown at Lane Stadium.

* Maryland rush offense vs. Virginia Tech rush defense. Maryland ranks 44th nationally while averaging 166.8 yards. Virginia Tech ranks 39th nationally while yielding 118.4 yards.

Much is being made of tailback Da’Rel Scott’s possible absence, but chances are he and Davin Meggett would do about the same against the Hokies. The problem is no one should really expect Maryland’s running game to be quite as strong as it was the last two weeks. If the Terps approach 140 yards, it’ll be a good night.

* Maryland pass offense vs. Virginia Tech pass defense. Maryland ranks 72nd nationally while averaging 199.9 yards. Virginia Tech ranks 32nd while yielding 185.9 yards.

A 200-yard night for Chris Turner sounds about right. The critical component for the junior will be avoiding interceptions – especially given the Hokies’ proclivity for defensive scores.

* Virginia Tech rush offense vs. Maryland rush defense. Virginia Tech ranks 51st while averaging 160 yards a game. Maryland ranks 58th while yielding 137.3 yards a game.

That’s a pretty narrow range, and it’s probably fair to say anything between 120 and 175 yards on the ground is about right for the Hokies. Given their inability to pass, they would be well served to approach the high end of that range.

* Virginia Tech pass offense vs. Maryland pass defense. Virginia Tech ranks 113th nationally while averaging 120 yards. Maryland ranks 81st while yielding 228.4 yards a game.

Frank Beamer’s game of quarterback roulette probably isn’t going to change the feebleness of the Hokies’ passing game. It’s not just the QBs; it’s the shoddy line and the young receivers. Maryland’s task is to not get beat through the air – be it for big gains or in third down situations.

Patrick Stevens