Stats matchup: Maryland at Virginia

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Fortunately, things like bolding words and hitting return still work here, so there’s no reason not to roll this entry out now.

A little hint going forward: Maryland is going to hold a serious advantage in a couple of categories.

* Maryland rushing offense vs. Virginia rush defense: The Terrapins rank 39th nationally with 182.4 yards a game. The Cavaliers rank 89th nationally while yielding 179.3 yards a game.

The numbers suggest Maryland is in sound shape for a typical game on the ground. Clearly, Virginia misses the stout defensive linemen it employed last year, though there are still some quality players in the Cavaliers’ linebacking corps like Clint Sintim and Jon Copper . Expect Da’Rel Scott to bounce back after his 39-yard performance against Clemson.

* Maryland passing offense vs. Virginia pass defense: The Terps rank 89th nationally with 184.0 yards a game. The Cavaliers rank 69th nationally while yielding 205.8 yards a game.

Maryland really hasn’t needed to throw much in three of its games, and it scored 13 of its 20 points against Clemson mainly because of good field position and Darrius Heyward-Bey ‘s 76-yard reverse. This could turn out to be a big day for Chris Turner , but the Terps would be happy with another efficient outing from the junior. Look for Turner to extend his streak of games with a touchdown pass to five.

* Virginia rushing offense vs. Maryland rush defense: The Cavaliers rank 117th nationally with 66.0 yards a game. The Terps rank 59th nationally while yielding 133.8 yards a game.

Virginia’s line is a big part of why the Cavaliers have not functioned much at all on offense. At the same time, tailback Mikell Simpson had his breakout game against the Terps last year in College Park. If Simpson can’t duplicate that magic, it could be a rough day for Virginia’s running game. Again.

* Virginia passing offense vs. Maryland pass defense: The Cavaliers rank 89th nationally with 184.0 yards a game (just like Maryland). The Terps rank 102nd nationally while yielding 253.6 yards a game.

It’s pretty clear that at this stage in his development, Marc Verica is unlikely to do much more than dink-and-dunk, with perhaps a couple longer throws to Kevin Ogletree mixed in for good measure. Ogletree, who missed all of last season, already has more receptions (22) than any Cavaliers wideout had in 2007 (Maurice Covington , 21). If Ogletree can be contained – and he went nuts against the Terps in Charlottesville two years ago – Virginia will struggle to do too much damage through the air.

– Patrick Stevens (pstevens@washingtontimes.com)

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