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College football: D.C. area Week 4 preview

- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2012

MARYLAND (2-1) at No. 8 WEST VIRGINIA (2-0)

When: Noon

Where: Mountaineer Field, Morgantown, W. Va.

TV/radio: FX, 980 AM

Outlook: West Virginia leads series 25-21-2 and has won the last six meetings. The Terrapins take their unbalanced team -- eighth nationally in total defense, 119th (of 120 teams) in total offense — west to face the potent Mountaineers, who are in their first year in the Big 12. The key matchup pits the country's No. 6 pass defense against West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who is ranked second nationally in individual total offense (408.5 yards). Maryland coach Randy Edsall is 1-19 in his career against ranked teams, including 0-6 against the Mountaineers when they are ranked.

VIRGINIA (2-1) at No.17 TEXAS CHRISTIAN (2-0)

When: Noon

Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas

TV/radio: ESPN, 570 AM

Outlook: Series tied 1-1, and the Horned Frogs won the last meeting 30-14 in Charlottesville in 2009. The Cavaliers are not a statistically promising lot despite a couple early victories. Virginia ranks in the top third of the ACC in only two of the 17 team categories the NCAA tracks: Kickoff returns (third) and net punting (fourth). Those are not the foundational strengths of a great team. The Cavaliers are 3-3 against ranked teams under coach Mike London. The Horned Frogs lead the country in pass efficiency and second in scoring defense after dispatching Grambling and Kansas to open the season.

BOWLING GREEN (1-2) at VIRGINIA TECH (2-1)

When: Noon

Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.

TV/radio: ESPNU, 106.7 FM

Outlook: Virginia Tech leads series 2-0 and won last meeting 33-16 in 1993. The Hokies tumbled out of the national rankings for the first time in nearly two years after their loss at Pittsburgh last week and have struggled on offense against both of their major-college opponents. The 100th-ranked rush defense in the country (a number influenced by an early meeting with Georgia Tech) hasn't helped, either. The Falcons are led by former Richmond coach Dave Clawson and are 0-5 all-time against current ACC members, with the last setback a 55-24 loss at Boston College in 2007.

VMI (1-2) at NAVY (0-2)

When: 3:30

Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis

TV/radio: CBS Sports Network, 1050 AM, 1500 AM

Outlook: Navy leads series 8-0 and won last meeting 37-10 in 2003. The Midshipmen make their home debut after getting outscored 84-17 in consecutive losses to Notre Dame and Penn State. Though the defeats were fairly predictable, the lopsided scores and especially a minus-7 turnover margin are reasons for concern. The Keydets have turnover issues of their own, and rank 117th of 121 qualifying teams in the former Division I-AA in the category. Linebacker Keegan Wetzel has two of the Mids' three sacks and three of their seven tackles for loss through two games.

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