Five predictions for Saturday’s Virginia-Maryland game in College Park.
1. Danny O’Brien will start at quarterback. The guess has been correct on the starter as part of the dreaded game-time decision the last two times. Why not again? O’Brien starts, and C.J. Brown plays at some point or another for the Terrapins.
2. Virginia’s Perry Jones will run for 100 yards. Maryland’s struggling run defense took another hit this week when defensive end David Mackall was suspended for at least the rest of the season. Count on Jones hitting the century mark against a unit that allowed a 200-yard day to unheralded Boston College tailback Rolandan Finch last week.
3. Justin Gilbert will play in the first half. The offensive lineman is expected to get his first work since last September as he makes his return from back-to-back left ACL tears. Look for No. 75 to get thrown into action sometime early now that he’s been cleared to play.
4. Virginia will start a drive after a Maryland kickoff at its 40-yard line or better. Six of Maryland’s first eight opponents have done so, and a seventh (Towson) returned a kickoff to its 39. This particular area of special teams has a chance to prove costly again for the Terrapins.
5. Maryland will win … or maybe it’s Virginia will lose. There’s no doubting the Terps have not been good this season. But the Cavaliers are simply erratic, almost Clemson-like in a typical season. The Hoos looked fantastic against Miami a week ago, but were dreadful in a home loss to N.C. State a week earlier. Which Virginia team shows up will dictate the outcome of this one.
—- Patrick Stevens