The Maryland Terrapins will will host the rival Virginia Cavaliers in their final game at Byrd Stadium in what has been a tumultuous season. For some perspective on what we can expect from the Cavaliers team this weekend, we sought out Brian Leung of SB Nation's Streaking The Lawn for some answers. Here is what he had to say.
SB Nation D.C.: The Cavalier defense ranks as the 38th best unit in terms of points allowed per game, is that the strength of this squad?
Streaking The Lawn: Our defense has been commendable, and as for the strength of this squad, it goes back and forth between the defense and the O line. Our defense has a tendency to give up some big plays at times, getting beaten by long passes more often than Cavaliers fans would like. But they’ve also been able to buckle down when they absolutely need to – such as last week’s fourth down stop to seal the victory over Miami. If the defense comes onto the field focused at the task at hand, I’ve got great confidence in this team.
SB Nation D.C.: What kind of offense will the Cavaliers run and which players should the Maryland defense be trying to key in on?
Streaking The Lawn: We’ve got young quarterbacks in both Michael Rocco and true freshman David Watford, which means that we should be handing off the ball and letting some of our running backs take care of business. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen, and when it doesn’t, disastrous things, such as losing to N.C. State, happen. The Maryland D needs to keep an eye out on “Parks and Wreck”-- true freshman Kevin Parks and junior Perry Jones, who combine to average about 150 yards per game. Either one of them is capable of punching in two or three touchdowns in a game or amassing triple digit yardage.
SB Nation D.C.: We don't know which quarterback will be starting for Maryland. Is the Cavalier defense better equipped to handle a running QB or one who is more pro-style?
Streaking The Lawn: Our defense is easily better equipped to handle a running quarterback. Virginia ranks second in the ACC in tackles for loss, while getting only 1.63 sacks a game. A passing quarterback will find a way to beat the Hoos simply by repeated trial and error – eventually, our secondary will get beaten.
SB Nation D.C.: This is a big rivalry game for both teams and is Senior Night for the Terrapins. From a fan perspective, how badly do you want to win this game relative to some other contests this year?
Streaking The Lawn: Honestly, while I have been known to hate Maryland and its fans to a considerable degree, there’s only one game I really view as a rivalry game each year (Virginia Tech), and unfortunately, we haven’t fared very well in that in the past … decade. That said, Maryland is certainly one of the top three rivals for Virginia, alongside North Carolina and the Hokies, so to see Mike London’s squad gain bowl eligibility in his second year by beating the Terps, that would be something special.
Plus, it would be great to spoil senior night for the Terrapins. There. I said it.
SB Nation D.C.: The Cavaliers are 5-3 and just 2-2 in Conference. How would you evaluate their season so far and their ability to be competitive in the ACC?
Streaking The Lawn: The Virginia fan base and the Virginia football team have a healthy relationship. As a fan, I give them 100 percent of my support, and when I least expect it, they throw it on the ground and stomp on it (see, the N.C. State and Southern Miss games). But just as I’m ready to walk away, they come bearing gifts to suck me back in (see, the Georgia Tech and Miami games). This season has been quite the roller coaster, and I think that Virginia’s best can compete with anyone in the ACC (except maybe Clemson, depending on when Clemson pulls a Clemson and collapses on themselves). We’ve seen the Hoos come out for the big games, but we’ve also seen them rest on their laurels a bit. This has been a great season so far, one that’s been met with a lot of successes that were not really expected. If we can just get one win this November, I think the Cavalier fan base has a lot to be happy about.
For more on the Virginia vs. Maryland game, visit this StoryStream. For more on the Terps, visit Testudo Times.