Maryland/Duke- Game Preview

TSR previews tomorrow's matchup between Maryland (3-1) and Duke (1-3).

Opponent PreviewDuke Blue Devils

Conference – ACC

2010 Record – 1-3 (0-1)

2009 Record – 5-7 (3-5)

Best Win – 41-27 over Elon

Worst Loss – 35-21 at home against Army

Three Word Sum-Up – Must-win game.

Offense – Duke's is a pass-happy attack, ranking 20th in the nation with 281.25 yards per game through the air. Redshirt sophomore Sean Renfree has thrown for 1,113 yards with nine touchdowns against seven interceptions this year, his first as a starter. Against Wake Forest, Renfree threw for 358 yards with four touchdowns, but his three interceptions were key in the Demon Deacons' victory. The Blue Devils are helped by three great targets at wideout – Conner Vernon, Donovan Varner and Austin Kelly. Vernon leads the ACC with 28 receptions and 449 yards, and has three touchdowns; Varner, who had over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns last season, has 258 yards so far this year; and Kelly has 19 receptions for 209 yards and two touchdowns. Desmond Scott, the starting running back, has 42 rushes for 277 yards and two touchdowns.

Defense – The Blue Devils' defense has been, well, terrible. They rank in the bottom ten of the NCAA in scoring defense (giving up 44.5 points per game), rushing defense (229.25 yards per game), total defense (466.25 per game), sacks (one per game), and pass efficiency defense (giving up a rating of 161.83 to opposing quarterbacks). They are led by senior linebacker Abraham Kromah, who leads the team with 31 tackles, and junior defensive back Matt Daniels, who has 30 tackles.

Overall – While the Blue Devils have a putrid defense and have had a poor start to the season, they are still a dangerous opponent for the Terrapins. Maryland has struggled against spread offenses so far this year, especially having a hard time putting pressure on the quarterback, and Duke is tied for 23rd in the country in sacks allowed (only one per game). Vernon and Varner are two of the best wide receivers in the ACC, and Renfree can definitely do damage out of the shotgun.

Impact PlayersKenny Tate and Da'Rel Scott. In the first two weeks of the season, Kenny Tate was arguably the best defensive player in the ACC. The past two weeks, however, he has struggled, especially in coverage. The safeties need to play very well against the vaunted Duke passing attack for Maryland to succeed. Duke has a horrible rush defense, and Scott should have a big game on Saturday.

Prediction – 42-24 Terps. Renfree is scary, but defense ultimately wins games.

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