The Maryland Terrapins will welcome the Duke Blue Devils to College Park, MD on Sept. 29. Fans are more familiar with the bitter basketball rivalry between the two schools, but the gridiron battle is not exactly a merry affair either.
Maryland enters the game this weekend with a 3-1 record and is coming off of a 42-28 win over Florida International. Whereas, Duke enters Saturday with a 1-3 record and has lost three straight.
Duke has already lost one conference game so far this season, after falling to Wake Forest 54-48 on Sept. 11.
Maryland however has yet to play a conference opponent in 2010 and could get a good head start into conference and division play with a win over Duke.
The Duke Blue Devils are led by the 20th best passing game in the country. Sophomore quarterback Sean Renfree has led the passing game for the Blue Devils.
After slowly being groomed into the position in 2009, Renfree has taken over in 2010 and has thrown for 1,113 yards and nine touchdowns. Renfree threw for over 350 yards in each of his first two games against Elon and Wake Forest, before being held to 144 yards against defending National Champion Alabama.
On Sept. 4 against Elon, Sean Renfree completed 31 of 39 passes for 350 yards and a 79.5% completion percentage. He finished the game with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 171.79 quarterback rating.
Most recently, Renfree is coming off of a 261-yard performance against Army in which he threw two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Fellow sophomore receiver Conner Vernon has become a favorite target of Renfree’s. After reeling in 55 receptions in 2009, Conner has already caught 28 passes for 449 yards and three touchdowns. Conner is projected by ESPN to finish with 1,347 yards and nine touchdowns based upon his first four games.
Conner was nonexistent against Alabama, only catching two passes for ten yards. However, Maryland does not posses as talented a pass defense such as Alabama after giving up 623 yards through the air in the past two games has demonstrated.
Maryland’s pass defense gave up four touchdowns to the Mountaineer’s on Sept. 18 and two more against FIU on Sept. 25.
Maryland enters this weekend’s game with the 102nd in the country in passing yards. Maryland averages 159 yards a game through the air. However, last week the starting job was given to redshirt freshman Danny O’Brien against FIU after starting quarterback Jamarr Robinson was battling arm-soreness.
O’Brien threw for 250 yards against the Golden Panthers including two touchdowns .
Maryland’s quarterback tandem daringly resembles the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback situation. Danny O’Brien resembles more of Kevin Kolb as a pocket passer whereas, Jamarr Robinson is a mobile quarterback that makes plays with his feet much like Michael Vick. Neither player is as talented or will even amount to the other, but paints a nice picture to the quarterback situation in College Park, MD.
Torrey Smith, the Terps veteran junior receiver, has finally broken out in 2010. After picking up 149 yards on only three catches against the Mountaineers, Smith picked up eight receptions for 159 yards and a touchdown. Torrey Smith caught two touchdowns against Morgan State on three receptions for 41 yards and had 60-yard and 80-yard touchdown catches against West Virginia.
Duke’s running game is led by sophomore running back Desmond Scott. Through four games this season, Scott has carried the ball 42 times for 272 yards and two touchdowns. Scott also has 10 catches for 93 yards.
In Desmond Scott’s most recent games against Army and Alabama, Scott has ran the ball for only 15 times for 73 yards and no touchdowns.
Maryland two running back tandem of Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett has combined for 477 yards and five touchdowns on 70 carries. Scott and Meggett have shared the load so far in 2010, last week against FIU, Da’Rel Scott ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Davin Meggett complimented Scott, rushing for 83 yards and a touchdown.
With a win over Duke, Maryland would move to 4-1 and would need only need to win two more games to become bowl eligible. Maryland finished 2-10 in 2009.