For the final time as conference rivals, Maryland and UVa will square off in the 78th all-time meeting between these two this Saturday (3:30 p.m., ESPNU) in College Park.
The Cavaliers are reeling after a second consecutive loss, this time falling by three touchdowns to Ball State at home. The Terrapins, meanwhile, got off to a quick 4-0 start to their 2013 campaign but, like UVa, are coming in following a disappointing loss.
Last weekend, Maryland was drilled 63-0 by an undefeated Florida State team on the road. That result left many wondering whether the Terps just ran into a buzzsaw against one of the nation's top 10 teams or if perhaps they weren't quite as good as their impressive record seemed to indicate.
Maryland is the only FBS team on UVa's schedule this season that did not qualify for a bowl game last season. Barring a catastrophic collapse, however, the Terps seemed destined to play in the post-season this year. They rolled to wins over Florida International, Old Dominion, UConn, and West Virginia to start the season in games where Randy Edsall and company were barely tested. The Terrapins won those games by an average margin of nearly 30 points per game and after a 37-0 win over the Mountaineers, Maryland earned a spot in the top 25.
Right now, these two programs look like they could be headed in opposite directions. The last time UVa traveled to College Park, Edsall was in his first season and the Cavaliers rolled to a win that locked up bowl eligibility. Some Maryland fans were already prepared to run Edsall out of town in the midst of that 2-10 season, one in which a large number of players transferred out of the Terps program.
Since then, Edsall has shaken up his staff, most notably adding veteran offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, and won some big recruiting battles in-state. After a rash of injuries last season kept them from reaching the postseason, Edsall seems to have steadied the program in its final season in the ACC before heading to the Big Ten next year.
On the other hand, UVa has struggled mightily since that trip to College Park two years ago, with a disappointing 8-13 record since. The Cavaliers have been unable to find consistent quarterback play no matter who has been under center and have continued to struggle with mental mistakes into London's fourth year in Charlottesville.
The Wahoos have lost to an out of conference opponent from a non automatic qualifying conference in each of the last three seasons and after a loss that Mike London himself called "embarrassing" on Saturday, the head coach and his team are looking for answers.
This week's road test is a great opportunity for the Cavs to get away from the noise around the program's struggles and play with an us-against-the-world mentality in front of a hostile crowd in Byrd Stadium this weekend.
As we get you ready for this one on Saturday afternoon between UVa and UMd, we'll break down the Terrapins and give you our view of the way things play out in College Park.
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