Sometimes one game dwarfs all others on the local landscape.  Thanksgiving weekend, Maryland could be playing the #1 team in the country but Virginia-Virginia Tech looms just a little bit larger.  Army-Navy has its own niche in early December… and the September showdown of Maryland and West Virginia is usually must-watch.  Maryland’s win at Penn State was seismic.  Not only were the Terrapins 1-35-1 against the Nittany Lions, they had never won in Happy Valley (or even tied).  Jerry Claiborne and Bobby Ross never beat Penn State.  Boomer Esiason, Frank Reich and Neil O’Donnell never topped the Nittany Lions.  Randy White knew nothing but defeat against the school up north.  Saturday’s win was a program-changing victory for Randy Edsall, CJ Brown, Brad Craddock and everybody whoever suited up for the Terps.  Unfortunately the win also marks Maryland as the black hat wearing villain of the conference after a pregame scuffle and captains refusing to shake hands.  Enjoy your new status…

 

Alma Mater Update– a less than inspiring effort by the Orange in a 24-17 loss to NC State.  The Orange now need to beat Duke, Pitt and Boston College in order to earn that valued trip to the Pinstripe Bowl.  Would the game consider giving a 5-7 Syracuse team an exemption?  One can only wonder…and hope not.

 

Maryland (6-3, 3-2) clinched bowl eligibility for the second straight year by rallying past Penn State 20-19.  It wasn’t pretty, but there was a stretch when the Nittany Lions would lay eggs while escaping with victories.  Terrapin Triumphs– four takeaways, including a fumble recovery that set up the team’s second touchdown and a fumble recovery on a Penn State 4th and 1 with under a minute left…a pass rush that sacked Christian Hackenburg 5 times…no fumbles or interceptions from CJ Brown…and Brad Craddock’s incredible 2014 continues as he improves to 14 of 14 field goals.  Terrapin Troubles– the offense converted just 1 of 14 third downs…one fumble in Maryland territory led to a Penn State touchdown and they were fortunate the Nittany Lions fumbled away the other gift…CJ Brown was sacked 6 times (thank goodness he can rest a little during the bye week).  Oh, and whatever possessed the Terp captains to not shake hands with the Penn State captains during the coin toss.  Stay classy, boys.  Next:  November 15th vs Michigan State…minus Stefon Diggs who serves a 1-game suspension for his pregame antics against Penn State.

 

Virginia (4-5, 2-3) fell under the .500 mark with a 35-10 loss at Georgia Tech…as the Cavaliers continue their collision course with staying home for the holidays.  Cavalier Congrats– Anthony Harris tallied 10 tackles and notched an interception– while Canaan Severin caught 5 passes for 64 yards. Cavalier Concerns– UVa rushed for just 22 yards on 16 carries…while allowing 268 yards to the Yellowjackets.  The team converted just 3 of 12 third down situations…while Greyson Lambert threw two interceptions.  Next:  Saturday at #2 Florida State.

 

Virginia Tech (4-5, 1-4) assured itself of a non-winning ACC record with a come from ahead 33-31 loss to Boston College.  Despite a decent effort, the descent from Coastal contender to also ran continues.  And now a bowl bid becomes an iffy thing. Hokie Highlights– Michael Brewer threw for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns while avoiding turnovers… a defense led by Andrew Motuapuaka’s 14 tackles held BC to 3-13 on third down…the kicking game got a 35 yard punt return and a 44 yard kickoff return.  Hokie Humblings– the defense allowed 257 yards rushing and was beaten by big plays like a TD runs of 57 and 68 yards… Joey Slye had a 30 yard FG attempt blocked (he had a low extra point blocked earlier this year).  Next:  November 15th at Duke.

 

Navy (4-5) came oh so close to securing a signature upset…before falling to #10 Notre Dame 49-39.  The road to the postseason doesn’t get any easier, as 7-2 Georgia Southern and 5-3 South Alabama loom before Army.  Midshipmen Medals– Noah Copeland paced the 336 yard ground game with 138 yards rushing…George Jamison notched 10 tackles and an interception…Pablo Beltran averaged 48.3 yards per punt…and the team committed just one penalty for 5 yards.  Midshipmen Miscues–  the defense allowed touchdowns on Notre Dame’s first four possessions-and three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter… Keenan Reynolds completed just 6 of 15 passes in the losing effort.  Next:  November 15th at Georgia Southern.

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