RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -Two losses in a row find Virginia Tech outside the Top 25 again, but after a week to seek answers, they know Thursday night's game against No. 23 Maryland could get them back in the ACC race.
Virginia Tech (5-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) probably couldn't ask for a better situation. The Hokies are 14-3 on Thursday nights in recent years, and the stage will be a sold-out, raucous Lane Stadium.
Still, with major questions lingering in an injured quarterback corps, the extended time to prepare has been all about getting back to basics.
``Everybody's done their part this week from the offensive line to the wide receivers and running backs, making sure we all know our assignments,'' starting guard Nick Marshman said on Tuesday.
``The coaching staff has made sure we know what needs to be done.''
In large part, that means keeping the quarterback upright.
Their recent struggles have coincided with the loss of starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor to injury and then another to backup Sean Glennon, a situation which found oft-moved Cory Holt behind center in Virginia Tech's last game - a 30-20 loss at Florida State on Oct. 25.
Taylor and Glennon have both shed their protective boots and taken part in practice this week, but the starter will be a game-time decision.
Maryland (6-2, 3-1) arrives as the division leader in the Atlantic Division, and one of numerous league teams that has its sights on a title.
The Terrapins also have their own demons to chase, having lost all four of their Thursday games since 2004, including two to the Hokies.
``We've had West Virginia or Virginia Tech and we've always had a bad showing,'' defensive end Jeremy Navarre said. ``It'll be nice to go out when you're the only game and (show) everybody we can get it done.''
A key, coach Ralph Friedgen said, will be managing their emotions and not making any of the mistakes that often yield blowouts for the Hokies.
That avalanche of momentum is something the Hokies would relish at this point, having struggled on offense and special teams all season.
With four games left, they know time is running short.
``Everybody this week has really looked deep within themselves and realized that we need to take one game at a time,'' Marshman said. ``We need to keep plugging, keep working and focus on what we haven't done right.''
Having the Terps coming to visit with a spot in the polls and a two-game winning streak only heightens the anticipation, Marshman said.
``We like the challenge. That's why we play this game. That's why the guys from Maryland play this game. They love the challenges,'' he said.
And for both sides, the dangling carrot is the same: a possible berth in the ACC title game, and then a chance to go to a BCS bowl game.
``It's all up to us,'' Marshman said. ``It's still in our hands and we control our own destiny. You just have to make sure you go one game at a time, take one opponent at a time and that you just keep plugging.''

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