Ask anyone in College Park, Md. and I am sure they will know what they are up against this Saturday at noon. Maryland is traveling to Tallahassee to take on the No. 8 Florida State Seminoles in Doak Campbell Stadium, a place where they have never won. In fact, in 23 total meetings between the two schools, Maryland has only won twice.
This is a series that has been dominated by the Seminoles, with the majority of their wins coming by way of blowouts. The first time these two teams played in 1966, Florida State won 45-21, which would set the tone for the remainder of the series. In 1992, the Noles hung 69 points on the Terps, and in 1995 and 2000. the Noles racked up 59 points in each of those years against Maryland. Historically, the Seminoles have just embarrassed Maryland on the scoreboard and both fan bases know that.
Florida State has won six in a row against Maryland, and are looking to continue their dominance this weekend. However, Maryland fans hope that the ball will bounce their way like it did in 2006, the last time Maryland defeated FSU. That year, the stars aligned for Maryland to win that game in College Park as then-head coach of the Seminoles Bobby Bowden was having quarterback issues of epic proportions. It seemed like for two or three years that Bowden could not ever really decide on who to start between Drew Weatherford or Xavier Lee. The latter got the nod against Maryland and actually played a decent game, but everything seemed to go the Terps way in that ballgame.
Despite being outgained 458-223, Maryland found themselves walking away with a 27-24 win. One of the main reasons for the win was due to the fact that Florida State racked up 100 penalty yards, which caused them points and field position. Maryland quarterback Sam Hollenbach threw for three touchdowns, two of which were to Darrius Heyward-Bey, to lead Maryland to a huge victory at home.
Randy Edsall will be hoping for a similar outcome this weekend as he knows that he will need all the help he can get in order to win in a hostile environment. Neither Florida State nor Maryland have truly been tested on the year, so both teams are in similar situations, except Florida State gets the luxury of playing in the Doak.
Statistically, it will be a clash of a top notch offense against a stout defense. Maryland is third in the nation for points allowed, only giving up 10.3 points per game. Florida State is fourth in the nation in scoring offense, racking up 51.3 points per game.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has looked every bit like a five-star recruit, and his maturity and understanding of the game has impressed even the most skeptical Florida State fan. However, the Seminole defense looked shaky against Boston College last week, giving up 200 rushing yards to the Eagles. Running the ball is Maryland’s bread and butter with their capable running back Brandon Ross, and also their quarterback C.J. Brown.
You can rest assured that Edsall will use the zone-read a lot against the Noles to get the safeties to cheat up, before going over the top to their deep-threat receiver Stefon Diggs. Edsall has not had a statement win since he has been at Maryland, and he is searching for validation from this team. One thing is for certain, though, this is the most meaningful game Maryland has played in about three years. The defense must show up for the Terps in order to give the team a chance, as their defense has given up 41 points to Florida State in each of the past two seasons. That trend must be broken on Saturday for Maryland to reverse its fortune against the Seminoles.
Travis Patterson, Writer For ACC Rantsports.com. Follow on Twitter @tpat20.