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Clemson Football: Week 9 Defense Postgame Grades vs Maryland Terrapins





Once again, the Clemson defense found itself on the short end of the stick when the offense wasn’t getting the job done early on in the game. But they answered the call and kept Maryland out of the end zone long enough for the offense to create separation in the second half. Even when the Tigers’ offense committed three costly turnovers, the defense forced four from Maryland en route to the Tigers’ 40-27 victory. Anyone who watched this game can certainly agree that this game was won largely thanks to the play of Clemson’s defense and the leg of kicker Chandler Cantanzaro, who made all four of his attempted field goals.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at this week’s defensive grades:

Defensive line: B

The defensive line wasn’t quite as disruptive as it has been, but it continues its solid production along the front seven. Sack master Vic Beasley notched four tackles on the day, including a sack, moving his total to 10 on the season. Defensive tackle Josh Watson also got his first sack on the season. The defensive line was also key in keeping Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe under wraps for most of the day, who completed only 19 of his 45 passes for 282 yards, who threw three touchdowns but also tossed two costly interceptions. They were also instrumental in holding the Terps to only 82 rushing yards on the day.

Linebacker: B

The linebackers kept Maryland’s plan of ball control and running clock under wraps to get their offense back onto the field, only allowing Maryland 82 rushing yards on the ground, holding their second string running back Albert Reid to only 70 yards rushing on 15 carries. Spencer Shuey and Stephone Anthony didn’t amass their usual number of tackles, but their production forced Maryland’s offense to become one dimensional and forced them to throw the ball, testing Clemson’s continually questioned secondary. The front seven also did not allow a rushing touchdown for one of the first times this season.

Secondary: B

After surrendering  an early 71 yard catch and run by Terps receiver Levern Jacobs, Clemson’s secondary wouldn’t give up another score through the air until the fourth quarter. With Maryland missing two of its top receiving threats in Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, the secondary was able to keep Maryland’s reserves under wraps. Bashaud Breeland‘s impact at cornerback was felt when he returned in the second half for his targeting penatly against FSUwhen he forced a fumble that led to a Clemson score and nabbed an interception.

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Clemson vs. Maryland: Game Preview With TV Schedule





With one of the ugliest losses at home in the history of Clemson Tigers football, Dabo Swinney‘s team must recover in order to still make a push at a conference title. The Tigers lost to the Florida State Seminoles at home by an embarrassing score of 51-14. It’s time for the Tigers to step up and make a statement a week after a tough loss.

On the other side of the field, the Maryland Terrapins started the season off red-hot but have since cooled off considerably. The Terrapins began the season 4-0 and were ranked in the top-25 but suffered the same fate against Florida State as the Tigers did — they were blown out by a ridiculous score of 63-0. Maryland is now 5-2 and looking to become bowl eligible.

Clemson is still one of the best teams in the ACC despite a laugher of a loss in week eight, but Tajh Boyd must express his veteran leadership in order for such a thing to never happen again. The senior quarterback is one of the best in the nation and his 1,939 passing yards and 19 touchdowns are a solid mark for him as he might surpass his career-high totals for a season. Sammy Watkins has caught 44 passes for 650 yards and five touchdowns on the season — the one guy that can bail Boyd out at every opportunity.

Maryland is glad to have quarterback C.J. Brown back after suffering an injury in the loss to the Seminoles. The senior dual-threat quarterback has been solid this season, passing for 1,262 yards and seven touchdowns while rushing for another 251 yards and six touchdowns in just six games. Don’t forget about talented wide out Stefon Diggs who is quite possibly the biggest star on offense. He has caught 34 passes for 587 yards and three touchdowns on the season.

Defensively, the Terrapins rank 45th in points allowed per game while also ranking 27th in yards allowed per game with just over 350 per contest. Clemson’s defense took a bit of a hit after the blowout loss to Florida State, dropping to 26th nationally in points allowed per game and 54th in yards allowed per game.

Clemson will travel to Maryland to take on the Terrapins at 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Oct. 26. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.

PREDICTION: Clemson 35, Maryland 21

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at muldown5@gmail.com.

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Florida State Seminoles Defense Rebounds to Shut Out Maryland Terrapins





A week after struggling against Boston College, the Florida State Seminoles defense felt they had something to prove on Saturday against Maryland.

Point proven.

In a highly anticipated matchup of 4-0 teams, the Noles shut down the Maryland attack during FSU’s 63-0 obliteration of the 25th ranked Terps.

From start to finish, the Noles made it hard on a Maryland offense that had played well to start the season. Not only did they devastate them on the scoreboard, they beat them up physically as well.

In fact, starting quarterback C.J. Brown was knocked out of the game in the second quarter after being destroyed by Seminole defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel. Truthfully, McDaniel easily could have been called for a late hit on the play as it looked like he took two steps and hit Brown after he delivered the deep pass. Maryland head coach Randy Edsall appeared to be complaining about the fact that McDaniel led with the crown of his helmet too.

Either way, the play was a microcosm of the frustrating day for the Terps offense. Standout wide receiver Stefon Diggs was held to just two catches and 24 yards on the day. Although senior cornerback Lamarcus Joyner was man to man on him for a majority of the day, defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt threw a few other looks at him as well.

Early in the game, linebacker Telvin Smith carried Diggs down the seam and did a nice job getting into his field of vision to force a drop. Later, Smith jammed Diggs early in his route before passing him off to bracket coverage on the back end. It was tough for Diggs to find space, and inevitably, without his production, the offense sputtered.

The Noles held the Terps to 234 yards of offense and a woeful 2-15 on third down conversions. It seemed like every time you looked up, Maryland was in third and long, and that’s not going to work against this Seminoles defense.

Pruitt and Co. will have their work cut out for them as they head into Death Valley to take on the Clemson Tigers in what will be one of the most hyped games for the ACC in years.

Much of the attention will focus on Jameis Winston and the explosive offense. But if the Noles want to pull off the shocker and have a chance to compete for the ACC title, it will come down to the defense.

B.L. is an ACC football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip or on Google.

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Maryland Terrapins Can Take Advantage of Florida State Seminoles' Defense

The Maryland Terrapins will put their perfect 4-0 record to the test on Saturday when they head to Tallahassee to take on the Florida State Seminoles at noon.

There’s no doubt the Seminoles’ offense is far superior to any team the Terps have played thus far. The balanced FSU attack is led by redshirt freshman Jameis Winston and a trio of talented receivers. They will provide a challenge for the Maryland defense which isn’t as good as their No. 3 points against ranking might indicate.

The Maryland offense, however, might be able to find space against a Florida State defense who showed some vulnerabilities in a 48-34 victory at Boston College.

Senior quarterback C.J. Brown is exactly the type of quarterback that has given Florida State defenses fits in the past. His ability to both run and pass could be dangerous against a fast defense that has trouble over pursuing. Brown isn’t blazing fast, but has become a solid decision-maker in Maryland’s zone-read schemes. He’s second on the team with 283 rushing yards, and leads the Terps with six rushing touchdowns. He should be able to keep the defense off balance in the run game for stretches on Saturday.

However, if Maryland wants to pull off the upset, they’ll need to move the ball through the air consistently. All-everything wide receiver Stefon Diggs will certainly draw the attention of the Seminoles’ defense, but it’s almost impossible to completely shut him down. The Terps do a great job getting him the ball on screens and sweeps, and if he finds space, he’s lethal in the open field.

Don’t kid yourself, though. FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt knows that the offense flows through Brown and Diggs, and will have a few different schemes to account for them. If the Terps have any real chance of winning, sophomore running back Brandon Ross and junior wide receiver Deon Long will need to play very well.

Expect to see a number of misdirection run plays and throwback screens that try to take advantage of the overly aggressive Seminoles’ defense. They’ll likely try to keep the clock in motion and try to keep Winston and the potent Noles’ offense off the field.

It will take a great effort, but the Seminoles defense can be beaten.

Slowing down Winston and Co.?

That’s another story.

B.L. is an ACC football writer who can be followed on Twitter @coachlip or on Google.

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History Not On Maryland's Side Against Florida State





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.

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Maryland Terrapins Looking To Make Run in ACC





The University of Maryland Terrapins football team squeaked their way into the AP Top 25 for the first time since Nov. 16, 2008, earlier this week. After going only 4-8 in 2012 under third-year head coach Randy Edsall, the Terps have already managed to match that total in 2013.

Maryland has really stepped up their game on both sides of the football this season. The Terps have a healthy starting quarterback this season in sixth-year senior C.J. Brown. Last year, the Terps could not keep a quarterback healthy and had to resort to a true freshman linebacker. Brown has made a tremendous difference running Edsall’s offense.

Maryland is averaging 39.8 points a game. Brown is the fourth leading passer in the ACC completing 66 percent of his passes, which average 10.5 yards a completion with slinging seven touchdowns and only one interception. Brown is the second leading rusher on the team with 283 yards and six touchdowns. Brown is also the eighth leading rusher in the ACC, the only quarterback in the top 10 rushers in the conference.

Brown is not doing it all by himself, though. Sophomore wideout Stefon Diggs is also helping out the Terps’ offense. The speedy Diggs has snagged just 18 passes but for 400 yards and three touchdowns. Diggs averages 22.2 yards per catch and is the fifth-leading receiver in the ACC. Diggs helps take some of the pressure off of Brown by being a reliable deep threat and consistent on shallow cross patterns that are easy to complete and let him run after the catch.

The Terps defense has been solid as of late, too. Maryland is third in the NCAA in points allowed giving up only 10.3 points per game. They posted a shutout last week against the University of West Virginia. Senior outside linebacker Marcus Whitfield has helped keep opposing teams out of the end zone. Whitfield, a Northwest High School graduate, is third in the ACC with 5.5 sacks.

It looks like the Terps are on the rise in 2013. Some critics may say that they have not played any quality opponents with wins over Florida International, UConn and Old Dominion. The Terps will have their chance to silence the critics come Saturday afternoon in their first ACC match-up, when they travel down to Doak Campbell Stadium to take on the No. 8 Florida State Seminoles.

Brandon Martin is a Chicago Bulls writer for RantSports.com Follow him on Twitter @PressCoverage_ or add him to your Google Network

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Maryland vs. Florida State: Game Preview With TV Schedule





The Florida State Seminoles expectations for the end result in 2013 keep on rising as the wins keep on coming. As one of the ACC‘s top teams — second-best right now to be exact — the Seminoles are sitting at 4-0 with their closest game being decided by 14 points.

On the other side of the field, the Maryland Terrapins are new to the top-25 rankings this week and look to be a serious test for the Seminoles. If there is going to be a dark-horse team to win the ACC, this is it. The Terrapins are also 4-0, and like the Seminoles, the closes game was decided by just over 10 points.

Jameis Winston has to be one of the best freshman quarterbacks in the nation — if not the clear-cut best. He has put together a solid Heisman campaign, passing for 1,048 yards and 12 touchdowns with just two interceptions while completing nearly 74 percent of his passes. This could be the second-straight season in which a redshirt freshman quarterback wins the Heisman. If he keeps throwing the ball, Kenny Shaw and Rashad Greene will keep catching the ball. They combine for 37 catches and 669 yards and seven touchdowns.

I don’t want to call the Terrapins a surprising 4-0 because they have been lightly-tested thus far, but the offense has been solid through four games. Quarterback C.J. Brown has completed over 66 percent of his passes for 1,043 yards and seven scores while throwing just one interception. He has rushed for nearly 300 yards and six touchdowns as well. Stefon Diggs is easily the senior QB’s favorite target, catching 18 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns. While Diggs has the most receiving yards on the team, Deon Long has 21 catches for 271 yards and a score.

Defensively, Florida State is ranked in the top-15 in the nation in multiple defensive categories, including allowing just under 300 yards per game and 15 points per game. Maryland allows just 10 points per game so far this season, but they have yet to see an offense at the caliber of Florida State.

Maryland will travel to Florida State to take on the Seminoles at 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, Oct. 5. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.

PREDICTION: Maryland 24, Florida State 34

Related: ACC Football: Top Storylines In Week 6

Florida State Seminoles’ Jameis Winston’s Heisman Moment

Maryland Terrapins Get Huge Commitment from Juwann Winfree

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at muldown5@gmail.com.

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