By Heath Bradley.
The 2012 season kicks off in just over three months. As the Tigers prepare for summer workouts TheClemsonInsider.com takes an early look at the 2012 opponents. Maryland will travel to Death Valley for a November Atlantic Division battle.
Date: Nov. 10, 2012
Location: Clemson, SC
2012 Maryland QUICK FACTS
Location: College Park, MD
Colors: Red, White, Black, & Gold
Conference: ACC (Atlantic)
2011 Record – Overall (Conference): 2-10 (1-7)
Head Coach: Randy Edsall (2-10 in 1 Season at Maryland)
Coordinators: Offensive Coordinator- Mike Locksley; Defensive Coordinator- Brian Stewart
Returning Lettermen: 42 (19 offense, 22 defense, 1 specialists)
Returning Starters: 18, 5 Offense, 10 Defense, 3 Specialists
Key Returning Players: LB- Kenny Tate, DT- Joe Vellano, TE- Matt Furstenburg, WR- Kevin Dorsey
Key Losses: QB- Danny O’Brien, RB- Davin Meggett, CB- Cameron Chism, RT- Max Garcia
What to Expect: Clemson played possibly their most exciting and heart wrenching game in 2011 versus the Maryland Terrapins. The 2011 matchup was a game that saw the Tigers lead, trail, and comeback to win in the fourth quarter. The Tigers trailed the Terrpains by 18 with just under 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter when they began to mount their comeback. Spectacular defenses plays, touchdown catches, and key special teams plays lead the Tigers to a 56-45 come from behind victory.
Andre Ellington had a monster game on the ground for the Tigers, rushing for 212 yards on just 24 carries, scoring two touchdowns. However, wide receiver Sammy Watkins stole the show. After Watkins fumbled a punt, which set up an early Maryland touchdown, he immediately was determined to not let his team lose the game. Watkins made up for his mistake finishing the game with 8 receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns, as well as five kickoff returns for 207 yards and a touchdown. Watkins set the school record for all-purpose yards in a game with his 345-yard performance. His 89-yard kick return for a touchdown gave the Tigers a 49-45 lead late in the fourth quarter. The Tigers would not relinquish the lead and went on to defeat the Terrapins 56-45.
Clemson will look to continue their late offensive success in the 2011 game in the 2012 matchup. The Clemson key to success in 2012 will be able to stop the option-read that Maryland QB CJ Brown used to rush for 162 yards and a touchdown in the 2011 matchup. If Clemson can limit the rushing yards by the quarterback it will force Maryland who lost its leading rusher from 2011, to rely more on the pass. It will be important for the Clemson secondary to cover the tight end, Furstenburg, the Maryland tight end, caught two touchdown passes in the 2011 matchup. If Clemson can cut down on the quarterback run and passes to the tight end the defense should be in good shape to contain the Terrapins offense. The Tigers turned the ball over twice, one an interception return for a touchdown, and the other setting up a short Maryland touchdown. If Clemson can find a way to not turn the ball over and give Maryland a short field, expect Clemson to win. If Maryland forces turnovers and hurts Clemson on the ground, expect a struggle for the Tigers in Death Valley.