By Will Vandervort
Here is an inside look at the Maryland-Clemson series as the ninth-ranked Clemson Tigers visit the Maryland Terrapins Saturday in College Park, Md.. The game will be televised by ESPN with kickoff set for 3:35 p.m.
About the Maryland Terrapins: Maryland has 21 players on its injury list, including quarterback C.J. Brown, running back Brandon Ross and wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long. All four will not play, while Diggs and Long are done for the season. The defense isn’t much better as Maryland’s top tackler (L.A. Goree) and leader in interceptions (Dexter McDougle) will also miss Saturday’s game. Seven other defensive players are also listed out and three others (defensive lineman Zeka Riser, linebacker Matt Robinson and linebacker Alex Twine) are listed as probable.
The Maryland offense: Brown out for this game, the Terps will turn to former Blue Ridge High School (Landrum, S.C.) quarterback Caleb Rowe, who came in for the injured Brown in last week’ loss to Wake Forest and threw for 207 yards and a touchdown in the second half. Rowe will be making his second career start as he stepped in for the injured Brown a few weeks back in a win over Virginia. He threw for 332 yards in the victory.
The Maryland defense: Despite all of the injuries, the Terps rank 25th nationally in total defense (354.4) and 27th in rushing defense (123.7). Linebacker Marcus Whitfield has 6.5 sacks which ranks fourth in the ACC. He also has 9.5 tackles for loss. The Terps have 19 sacks overall. Maryland has forced 13 turnovers so far this season. Defensive back William Likely had eight tackles in last week’s loss to Wake Forest and had one pass broken up.
The Maryland Special Teams: Placekicker Brad Craddock continues to be a bright spot for the Terps, despite missing his first field goal under 50 yards this season. He has made 13 of 16 field goals this year, and ranks second in the ACC in kicks per game. Likely ranks second in the ACC and 14th nationally averaging 28.8 yards per kick return.
Records: Clemson 6-1, 4-1 ACC, Maryland 5-2, 1-2 ACC
Series record: Clemson leads the series 33-26-2
Last year: Clemson beat Maryland 45-10 at Clemson
Last Maryland win: 24-21, 2009
Stat worth noting: Clemson committed four turnovers that led to 24 Florida State points last week and FSU got the win 51-14. FSU won the points off turnover stat 24-0 for the game, so Clemson now has a 56-24 advantage for the year. Last year Clemson outscored the opposition, 111-51 in terms of points off turnovers. In Dabo Swinney’s career at Clemson as a head coach the Tigers are 29-3 when winning the turnover margin.
Second stat worth noting: Since Tajh Boyd became Clemson’s starting quarterback at the start of the 2011 season, the Tigers have a 5-0 record when playing on an artificial surface. Maryland installed FieldTurf at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium prior to the 2012 season, so this will be the first time Clemson has played against Maryland on an artificial surface. It will likely be the last as Maryland moves out of the ACC to the Big 10 in 2014. Clemson won four games on artificial surface last year, Auburn and LSU in the Georgia Dome, at Boston College and at Wake Forest. Earlier this year Clemson downed Syracuse in the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. Clemson has won those five games by a combined score of 187-101, an average of 37 points per game and an average victory of 17 points per game. Boyd has been especially effective, hitting 135 of 187 passes for 1,804 yards in those games on artificial surface. He has 13 touchdown passes and four interceptions in those five games as well. He has averaged 360 yards passing, completed 72.2 percent of his passes and an efficiency of 171.9. He has 1,948 yards of total offense in those five games for 389.6 yards per game.
Third stat worth noting: Boyd needs just eight passing yards at Maryland to become the third quarterback in ACC history to pass for 10,000 yards. The all-time leader is Philip Rivers of NC State, now in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, and Thaddeus Lewis of Duke, now with the Buffalo Bills is second. Boyd needs just 73 passing
Memorable game: Clemson beat Maryland, 28-24, in 1978 to win its first ACC Championship in 11years at the time. This game is still called the greatest game in ACC history by many. It was a game of one big play after another. The two teams combined for 757 yards. There were three scoring plays of 62 yards or better and defensive plays were highlighted by a blocked punt which the Terrapins recovered in the Clemson end zone with 12 seconds left in the first half, giving them a 14-7 lead at the break. The Tigers finished the game with 442 total yards, including 216 from Fuller, who found Butler for an 87-yard touchdown and Clark from 62 yards away in the third quarter.