Clemson vs Maryland prediction


by - Senior Writer -
    |

Ahhh, the Turtles.

The Maryland Terrapins come calling at Clemson’s Death Valley on Saturday, hoping to earn their fourth win in five tries against a Clemson team that is BADLY in need of W.

Maryland is 4-1 while Clemson is 2-3, yet the Tigers are double digit favorites. Why?

Because Maryland’s signature win was over Navy, a team that had high hopes at the beginning of the season but now sports a 3-2 record. Maryland’s other wins are over Morgan St., Florida International and Duke.

On the flip side, however, Clemson’s two wins are over Presbyterian and North Texas. Not exactly a murderer’s row. Plus the Tigers have dropped three straight.

Add in the fact that the Terps are also garnering votes in the USA Today Top 25 poll– along with their recent success against Clemson– and it makes you wonder why the Tigers are favored so heavily.

It’s simple. They’re just better. But now they have to play like it.

Maryland at Clemson

When Maryland Has the Ball

The Terrapins relied on the legs of running quarterback Jamarr Robinson early in the season, but a shoulder injury has kept him out of the past two contests and allowed Danny O’Brien – the better passer of the two – to take over. Expect to see both on Saturday. When Robinson is healthy, he is a force to be reckoned with on the ground. Add in speedy running back Da’Rel Scott and bruiser Davin Meggett, and it’s obvious that the Terps will try and run the football, get past the Tigers’ dominant defensive line, and force the linebackers to make plays. Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele admitted this week that he uses safety DeAndre McDaniel almost as an extra linebacker to help against the run, but if you see McDaniel and Marcus Gilchrist making the majority of the tackles, it could be a long day. Clemson has to shut down the run and force Maryland to pass – not their strong suit despite the presence of receiver Torrey Smith – and hope that McDaniel and Rashard Hall can force a turnover or three. If Maryland was more of passing threat, they might have the advantage, but....

ADVANTAGE – SLIGHT TO CLEMSON

When Clemson Has the Ball


All of the talk around Clemson this week has revolved around getting running back Andre Ellington more carries. He carried just 12 times at North Carolina – a figure that’s way too low – and should see more touches this week. But the answer to Clemson’s offensive ills isn’t as simple as getting Ellington seven or eight more carries in a game. If the Tigers are to be successful, they need a better passing game, one that actually opens up the running lanes. Right now, the Clemson passing offense seemingly operates either within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage or out on deep balls. A big question mark for the Tigers is the availability of freshman receiver Nuke Hopkins, who had seven catches last week. But those seven catches went for 47 yards – an average of 6.7 yards per catch. Jaron Brown had a big catch and run and the Tigers need more of that. Something also needs to happen in that 10-30 yard range, and that means Dwayne Allen getting open in space. In the running game, it would be nice to see Clemson get behind big old fullback Chad Diehl, the best blocking back in the conference, and see what happens when they dictate to the defense and not the other way around. A plus for Maryland is that they have four of the top nine tacklers in the ACC.

ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON

Special Teams


The Terps have a dangerous punt return man in Tony Logan, who has a 27.7 yard average and two touchdowns. A plus for Clemson is that they also held Miami’s talented group in check, and this week should be no different. The Terps are last in kickoff returns. Travis Baltz is the punter and placekicker, and while he is just 7th in the conference in net punting, he is 4-for-5 on field goals. Clemson has Marcus Gilchrist ranked 13th in the nation in punt returns with a 13-yard average, and Maryland is just 68th in net punting. Dawson Zimmerman is currently ranked 12th in the nation in punting as he continues his strong season. Chandler Catanzaro is 3-for-5 on field goals.  

ADVANTAGE – CLEMSON

Coaching


Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney looked stricken following the game at North Carolina last week. He apologized to anyone that would listen, and he is trying to figure out a way to get his team out of this 2-3 hole they are in. His coordinators are under fire, but a lot that could be lessened with a win. Meanwhile, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who has a head coach in waiting serving under him, has fashioned four wins in the first five games, and could get his team closer to the Top 25 with a win over Clemson in Death Valley. And he has a knack for beating Clemson – he is 6-3 overall against the Tigers.

ADVANTAGE –RIGHT NOW, MARYLAND

BOTTOM LINE


Despite using Top 25 and Maryland in the same sentence a couple of times, this Terrapin team really isn’t Top 25 material. Their big shot has to be the hope that they can once again find some of that Friedgen-against-Clemson magic and run the football effectively. But this is a Tiger team that’s tired of losing, and needs a win in the worst way. The Terps have arrived at just the right time. Former running back C.J. Spiller will lead the Tigers down The Hill, and the fun will continue from there. The defense will finally put together a complete game, the offense will find big plays in the passing game, and the guess here is that something good happens on special teams. Maryland will hang around, because that’s just what they do – but Clemson gets the W they need.

THE PICK

CLEMSON 28, MARYLAND 13




David's previous picks - Actual score

CLEMSON 56, PRESBYTERIAN 6 - CLEMSON 58, PRESBYTERIAN 21

CLEMSON 52, NORTH TEXAS 10 - CLEMSON 35, NORTH TEXAS 10

CLEMSON 26, AUBURN 24 - CLEMSON 24, AUBURN 27

CLEMSON 27, MIAMI 23 - CLEMSON 21, MIAMI 30

CLEMSON 23, NORTH CAROLINA 26 - CLEMSON 15 NORTH CAROLINA 21

Rate this Story:
14 votes

Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment
    |
Loading...
Post your comments!

Analyst says Watson 'magic' gives Texans shot at Patriots

Clemson vs. Boston College Prediction

Alabama OT commit: "I love Clemson"

Friday Email Bag

Clemson releases recap video on win over Louisville

WATCH: Clemson still 'most complete team' after losing kicker

Sammy Watkins leaves game with head injury

Clemson offers nation's No. 1 2019 center

Focus shouldn’t be a problem against Boston College
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Features
Updates
Daily Digest