Clemson vs. Maryland prediction

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CLEMSON – Fear the turtle? Not this season. This season, it has been more a case of fear FOR the turtle.

Maryland coach Randy Edsall had hopes before the start of the season that he had enough talent on hand to erase the pain of a 2011 season that saw the Terrapins stumble to a 2-10 record.

Maryland currently stands at 4-5 in 2012, which is quite remarkable considering how hard the Terps have been hit by injuries. One quarterback transferred out of the program, but starter C.J. Brown, backup Perry Hills, third-stringer Caleb Rowe and wide receiver-turned-quarterback Devin Burns have all fallen prey to injuries, meaning that freshman linebacker Shawn Petty took the snaps behind center a week ago against Georgia Tech.

The good news for Maryland is that they still have a chance to get to a bowl game. The bad news is that they have to win two out of their last three games, and they have games at Clemson, at home against Florida St. and at North Carolina to close the season.

Maryland is bolstered by a stout defense – ranked 11th in the country – and hasn’t really been blown out by anyone. Will they be able to survive this weekend against a Clemson team that has scored at least 37 points in eight consecutive games and has outscored opponents 228-112 during a current five-game winning streak?

WHAT: No. 8 Clemson vs. Maryland
WHERE: Memorial Stadim (85,000) - Clemson, S.C.
WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 10 (3:30 p.m.)
SPREAD: Clemson -31


Shawn Petty was pressed into action last week against Georgia Tech, and the numbers weren’t as awful as one might expect – he completed 9-of-18 passes for 115 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Both of his scoring tosses were to another freshman – wide receiver Stefon Diggs – who has caught 43 passes for 721 yards and six touchdowns. Diggs has been the lone bright spot for a Maryland team that has struggled because of the injuries at quarterback, and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent VenablesBrent Venables
Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers
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called Diggs a physical freak this week, comparing him to Clemson’s receivers. However, Maryland’s bad luck continues and Diggs hurt his ankle this week in practice and he will miss the game. Marcus Leak was also having a decent season for Maryland (23 receptions) but suffered a broken toe against N.C. State. Next up is wide receiver Kevin Dorsey, who has 15 catches for 198 yards, and tight end Matt Furstenberg, who always seems to have a big game against Clemson. Last season, he caught two touchdowns against the Tigers in College Park. Maryland will obviously have to rely on its ground attack against the Tigers, but the Terrapins have struggled there, too, averaging a measly 97.2 rushing yards per game, which is 113th in the nation. Talented freshman Wes Brown leads Maryland with 382 yards on 90 carries, but he also suffered an ankle injury this week and he is out for this game, leaving the duties to Justus Pickett, who has 141 yards on the season. Maryland will look at Clemson’s game tape and realize how much the Tigers have struggled against the read option and outside runs and use that to Petty’s advantage. They will also try and milk the play clock, and hope the safeties creep in enough to hit something over the top. However, Clemson’s defense has been improving as of late, and it’s hard to imagine Maryland having any kind of sustained success.



How much more can be written about Clemson’s offense? Quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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and his receivers have simply played pitch-and-catch over the last few weeks as the offense has risen to ninth nationally in total offense at 522.4 yards per game, is 10th in passing offense (324.4 yards per game) and seventh in scoring offense at 42.7 points per game. Maryland’s defense hasn’t been a slouch this season – they rank 11th nationally – and have given up just 318.5 yards per game on the road this season. It all starts up front for the Terps, and they are led by defensive tackle Joe Vellano, who’s first in the ACC with 14 tackles for loss. Linebacker Darin Drakeford is tied for sixth in the ACC with 9.5 tackles for loss, and Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said earlier this week that Maryland will bring pressure from all angles. However, they wouldn’t be Maryland if they didn’t have a major injury – it was announced earlier this week that leading tackler Demetrius Hartsfield went down with a torn ACL. Hartsfield is currently tied for seventh in the ACC with 78 tackles, and he will be missed. The Terrapins have been stout against the run and have given up just eight rushing touchdowns this season, and five of those came last week against Georgia Tech. Tiger running back Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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played just one play last week against Duke – he tweaked his hamstring on the game’s first offensive play – and it isn’t known how much he will be able to play. Maryland will more than likely try and stuff the run and force the Tigers into passing situations, where Vellano and company can simply rush the quarterback – something they have done very well this season in averaging 2.78 sacks per game. The Terrapins have just three interceptions on the season.



Diggs has put together a solid season in the return game – he’s fourth in the ACC in both punt returns and kick returns – and will be missed Saturday. Clemson, meanwhile, has returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Maryland in each of the last three seasons – C.J. SpillerC.J. Spiller
Pro Running Back
#28 5-11, 195
Lake Butler, FL

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in 2009, Andre Ellington in 2010 and Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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last season. With Ellington nursing the sore hamstring, don’t look for him to be on the field on kickoffs, but Watkins has big-play capability and looks like he might be ready to break out. Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
So. Wide Receiver
#16 5-11, 190
Spartanburg, SC

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has been solid if not spectacular in the punt return game. Kicker Chandler CatanzaroChandler Catanzaro
RS Jr. Punter / Kicker
#39 6-2, 195
Greenville, SC

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is a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award and has hit on 12-of-13 field goal attempts. Maryland’s Brad Craddock, a freshman, is 8-for-14 on field goal attempts. Maryland’s Nathan Renfro is averaging over six punts per game, and has a 40.07 average.



I know this looks like a blowout, and it should be. And while other people cringe when they see Duke or Wake Forest or N.C. State as an opponent, I hate seeing the Turtles come to town. I remember 2006, when Maryland won at Clemson in an upset by a 13-12 score. Had Clemson won that game it would have played in the ACC Championship game. I remember Ralph Friedgen going 6-4 against the Tigers. I remember the Clemson team that played for the ACC Championship in 2009, but was defeated by a Maryland team that won just two games. Maryland was up by 18 points last year in College Park before Clemson came back for the win. This Maryland team, however, is hurting at more than one position, and simply doesn’t have enough on offense to make this a contest. The Terps will play tough on defense, and the Tigers probably won’t score as many points early as they did in wins over Wake Forest and Duke. But talent and a homecoming crowd wins out as the Tigers win 12 in a row at home and satisfy a Homecoming crowd.




Mickey Plyler - 6-9AM on WCCP 104.9FM EST - 41-14 Clemson
Dan Scott - Charter TV on Wed at 9:00pm EST - 52-12 Clemson
El Swann - TigerNet Talk - 47-14 Clemson
Pigskin Prophet - 45-10 Clemson


GameActualDavid HoodMickey PlylerDan ScottEl SwannPigskin Prophet
Auburn26-19 CU30-23 CU31-17 CU30-21 CU27-14 CU27-12 CU
Ball St52-27 CU47-20 CU44-21 CU52-21 CU49-10 CU48-23 CU
Furman41-7 CU52-17 CU52-17 CU-55-13 CU46-13 CU
FSU49-37 FSU37-31 FSU30-27 FSU31-28 CU31-27 CU34-30 FSU
BC45-31 CU37-23 CU38-23 CU38-21 CU42-17 CU45-33 CU
GT47-31 CU47-30 CU41-31 CU38-35 CU28-27 GT48-31 CU
VT38-17 CU44-31 CU38-20 CU41-27 CU42-30 CU34-24 CU
Wake42-13 CU41-17 CU38-24 CU34-31 CU45-17 CU5-31 CU
Duke56-20 CU48-24 CU41-27 CU49-24 CU52-24 CU52-20 CU
Points - 1511101015

* Points: 3 pts for best prediction of the week (tiebreaker is Clemson score), 1pt for picking the correct winner

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