Maryland football vs. Florida State: Previewing the game

November 16, 2012
(Associated Press)

THE INFO

Who: Terps (4-6, 2-4 ACC) vs. Florida State (9-1, 6-1 ACC)

When: Noon.

Where: Byrd Stadium.

TV: ESPNU.

DMV radio: WTEM (980 AM), WJZ (105.7 FM).

Satellite radio: XM Channel 190, Sirius Channel 135.

Coaches: Terps – Randy Edsall (Second season, 6-16). Seminoles – Jimbo Fisher (Third season, 28-9)

Series: Florida State leads, 20-2.

THE SCRIPT

This is the final home hurrah for Maryland’s 17 seniors, who have endured all manner of coaching changes, injuries and general disappointment throughout their time in College Park. Things certainly haven’t gone as planned during their last season, but Senior Day offers the opportunity for a parting shot. The Terps, as usual since three quarterbacks went down in a week-long span, are listed as heavy underdogs and are coming off a 45-10 blowout at Clemson, their worst loss since the season opener in 2009. Waiting on the opposite sideline are the 10th-ranked Seminoles, who need to take care of business to remain in line for an ACC championship game berth. Florida State enters with the nation’s top-ranked defense and a high-powered offense led by quarterback E.J. Manuel, representing perhaps Maryland’s toughest task of an already grueling season. 

THE QUESTIONS

1. Zero turnovers? Quarterback Shawn Petty coughed up three fumbles at Death Valley last weekend, digging the Terps into an un-climable hole early. Petty put the onus squarely on his broad shoulders, taking the blame for not holding the ball tight enough, but talk won’t cut it against the Seminoles and its massive defensive line. Simply tossing the football away or absorbing a sack without a fumble would do wonders for Maryland, which needs to win the field position game and time of possession battle to even have a remote shot.

2. Get Diggs going? Stefon Diggs was sidelined last week with an ankle injury but was listed as probably on Thursday’s injury report and appears good to go versus Florida State. He might be blanketed in coverage on the outside and limited over the middle, especially with Petty’s arm, but Diggs will be counted on in special teams play to break one to paydirt. Now if he could just do that multiple times, the Terps might be all set.

3. Limit the big play? This has been a weakness of Maryland’s defense throughout the season, allowing missed tackles on the outside and big plays over the middle. This can’t happen against Manuel and Co., not if the defense wants to keep the Seminoles off the field and at least give Petty and the offense some semblance of a chance in this one.  

THE STATS

76.5: Percent of passes above 15 yards in his past two games completed by Manuel. He’s 13 of 17 from that distance.

44: Yards for Brandon Ross on one run against Clemson, the longest rush by a Maryland player this season.

6:28: Minutes and seconds better in time of possession this season than Maryland was in 2011 (25:16 to 31:44).

THE QUOTES

“This year it’s been a lot different. We have guys who want to be here, guys who believe in what Coach Edsall’s doing. Of course this isn’t the season we all wanted, but like I’ve told other people, our record doesn’t reflect the team we’ve got here. We’ve got a special group of guys here. They want to win, we’ll do everything we can. I’m excited to see this team in the future and see what Coach Edsall will do.” – Offensive lineman Justin Gilbert.

“The senior class will probably tell the story for a long time. Even though you’re seeing it and we’re living it, it’s still unbelievable at times to think about the injuries, the things we’ve had to overcome. The coaching changes, to think about our class, and when we came in, how things seemed to stable, from when we came in until now, you can’t make it up. It’s almost book-worthy. It’s been pretty surreal to be a part of it. I’m grateful for all the good moments, and even the bad ones.” – Tight end Devonte Campbell

THE SONG OF SATURDAY

The Reeling” by Passion Pit.

THE POLL

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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