Preview: Maryland hosts No. 8 Clemson

7 p.m. at Byrd Stadium. TV: ESPNU. Radio: WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), WTEM (980 AM). Records: Terrapins 2-3, 1-1 ACC; Tigers 6-0, 3-0.

Mystery at quarterback

By concealing its starting quarterback until game time, Maryland has made Clemson prepare for different styles. C.J. Brown entered last Saturday’s Georgia Tech game in the second quarter and ran for 124 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown run. He replaced Danny O’Brien, who completed one pass and also threw an interception. But Brown struggled in the passing game, as well, against a defense that did not have a strong reputation. Maryland ranks 91st in scoring offense. Now the offensive line is in flux with sophomore Pete White replacing injured senior Andrew Gonnella at left guard. The last two games, Clemson has allowed 17 total points and 258 total yards. End Andre Branch is tied for seventh nationally in sacks.

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A tough task

Maryland’s defense will be thin and inexperienced against an athletic, explosive offense that strives for 80 plays per game. With linebackers Demetrius Hartsfield (out) and Kenny Tate (doubtful) with injuries, the Terrapins may be starting anywhere from three to five freshmen. The defense — especially Joe Vellano, who had 20 tackles — played an outstanding game against Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense. But the Tigers have more weapons. Start with quarterback Tajh Boyd, who has 15 touchdown passes and two interceptions, and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, a freshman who already has three games of at least 140 receiving yards. Six players have produced plays of 50 yards or more.

ferrara a bright spot

Aside from the performance of Nick Ferrara, who has helped Maryland rank 23rd in net punting, Maryland’s special teams units have struggled. The Terrapins ranks 102nd in punt returns and 103rd in kickoff returns.