vs. Florida State
8 p.m., Byrd Stadium. TV: WJLA-7, WMAR-2. Radio: WWXT (92.7 FM), WWXX (94.3 FM), WTEM (980 AM). Records: Terrapins 7-3, 4-2 ACC; Seminoles 7-3, 5-2.
Maryland's offensive line - which lost two starting tackles to injuries this season - played one of its best games Saturday at Virginia. Now it will need to protect quarterback Danny O'Brien against the pass rush of Florida State, which leads the nation in sacks per game (3.9). Maryland has confronted other teams this season with strong pass rushers, but Coach Ralph Friedgen said Florida State possesses a "different breed of cat." A four-time ACC rookie of the week honoree, O'Brien would appear to have the rookie of the year award locked up, but he needs a relatively clean jersey by game's end for Maryland to have a chance Saturday.
PONDER MAKES HIS RETURN
Christian Ponder, Florida State's fifth-year senior quarterback, is expected to start after missing last week's game against Clemson with an elbow injury. Ponder had a significant amount of fluid drained from that right elbow. This season, Ponder has thrown 16 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. If Ponder wants to finish his career in the Orange Bowl, this is a must-win game. It's possible that backup E.J. Manuel could play, as well.
LIVING A CHARMED LIFE
As the adage goes, if not for bad luck, Maryland had no luck last season. Not the case in 2010. In the season opener, the Terrapins were fortunate that Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs fumbled the ball time and again in the red zone. And they were fortunate a pass deflected off a Virginia linebacker's hands and landed in LaQuan Williams's hands late in the third quarter Saturday. Not only haven't the Terrapins beaten a team as good as Florida State all season, they may not have not played a team as strong as the Seminoles. Maryland may need some breaks to continue to go its way.
- Eric Prisbell