Preview: Maryland at No. 10 Clemson
3:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium, Clemson, S.C. TV: ESPNU. Radio: WTEM (980 AM), WJFK (105.7 FM). Records: Terrapins 4-5, 2-3 ACC; Tigers 8-1, 5-1.
CONTAIN BOYD: Stopping Clemson’s potent offense begins with putting pressure on quarterback Tajh Boyd and containing DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins on the outside. The Tigers are rolling, motivated by hopes of an at-large BCS bowl bid, and are stopping for no one at this point. Without Demetrius Hartsfield to anchor the defense, Maryland has a massive challenge on its hands, but L.A. Goree (Hartsfield’s replacement) had 12 tackles against Clemson last season, and will need to step up over the middle.
SLOW IT DOWN: Don’t be surprised if the Terps try to slow the game in Death Valley to a crawl by burning the clock and keeping Boyd off the field. Crossing midfield could easily put Maryland in four-down territory, especially because they will need to keep pace on the scoreboard with the Tigers. The Terps need punter Nathan Renfro at his best to win the field position battle, especially without gunner Tyrek Cheeseboro (concussion) on return coverage.
ON THE RUN: With Maryland running back Wes Brown sidelined with an ankle injury, his trio of backups need to step up. The roles are well-defined: Albert Reid can execute the “Wildcrab,” taking direct snaps from center; Brandon Ross can run sweeps; and Justus Pickett is a potent backfield receiver. Quarterback Shawn Petty has made tremendous strides since switching from linebacker, but will need to keep cool in a hostile environment and limit turnovers, especially once he tucks and runs between the tackles.
— Alex Prewitt