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(25) Maryland (4-0) at (8) Florida State (4-0)



Saturday, October 5, 12 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Scott Haynes, Senior College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: A Top 25 matchup is on tap in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as the eighth-ranked Florida State Seminoles play host to the surprising 25th- ranked Maryland Terrapins.

Jimbo Fisher's Seminoles were supposed to be undefeated at this point in the season and have not disappointed, as they look to successfully defend their ACC title. Behind the play of one of the most exciting freshmen in the nation, FSU has knocked off Pittsburgh (41-13), Nevada (62-7), Bethune-Cookman (54-6) and most recently, Boston College (48-34). Last week's victory over the Eagles was the eighth straight for Florida State against ACC foes, dating back to last year.

Randy Edsall's Terrapins will attempt to end FSU's win streak, while extending their own. Thoughts of an undefeated season heading into October play were few and far between in College Park heading into the 2013 campaign. The Terps opened the season with blowout wins over FIU (43-10) and Old Dominion (47-10). The team's lone road trip to this point resulted in a 32-21 victory at Connecticut, followed by the team's most impressive win of the season, a 37-0 shutout of rival West Virginia on Sept. 21. Maryland has had some extra time to prepare for the Seminoles, sitting idle last weekend.

Florida State has won six straight over Maryland and has dominated the series all-time with a record of 21-2, including a perfect 11-0 mark in Tallahassee. Maryland's last win in the series came in 2006 in College Park (20-14).

With all the quarterback woes that Maryland suffered through in 2012, it was no wonder the team struggled to produce wins. The 2013 campaign has been a completely different story thanks to the health of C.J. Brown. The dual threat signal caller currently leads a balanced offense that is churning out just under 500 yards per game, with a good mix of the run (226.8 ypg) and the pass (271.8 ypg).

Brown has been superb, dominating with both his arm and legs. He has completed 66.7 percent of his passes, for 1,043 yards, with seven touchdowns and just one interception. Brown is also averaging 6.3 yards per carry and is averaging just over 70 yards per game rushing. He is also responsible for six of the team's nine rushing scores on the season.

Other playmakers on the offensive side of the football include tailback Brandon Ross (332 yards, 83.0 ypg, two TDs) and standout wideout Stefon Diggs (18 receptions, 400 yards, three TDs). Fellow WR Deon Long (21 catches, 271 yards, one TD) is a viable second option in the passing attack.

As good as the offense has been for Maryland, it is the defense that has really shocked its opponents. The Terrapins rank third in the nation in scoring defense (10.2 ppg), 13th in rush defense (98.5 ypg), 14th in pass defense (165.3 ypg) and sixth in total defense (263.8 ypg). In addition, this big play unit has recorded 17 sacks and 13 takeaways, including eight interceptions.

Linebacker L.A. Goree has taken over as a defensive leader. The junior has recorded a team-high 26 tackles, with one sack and one forced fumble. Fellow junior LB Cole Farrand is a close second in total stops with 25 tackles. Senior LB Marcus Whitfield (18 tackles) paces the team in both TFL (6.5) and sacks (5.5), while senior DB Dexter McDougle has been a ball hawk in the secondary with three interceptions thus far.

Maryland's defense has been up to the task thus far, but will be facing its toughest test to date with Florida State and freshman phenom Jameis Winston. The Seminoles are averaging 51.2 ppg this year (fourth nationally), moving the ball at will both on the ground (239.5 ypg) and through the air (293.2 ypg), resulting in 540.3 ypg (10th nationally).

Winston has been playing as well as any quarterback in the country, completing 73.6 percent of his throws, for 1,048 yards, with 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions. A full array of weapons in the passing attack have eased Winston's transition, with wideouts Rashad Greene (19 catches, 299 yards, five TDs), Kenny Shaw (18 catches, 370 yards, two TDs) and Kelvin Benjamin (12 catches, 239 yards, one TD) and tight end Nick O'Leary (three TDs).

Edsall is certainly concerned with the skill set that Winston brings to the table.

"When you look at him physically, he looks a little bit like E.J. Manuel in terms of his body type. But he is just a very good player. He is strong and a big guy. He is tough to bring down and has got good escape ability. He's got really strong arms and can make all the throws. Really good people surround him and he is executing the offense very well. He is somebody that you can see is doing all of the things that they are asking him to do. He is a very good football player and someone who you are concerned with when you have to go up against him on defense. He's a guy that has the ability to throw the ball and has the ability to do something with his feet. When you get that type of quarterback, it makes the job very difficult for the defense."

The FSU backfield is equally stacked with tailbacks Devonta Freeman (8.7 ypc, two TDs), Karlos Williams (9.3 ypc, four TDs) and James Wilder Jr. (5.8 ypc, two TDs) all possessing game-breaking ability.

Florida State has long been known as a strong defensive squad and there is reason to believe that 2013 will be more of the same. The Seminoles are allowing just 15.0 ppg and have been dominant with the exception of last week's game against Boston College. The strength of the unit is the pass defense, with FSU ranking fourth nationally at a mere 136.0 ypg.

A lot of that has to do with All-American candidate Lamarcus Joyner cutting off half the field with his play at cornerback. A 5-8 senior, Joyner hasn't recorded an interception yet, but ranks second on the team in tackles (24), with two sacks. Senior linebacker Telvin Smith leads the team in tackles (27), with 4.0 TFL, one sack and one interception and his leadership has been instrumental in FSU's strong play this year.

"There is an old saying I always use, 'your actions speak so loud I can't hear what you are saying,'" said Fisher. "But now he is living everything he is talking and I think it has made a huge difference in us and him, definitely the consistency in which he plays with and I think it's a big difference in our football team.".

Maryland is no longer a pushover in the ACC, although this is the team's last run through the league before embarking on its Big Ten journey next season. With that said, the Terrapins may not be up to the challenge of a huge road win in Tallahassee. The Seminoles are clicking on all cylinders with Winston at the helm. He will continue to impress with a big game against Maryland and in turn, keep the Seminoles on track for their second straight league crown.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida State 33, Maryland 24

10/02 10:42:27 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
2nd
TOR 56
NYK 51
 
4:30pm Today
CLE
MEM
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
BOS
6:00pm Tonight
BRK
DET
6:00pm Tonight
SAC
LAL
6:00pm Tonight
ORL
PHI
6:00pm Tonight
WAS
PHO
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
IND
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
NOP
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
Final
RAD 74
CORN 61
 
Final
UNT 62
CREI 58
 
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
Final
USB 67
GHND 52
 
Final
OKST 64
MD 73
Final
WINT 100
REIN 72
 
Final
UGST 68
SMISS 55
Final
NEOM 77
TXPA 72
 
Final
STLU 58
VERM 55
 
Final
UNCA 62
WCU 66
 
Final
EVAN 81
ALAST 63
 
Final
HART 82
FIU 69
 
Final
VALPO 82
GOSHEN 55
 
2nd
LIP 51
PEAY 46
 
2nd
DEN 35
BRY 33
 
2nd
MONT 52
SD 48
 
2nd
MTST 44
TENST 32
 
2nd
SAMF 39
LAMON 34
 
2nd
SCAR 35
COKR 23
 
1st
HAMP 25
NARZ 18
 
1st
SDU 37
SDCHR 17
 
1st
BC 29
USC 26
 
1st
NICST 0
TROY 7
 
4:30pm Today
BRAD
UCI
 
6:00pm Tonight
UGA
SHU
6:30pm Tonight
ALA
APP
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WASU
SJST
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
6:00pm Tonight
DET
COL
6:00pm Tonight
EDM
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
BUF
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
Final
NOS 14
ATL 30
 
Final
HOU 25
BAL 13
 
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
 
Final
CHI 14
DET 20
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
 
Final
PIT 20
KAN 12
 
Final
MIA 37
MIN 35
 
Final
NYJ 16
NEP 17
 
1st
STL 3
NYG 10
 
1st
OAK 0
BUF 7
 
1st
DAL 6
IND 0
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARI
SEA