COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland takes on a top-10 opponent for the second consecutive week when Florida State visits Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium Saturday for the Terrapins’ annual “blackout” game. The Terps will also be celebrating Senior Day for the 17 seniors on the roster. Florida State has owned the upper hand in the all-time series, having won 20 of 22 meetings including the last five.
• The Terps have hit hard times of late after a rash of injuries has taken its toll on both sides of the ball. Nine Terrapins have been lost to season-ending injuries, all of them potential starters. Of the nine starters lost, four are quarterbacks, leaving freshman Shawn Petty, a former linebacker, as the team’s starter. Against Clemson last week, Maryland was also without running back Wes Brown and wide receiver Stefon Diggs; combined with Perry Hills and Demetrius Hartsfield’s season-ending injuries, that meant the Terps were without their leading passer (Hills), rusher (Brown), receiver (Diggs) and tackler (Hartsfield).
• Hartsfield, who suffered a torn ACL during the Georgia Tech game, had been the leader of a defense that ranked in the top-10 nationally for the first eight games of the season. One of four team captains, Hartsfield is still Maryland’s leading tackler and ranks 15th in school history with 338 in his career.
• Still, without Hartsfield and despite allowing over 400 yards of total offense for the first time all season in each of the past two games, the Terps possess a top 20 defense. Maryland ranks 16th nationally in total defense (315.1 ypg), 19th in rushing defense (112.6 ypg) and 30th in passing defense (202.5 ypg). In 10 games, Maryland has held its opponent under 100 rushing yards five times, and under 55 yards four times.
• Maryland has an experienced front seven highlighted by senior defensive linemen Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis, and senior linebackers Kenneth Tate and Darin Drakeford. Those four have played a big role in holding opponents to an average of just 3.07 yards per rush, which is tied for 10th nationally. Maryland’s 6.9 tackles for loss per game rank 24th in the FBS and its 2.5 sacks per game are tied for 27th. Vellano is tied for the ACC lead and is tied for 19th nationally with 1.4 tackles for loss per game. Cole Farrand has also provided solid play, with his 63 tackles ranking second on the team behind the injured Hartsfield.
• Petty took the reins at QB against Georgia Tech and has started the past two games. Petty starred on both sides of the ball and was an All-Met selection at Eleanor Roosevelt HS in Greenbelt, Md. As a quarterback, he threw for 1,300 yards and 15 TDs, and ran for 550 yards and 10 TDs. In his two games, Petty has completed 15 of 30 passes for 156 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Maryland is one of seven schools to have started three different players at quarterback this season (also Southern Miss – 4; and Colorado State, Kentucky, Minnesota, Tulane and Utah – 3).
• Against Clemson, Brandon Ross took over starting duties at running back for the injured Brown and responded with the best game of his young career. Ross ran 16 times for 102 yards, an average of 6.2 yards per carry, and had a 44-yard run which is the longest by a Terrapin this season.
• Though he missed the Clemson game, wide receiver Stefon Diggs has been Maryland’s most dynamic playmaker this season. Against Virginia, the freshman returned the game’s opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and vs. Boston College he had a career-high 11 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown. He followed that up with a pair of touchdown catches against Georgia Tech and over his last six games he’s averaged 95.8 receiving yards per game. His 174.9 all-purpose yards per game this season rank second in the ACC and seventh nationally. Diggs has earned ACC weekly honors four times this season: he received Rookie of the Week honors against West Virginia, Wake Forest and Boston College; and Specialist of the Week honors against Virginia.
• The combination of a talented 2012 recruiting class and a number of injuries has led Maryland to play 15 true freshmen this season. That’s tied for the third most in the FBS, behind only Texas and TCU who have each played 16.
• The quarterback position has been hit hardest by injuries, leaving the Terps in what seems to be uncharted territory. Four Maryland QBs have suffered season-ending injuries this year: C.J. Brown was lost in August with a torn ACL; Perry Hills was lost in the NC State game with a torn ACL; Devin Burns was lost after replacing Hills in the NC State game with a Lisfranc (foot); and Caleb Rowe was lost for the year after suffering a torn ACL in the Boston College game. An inquiry among FBS media relations contacts turned up no results of any school having a similar injury situation at quarterback this season or in the past.
• Perry Hills, Caleb Rowe and Shawn Petty have all started at QB this season. It’s been nearly 30 years since Maryland last started three quarterbacks in one season. The last time was 1973, when Ben Kinard started six games, Bob Avellini started three games and Al Neville started two games.
• Maryland has lost nine players to season-ending injuries this year, four of which are quarterbacks. QB C.J. Brown (knee), WR Kerry Boykins (hip), QB Devin Burns (foot), PK/P Nick Ferrara (hip), LB Demetrius Hartsfield (knee), QB Perry Hills (knee), WR Marcus Leak (toe), DL Andre Monroe (knee) and QB Caleb Rowe (knee) have all been lost for the year.
• Stefon Diggs has earned ACC Player of the Week honors four times this year. Diggs won Rookie of the Week for his play against West Virginia (9/22), Wake Forest (10/6) and Boston College (10/27), and Specialist of the Week against Virginia (10/13).
• Diggs ranks fifth in the conference and first among freshmen with 80.1 receiving yards per game. Diggs, who has 43 catches for 721 yards, already ranks 11th on Maryland’s single-season receiving yards list (see list page 6).
• Diggs is the only Maryland freshman to record back-to-back 100-yard receiving games (vs. West Virginia and Wake Forest) since at least 1985, the earliest game-by-game statistics were recorded at the school.
• Maryland allowed Wake Forest to complete just 32.4 percent of its passes (13 of 38). That is the lowest percentage by an opponent with at least 30 passing attempts since Duke went 13 of 42 (30.9%) on Nov. 14, 1998.
• Joe Vellano’s father, Paul Vellano, was inducted into the Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 5. The elder Vellano was a first team All-American in 1973, while Joe was a second team All-American in 2011. The father-son combo represent one of four known father-son All-America combos to attend the same FBS school (also Lee and Travis McGriff at Florida; Kevin and Drew Butler at Georgia; Archie and Eli Manning at Ole Miss).
• Fourteen players saw their first career action for Maryland against William & Mary, and 27 players have seen their first career action for Maryland at some point this season (15 true freshmen, eight redshirt freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors, one senior).
• The Terps are holding opponents to 3.07 yards per carry, which is tied for 10th nationally. Of the opponents’ 367 rushing attempts this season, 230 (62.7%) have been for three yards or less (28 of 41 vs. William & Mary; 28 of 39 vs. Temple; 25 of 40 vs. Connecticut; 20 of 25 vs. West Virginia; 21 of 29 vs. Wake Forest; 25 of 42 vs. Virginia; 18 of 26 vs. NC State; 21 of 27 vs. Boston College; 18 of 56 vs. Georgia Tech; 26 of 42 vs. Clemson).
• The Terps have done a good job controlling the clock. In 10 games, Maryland has had the ball for an average of 31:44 to 28:16 for the opponent. That’s a major upgrade compared to 2011, when Maryland averaged just 25:16 a game to 34:44 for the opponent.
• Head coach Randy Edsall hands out game balls for each win. Most recently, Darin Drakeford received the defensive game ball and Stefon Diggs got the special teams game ball for the win over Virginia (see complete list, page 6).
Maryland-Florida State Series History
• Florida State leads the all-time series 20-2 and has won the last five in the series. Last season, the Seminoles won 41-16 in Tallahassee. In College Park, Florida State owns an 8-2 edge.
• Florida State and Maryland met for the first time in 1966, and the Seminoles took the first 14 games in the series before Maryland finally broke through with a 20-17 win over the fifth-ranked Seminoles in 2004.
• Maryland took its second game in the series in 2006, winning 27-24 after Sam Hollenbach threw three touchdowns, including a pair to Darrius Heyward-Bey. Jeremy Navarre blocked a potential game-tying field goal toward the end of regulation.