Maryland tries to pull stunner Saturday at Clemson

November 09, 2012 | WNST Staff

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland returns to the road this Saturday to take on No. 10 Clemson in what could set up to be the first of back-to-back games against top-10 opponents. After taking on the Tigers, Maryland will play host to No. 8 Florida State before finishing off the regular season at North Carolina. The series with Clemson has been split evenly since 2000, with each team having won six games, though the Tigers own a 32-26-2 all-time lead.


• The Terps have been unlucky this season in the injury department, with eight players – all of them potential starters – having been lost to season-ending injuries. The latest is senior linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, who tore his ACL during the Georgia Tech game. One of four team captains, Hartsfield is Maryland’s leading tackler and ranks 10th among active players in career tackles with 338. That also ranks 15th in school history.

• The quarterback position has been hit hardest, 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.

• True freshman Shawn Petty took the reins at QB against Georgia Tech. 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. After a slow start against the Yellow Jackets, Petty responded with an efficient second half. He was 8 of 12 for 114 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the final two quarters. 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).

• Despite allowing a season-high 401 yards of total offense to Georgia Tech, the Terps rank highly in a number of categories. Maryland is 11th nationally in total defense (301.7 ypg), 18th in rushing defense (110.1 ypg) and 20th in passing defense (191.6 ypg). Until facing the high powered, triple-option attack of Georgia Tech, Maryland had held its last two opponents under 50 rushing yards: NC State totaled just 40 yards on 26 attempts (1.5 yards per carry) and Boston College had just 8 yards on 27 attempts (0.3 yards per carry).

• 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 3.05 yards per rush, which is tied for ninth nationally. Maryland’s 7.1 tackles for loss per game are tied for 24th in the FBS and its 2.78 sacks per game are tied for 16th. Vellano leads the ACC and is tied for 16th nationally with 1.56 tackles for loss per game. Cole Farrand has also provided solid play, with his 55 tackles ranking second on the team behind the injured Hartsfield.

• Offensively and on special teams, wide receiver Stefon Diggs continues to be Maryland’s most dynamic playmaker. Against Virginia, the freshman returned the game’s opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and vs. BC 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 the last six games he’s averaging 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. He already ranks sixth on Maryland’s single-season all-purpose yards list and 11th on the single-season receiving yards list.

Quick Hitters

• 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.

• 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 eight players to season-ending injuries this year, four of which are quarterbacks. QB C.J. Brown (knee), QB Devin Burns (foot), QB Perry Hills (knee), PK/P Nick Ferrara (hip), LB Demetrius Hartsfield (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). Additionally, a defensive player has captured weekly honors in three of the past five weeks: Demetrius Hartsfieldearned Linebacker of the Week for his play against Wake Forest (10/6), and Darin Drakeford received the award against Virginia (10/13). Joe Vellano was named Defensive Lineman of the week for his play against Boston College (10/27).

• Diggs ranks sixth 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 26 players have seen their first career action for Maryland at some point this season (15 true freshmen, eight redshirt freshmen, two juniors, one senior).

• The Terps are holding opponents to 3.05 yards per carry, which is tied for ninth nationally. Of the opponents’ 325 rushing attempts this season, 204 (69.1%) 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).

• The Terps have done a good job controlling the clock. In seven games, Maryland has had the ball for an average of 31:43 to 28:17 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.

• Against William & Mary, Perry Hills became the first true freshman starter at quarterback for Maryland since Latrez Harrison in 1999. He also became the first freshman to start a season opener since redshirt freshman Calvin McCall on Sept. 2, 1999, in a 6-0 win over Temple.

• Nine bowl teams from last year appear on Maryland’s 2012 schedule: Temple (Gildan New Mexico Bowl), West Virginia (Discover Orange Bowl), Wake Forest (Franklin American Mortgage Music City), Virginia (Chick-fil-A Bowl), NC State (Belk Bowl), Georgia Tech (Hyundai Sun Bowl), Clemson (Discover Orange Bowl), Florida State (Champs Sports Bowl) and UNC (AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl).

Maryland-Clemson Series History

• Saturday’s game will mark the 61st meeting between the Terrapins and Tigers. The two teams met for the first time in 1952, and have played every year since, with Clemson owning a 32-26-2 edge in the all-time series. Maryland is 13-17 vs. Clemson in games played at Clemson. The Terps have won two of the last three on the road, though the Tigers won the 2010 and 2011 meetings. The series since 2000 has been split, with each team having won six games.

• Last season, Clemson overcame an 18-point second half deficit to rally for a 56-45 win which was the highest scoring game in the series history. C.J. Brown ran for 162 yards and threw for 177 with three touchdowns. Matt Furstenburg had 104 receiving yards and two TDs.

• The 31-7 loss by Maryland in 2010 was the largest margin in the series since 1996 when the Tigers knocked off Maryland, 35-3.

• Clemson won 30-17 in 2007 at College Park, but the Terps rallied for a 20-17 win over the 20th-ranked Tigers the next season in Death Valley. Chris Turner threw a TD pass and Da’Rel Scott scored the go-ahead touchdown. Clemson QB Cullen Harper was stopped short on fourth-and-1 by Alex Wujciak with 5:36 remaining.

• Six years ago, Maryland won 13-12 at No. 19 Clemson after Dan Ennis nailed a 31-yard field goal as time expired.