The Maryland Terrapins find themselves in uncommon territory as they are 4-0 and ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since the final Associated Press poll was released in 2010.
As good as that feeling has to be for Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall, he would much rather snag a quality road ACC victory when the No. 25 Terps travel to Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida to take on the No. 8 Florida State Seminoles.
This is a huge step forward in the right direction for Edsall and his team as they have cracked the Top 25 for the first time in his regime. We’ve seen what stability at the quarterback position has meant for Maryland as C.J. Brown has provided balance and consistency in an offense that at one point trotted a freshman linebacker in Shawn Petty out to throw passes to wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
Now, the bad news. Maryland’s opponents in their first four games have a combined record of 6-12. The Connecticut Huskies just fired their head coach in Paul Pasqualoni after a dismal 0-4 start. Old Dominion is an FBS Independent and is just getting acclimated to the transition from FCS. West Virginia is a bad football team with an inexperienced quarterback leading the charge. And Florida International is… well… FIU.
But, Maryland has had two weeks to prepare for redshirt freshman phenom quarterback “Famous” Jameis Winston and that could provide a small advantage against the Seminoles team that squeaked by 2-2 Boston College 48-34. The score doesn’t indicate just how close the game was for the ‘Noles as the Golden Eagles were able to garner 200 yards on the ground and win the time of possession battle, holding the football for 33:16.
Maryland comes in to Saturday’s contest against Florida State with the 24th-ranked rushing offense tallying an average of 226.8 yards-per-game and bolster the 3rd-ranked scoring defense in the country (10.3 PPG). If Maryland wants to give themselves a chance in this one, they will have to play solid defense and ball control the ‘Noles to death.
However, that is easier said than done and if the Terps want to have any chance in this football game, it is going to come down to the play of their secondary. With cornerback Dexter McDougle out for the season, Maryland is going to have their hands full trying to cover FSU wide receivers Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw. Given the strength of schedule in the Terps’ first four games, this is clearly going to be the best pair of receivers Maryland has faced. If they can keep everything in front of them and rely on their front seven to win the battle up front, Maryland may have a chance.
This one is going to be close. Florida State has an edge at virtually every position, including the trenches. However, I can see the Terps pulling close, but falling by at 10 points to one of the top contenders in the ACC.
Florida State – 27
Maryland – 17