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Early Preview – Maryland

Posted by cuorange on July 21, 2009

Game 5 – October 3, 2009 – Byrd Stadium, College Park, Maryland

Record O St Rtng Pts/Gm O Yds/Gm O D St Rtng Pts/Gm D Yds/Gm D
8-5 5 21.8 351 4 22.5 365

Ahhh, Maryland.  With apologies to Alabama, this is the game where the season began to crumble last season.  The Tigers were 3-1 and 1-0 in the ACC and led 17-7 at the half and C.J. Spiller ripped off a 76 yard touchdown  run early in the second half – but wait!  Flag on the field.  It all went downhill from there.

Despite Clemson winning 16 of the last 22 in the series, 4 of the last 5 games have been close:  2004 10-7 Clemson; 2005 28-24 Clemson; 2006 13-12 Maryland; 2007 30-17 Clemson; 2008 20-17 Maryland. 

Chris Turner returns at QB for the Terrapins as does Da’Rel Scott (1,133 Yds, 8 TDs) in the backfield.

The receiving corps loses Darius Heyward-Bey and TE Dan Gronkowski and will not be as strong as last year.

The line is where the problem will be on offense as the Terrapins will only return 27 career starts across the line, and lose such players as All-ACC center Edwin Williams.

Maryland has even less experience returning on the defensive line, with no projected starter having more than 4 career starts.

The Terps lose two of three starting linebackers and 2 of their top 3 tacklers and appear on paper to be weaker than the 2008 group.

The defensive backfield also suffers losses, but returns 5 experienced players that have combined for 32 career starts.

The Skinny: Maryland suffered big losses on both lines, but still has some talent in the backfield.  Sounds a lot like Clemson from last year.  The loss of Heyward-Bey further reduces the quick strike capability of the Terps.  Your head begins to hurt when you try and reconcile a team that barely beat Delaware and lost to Middle Tennessee State, but yet beat California and Clemson.

Early Conclusion:  The visitor has won 4 straight in this series.  Make it 5 this year.  The losses on the lines will hurt Maryland, but plain and simple Clemson has the talent edge and will be a tougher team both mentally and physically under Swinney.

Clemson 27 Maryland 17

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