November 16, 2012

Know your opponent: Maryland

2012 Record: 4-6 (2-4 ACC)

Starters returning: 16 total, eight offensive and eight defensive.

Maryland's season can be summed up with the mere fact that redshirt freshman linebacker Shawn Petty is now playing quarterback for the Terrapins. Four separate Maryland signal callers have gone down with season-ending injuries this season.

The injury bug hasn't hit just the Terrapin QBs. Top-tackler Demetrius Hartsfield has also been lost for the season, and Maryland was without its top rusher and receiver last weekend against Clemson. Receiver Marcus Leak , who had 23 catches for 393 yards an two touchdowns in seven games has also been lost for the year due to injuries.

Maryland got off to a 4-2 start despite the injuries under center, but has lost four straight games, including being blown out in each of the last two weeks b y Georgia Tech and Clemson. The Terrapins are averaging an ACC-worst 18.9 points per game, and just 285.3 yards of total of offense.

Through the air

Player to watch:

QB Stefon Diggs (Fr.)

2012 Receiving: 43 receptions for 721 yards and six touchdowns

With Petty as the Terrapins QB, Maryland has thrown for just 156 yards total in the last two games. The high school option QB is 15 for 30 for 156 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception.

Against Clemson Petty was without his top target, true freshman Stefon Diggs. Diggs is out with an ankle injury and his status for Saturday has not been determined yet. The five-star prospect is averaging 80 yards per game this season, and 16.8 per catch.

Fullback Justus Pickett has been a big factor in the passing game with 17 catches for 129 yards and a TD. Senior wideout Kevin Dorsey has chipped in 15 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown.

On top of the rotating QBs, Maryalnd's passing game has also struggled due to lack of protection up front. Maryland has given up a league-high 33 sacks in 10 games this season.

Pounding the ground

Player to watch:

RB Wes Brown (Fr.)

2012 Rushing: 90 rushes for 382 yards and two TDs

Like the passing game, Maryland has struggled to get much going on the ground, with an average of just 101.4 yards per game, worst in the ACC. Terrapin rushers are averaging just 2.5 yards per carry.

True freshman Wes Brown missed the Clemson game with an ankle injury, and like Diggs his status for Saturday is uncertain as well. He's averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 47.8 yards per game rushing. Redshirt freshman Brandon Ross has racked up 219 yards on 53 attempts in just four games. Ross is averaging a team-high 54.8 yards per game.

Pickett has also carried the ball a fair amount, but hasn't had much success. Pickett averages just 2.1 yards per carry with 141 yards on 67 attempts. He does have a team-high three touchdowns.

Getting defensive

Player to watch:

DE Joe Vellano (Sr.)

2012 Stats: 58 tackles, 14 for loss, six sacks and an interception

It's hard to fathom how much of a train wreck 2012 would be if it wasn't for Maryland's defense. The Terps have the second best defense in the ACC, giving up an average of just 315 yards per game. On the ground teams are gaining just 112.6 yards a game, and through the air just 202.5 yards.

With Hartsfield done for the year, Cole Farrand has had to step us as the team's leading tackler. He has 63 stops on the year, with six for loss and a fumble recovery.

The Terrapins have the second-best pass rush in the ACC with 25 sacks this season. six of which have come from super-senior Joe Vellano. Outside linebacker Darin Drakeford also has six sacks, and 9.5 tackles for loss. Defensive end A.J. Francis has four sacks as well, and eight tackles for loss.

For all of Maryland's defensive success the one thing they haven't done very well in 2012 is force turnovers. Maryland does have 14 fumble recoveries, but just three interceptions. The negative 10 turnover ratio is the second-worst in the ACC, behind only Virginia with a negative 12 ratio.

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