The Final Breakdown

Maryland has had Clemson's number lately, winning the last two meetings, but the Tigers own the series advantage 30-26-2.

WHAT: Clemson vs. Maryland
WHERE: Memorial Stadium (81,500) - Clemson, S.C.
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 16 (12:10 p.m. EST)
SPREAD: Clemson by 14
TV: Raycom

Last year's loss was the third of Clemson's season, and the Tigers' final regular season defeat in the ACC.

Clemson enters with a 2-3 record—the same record the Tigers left College Park with in 2009. Three-straight losses have come at the hands of Auburn, Miami and North Carolina. Maryland has lost only to West Virginia, a 31-17 result in Morgantown.

The Terps are coming off a bye week, and is off to one of the best starts under Ralph Friedgen at 4-1.

Here's a look at what to expect Saturday when these two ACC rivals clash inside of Death Valley:

If Clemson is to finally pickup win No. 3, the Tigers might want to commit their offensive efforts to a ground-and-pound mentality.

Andre Ellington, the conference's third-best rusher, is expected to get the majority of the carries on Saturday against a solid group of Maryland linebackers. From the middle, two-time All-ACC performer Alex Wujciak has averaged 10.7 tackles per game in his career. He's second in the nation among active players, and is 10th with 11.4 tackles this season.

Andre Ellington, the conference's third-best rusher, is expected to get the majority of the carries on Saturday against a solid group of Maryland linebackers. (Getty Images)
The Maryland run defense is slightly better than their 76th national ranking would indicate. In the season opener against Navy, the Midshipmen racked up 412 yards on 72 carries and two touchdowns. Then again, the Terrapins did allow over 400 yards on the ground.

Since then, Maryland has given up more than 100 yards twice. West Virginia rolled up 201 yards and Florida International had 117.

Strong-side linebacker Adrien Moten is second on the team with 41 tackles. Weak-side linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield is fourth with 37.

Defensive tackle Joe Vellano leads the team with 8½ tackles for loss, and R.J. Francis was a 2009 Freshman All-American.

After getting away from the run in the 21-16 loss at North Carolina, Clemson should reestablish the ground game against Maryland. Keep in mind the Tigers do rank 38th in the country with almost 180 yards rushing a game.

With a healthy David Smith back at left guard, heavy doses of Ellington and Jamie Harper should pave the way for close to 200-plus yards on the ground.

After last season's 2-3 start, Clemson jumped all over Wake Forest in the sixth game of the season for the first of six-straight ACC wins. The Tigers have a long way to go before making a run like the one in 2009, but this week is a good place to start.


The return of quarterback Jamarr Robinson could be a headache for Clemson. Robinson is a dual-threat quarterback that's dangerous running the zone-read, and mobile quarterbacks running the that kind of play have been known to give the Tigers fits over the past two seasons.

The return of quarterback Jamarr Robinson could be a headache for Clemson. Robinson is a dual-threat quarterback that's dangerous running the zone-read, and mobile quarterbacks running the that kind of play have been known to give the Tigers fits over the past two seasons. (Getty Images)
Running back Davin Meggett who is 9th in the ACC with 65 yards rushing per game, leads the Terrapins with 325 yards rushing, and is tied for first in rushing touchdowns (two) with running back Da'Rel Scott.

Maryland has over 100 yards rushing in every game but one. While on the road in Morgantown, the Terrapins had -10 yards on the ground.

A series of moves have since been made along the offensive line with starting left tackle Justin Gilbert out for the season with a torn ACL. Starting right tackle R.J. Dill is now on the left-side, and redshirt-freshman Pete DeSouza is the starter in Dill's old spot. Max Garcia, a Clemson target in the 2010 class, is now the backup at left tackle.

Since that road game, when Maryland allowed eight sacks, the Terrapins have given up just one.

Clemson's run defense has allowed 163 yards a game this season, but has cut down on the yards allowed each week of the season thus far.

Da'Quan Bowers is third in the country with 2.2 tackles for loss per game, plus his 29 tackles are third-best at Clemson.

Including Johnny White's 26-yard touchdown run, Clemson gave up 91 yards to North Carolina. The Tigers' three linebackers had the highest tackle totals of the game. It was only the second time this season Corico Hawkins, Brandon Maye and Quandon Christian all played at least 35 snaps.

A little more continuity along the Clemson front adds to the advantage over Maryland's patchwork at tackle.


Coming off what the Clemson coaching staff believes was Kyle Parker's best game of the season, the Tigers are back at home against a Maryland team that hasn't exactly lit it up on defense. The Terrapin secondary ranks 67th in pass defense on the season, giving up an average of 219 yards per contest.

Freshman DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson's leading wide receiver this year, is a gametime decision with an upper body muscular injury. (Roy Philpott)
Two members of the Maryland secondary rank among the top-10 in passes defended in the ACC as strong safety Antwine Perez and cornerback Cameron Chism have broken up 1.2 passes a game.

DeAndre Hopkins, the Tigers' leading wide receiver, is questionable with an injury to his side, which he suffered during Wednesday's practice. Dwayne Allen was likely to continue as Parker's top target, regardless of Hopkins' health.

The matchup of Allen against Moten is among the more intriguing one-on-one battles to keep an eye on. Allen, who has 18 catches for 235 yards and a touchdown, will probably be covered often by Moten, who leads Maryland with three interceptions.

The Maryland secondary is the 22nd most efficient in the country with a 107.74 rating.

Pass rushing is a different story. The Terrapins are 72nd, averaging 1.8 sacks a game.

Meanwhile Clemson's line has given up just five sacks all season.


With barely 150 yards through air per game, Maryland is 102nd in the country in passing. Still, the Terrapins are fairly efficient when they do throw it, ranking 42nd with a 139.96 rating.

Torrey Smith is Maryland's most explosive threat in the downfield passing game. Last season he caught three passes for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Tigers in College Park, Md. (Roy Philpott)
QB Danny O'Brien has started the last two games, but played in all five. The redshirt-freshman is 32 of 63 for 499 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Both he and Robinson, who is 21 of 43 for 308 yards with four touchdowns to two interceptions, are expected to play Saturday.

WR Torrey Smith is among the ACC's most explosive wide receivers with 17 receptions for 405 yards and five touchdowns.

The Tigers are 47th in pass defense, giving up an average of 196 yards a game.

Bowers leads the team with six sacks, which is tied for fourth in the country and a big reason to expect Clemson to have success when the Terps take to the air Saturday.

If the Tigers can contain Smith, as we believe they will, it will be a significant advantage for the Clemson defense.


Dawson Zimmerman has been near flawless this season, ranking second in the ACC and 12th in the country at 45.4 yards per punt. Still, Maryland wide receiver Tony Logan has been even better in the return game. The junior is first in the country with 22.7 yards per return, and tied for second with two returns for touchdown.

Clemson's net punting average is best in the ACC, as is Maryland's punt return average.

Clemson's Dawson Zimmerman is making a case for All-ACC honors nearing the halfway point of the 2010 season. (Roy Philpott)
Although wide receiver Torrey Smith averages less than 20 yards per kickoff return, he's a dangerous in any situation with the ball in his hands despite the fact Maryland ranks last in kickoff returns with just a hair over 17 yards per return.

Not to be overshadowed by Maryland's punt return game, Clemson's unit has been pretty impressive, too. The Tigers are 19th in the nation with almost 13 yards per punt return with Marcus Gilchrist providing most of the damage. He's second in the ACC with 13 yards per return.

Maryland's punt coverage unit has struggled. The Terrapins are 68th in the country with a net punting average of 36.

Travis Baltz is 4 of 5 on field goals, with two makes from 47 and one from 35 and 24. His lone miss came from 45, against Florida International.

Meanwhile Clemson's Chandler Catanzaro has hit on 3 of 5 field goals, with a long of 48.

Both teams are capable of flipping the field position with just one punt return. Since Clemson is less prone to giving up field position on a punt, the edge goes to the Tigers.


PREDICTION: Clemson 38 Maryland 13 Top Stories