Maryland/Florida Sate- Classic Game 2008

Two years ago the Terps went into the FSU game ranked No. 25 in the nation only to lose 37-3.

When examining the history of the Maryland-Florida State series, the common theme throughout nearly all the matchups has been the Seminoles coming out on top. They hold an 18-2 advantage in a series that featured two contests in the 1960s, but started primarily in 1992 when the Noles joined the ACC.

Florida State has managed to conquer the Terps in blowouts, which occurred mostly during the Seminoles’ heyday in the ‘90s (69-21 in ’92, 59-17 in ’95, and 50-7 in ’97); but they have also survived some scares (35-27 in ’05 and 29-26 in ’09).

The Terps’ only wins in the series came in 2004 and 2006 by a field goal margin.

However, the last time the two teams played in College Park was representative of most of the meetings between the two teams.

The 2008 contest and Saturday’s game are eerily similar.

The Terps’ record stood at 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the ACC heading into the game, the same records they currently hold. Just as they will on Saturday, the Seminoles entered Byrd Stadium with a 7-3 record.

The Terps entered the 2008 contest ranked No. 25 in the BCS, while Florida State was unranked. This weekend, the Noles will play as the No. 25 team in the BCS, while Maryland sits outside the rankings.

This year’s showdown is the first primetime game at Maryland since the ’08 matchup, and the fans will be holding a “blackout” just as they had two years ago.

The winner of this contest will similarly control its own destiny in the ACC Atlantic Division, just as the victor of the 2008 showdown had.

With all these similarities in place, the Terps are hoping that the difference in the performances against the Seminoles of the ’08 squad and this year’s team are night and day.

Because two years ago, Florida State came to town and flattened the Terrapins, 37-3, in a game that was nearly over at its outset.

Quarterback Christian Ponder gave a solid performance through the air and on the ground to pace the Noles’ offense, while the defense forced four Maryland turnovers to dominate the game.

The Seminoles defense began its onslaught early in the second quarter.

Already leading, 7-0, Florida State doubled its advantage when linebacker Derek Nicholson recovered a Da’Rel Scott fumble and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.

Later on in the quarter, defensive back Toddrick Verdell picked off quarterback Chris Turner’s pass downfield and returned it to the Maryland 38-yard line.

Four plays later, running back Antone Smith banged in from a yard out to give the Seminoles a commanding 21-0 lead.

The touchdown was set up by a Ponder pass for 17 yards to receiver Preston Parker, who had caught the first touchdown, and a Ponder run of 16 yards to set up a first and goal.

Florida State started the second half with a long, methodical 13-play drive that melted over eight minutes off the clock. Kicker Graham Gano finished it off with a 22-yard field goal to pad the lead to 24.

The Terps responded with their lone scoring drive, six plays and 46 yards, which ended with an Obi Egekeze 34-yard field goal. Egekeze had missed on an attempt in the first quarter that would have given Maryland the lead.

After Ponder led the Seminoles to another field goal at the start of the fourth quarter, the Florida State defense ended their effort with an exclamation point. They forced and recovered another Scott fumble to set up the game’s final touchdown.

In addition to the four turnovers, the Noles defense surrendered only 252 total yards and held Turner to only 16 of 30 passing for only 149 yards.

Ponder was taken out, and the Seminoles backup quarterback D’Vontrey Richardson led one final field goal drive to cap a 37-3 beatdown of the Terps.

Ponder finished the day 19 of 24 for 143 yards and a touchdown. On the ground he put up 81 yards and a score on 14 carries.

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