Time: 12:00 p.m., Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee,Fla.
Series: Florida State 21-2
Series Note: Florida State has never lost to Maryland at home.
Coaches: Maryland —Randy Edsall (3rd Season 10-18) Florida State —Jimbo Fisher (4rd Season 35-10)
- Final Farewell —Maryland will make its final ACC debut on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium. The college football gods couldn't have planned it any better: two undefeated teams, both ranked in the top 25, a pinch of "Famous Jameis", and mix in Maryland's comeback story...but will it pass the taste test. There will be a lot of eyes watching the game Saturday, if the Terps can't live up to the hype, no one will be ordering seconds.
- Rush Hour —The Terps' pass rush has been stellar so far this season, but they have not faced a veteran front line with the talent and experience of FSU's line. Florida State's wide receivers will have a significant height advantage against the likes of, Will Likeley, who is towering 5-foot-7, and Isaac Goins, who is 5-foot-11. Defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said himself, "nothing we can do with genetics at this point in time, but what we can do is make sure we have a plan in place, if they want to do some jump balls we can attack him." Attacking Winston will be the key in order to make up for the Terps' shortcomings. Maryland leads the country in sacks (17) and ranks eighth in the FBS interceptions (8) this season…these stats go hand-in-hand. If Maryland can make Winston throw when he is uncomfortable, the Terps' secondary can take advantage.
- Running Wild and Free—Jameis Winston might get the top slot on Sportscenter's countdown, but don't overlook the impact of Florida State's running back tandem: Devonta Freeman (#8) and James Wilder Jr. (#32). Freeman leads the ACC with an average of 8.7 yards per carry, and Wilder is averaging 5.8 yards per touch. The Seminoles are averaging 6.69 yards per carry, which ranks third in the FBS. Keep an eye on FSU's third back, Karlos Williams (#9), who is second on FSU in rushing with over 200 yards and four touchdowns.
Defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said he plans to load the box and focus on stopping the run first. With Hurricane Karen rolling into town, the forecast is calling for rain and wind. If Maryland can execute the game plan they might get some help from the weather when it comes to the passing game.
- Offense is the Best Defense —Terps offensive coordinator Mike Locksley put it plain and simple: "It always starts with us. First and foremost, taking care of the things we can control with not turning the ball…" Florida State has a multitude of weapons at its disposal on offense, however, they can't beat Maryland from the sidelines. Maryland has a number of playmakers on offense, and they will need to rely on all of them on Saturday. They will need more than just C.J. Brown to pick up yards on the ground. Big days from Brandon Ross and Albert Reid will be key. Quick three-and-outs gives the ball back to Winston too much for anything good to come out of it for Maryland.
Keep an Eye On...
The End of Each Quarter—Florida State has scored the final points of the first half in each of its first four games, all coming on touchdowns with little or no time left on the clock. If you don't believe me, check out Winton's Hail Mary at the end of the second quarter last week against Boston College. A 55-yard bomb to Kenny Shaw. There is just no defense for those kind of throws. Maryland must maintain its focus until the horn sounds. If not, the Seminoles have too many big, tall receivers that can haul in the long ball.
Terps win if…
Keep Winston Uncomfortable— Winston has a knack for making big plays, but sometimes he overlooks the right play for the big one. He wants to be the guy. Maryland must make him feel the pressure all day, and force him to make quick decisions. Wen he does, they aren't always the right ones.
Florida State wins if…
"They are who we thought they were!" —(Dennis Green reenactment) How good is "Famous Jameis"? Is he all that he is cracked up to be? While critics scoff at Maryland's schedule, the Seminoles have not faced the crème de la crème of college football either. But if the legend of "Famous Jameis" continues, so does the Seminoles win streak.
Maryland- 20 FSU- 31