Maryland players react to Davis' 'guarantee'

It didn't take long for Clemson running back James Davis' "guarantee" to make it to the Maryland locker room. When the players walked in Tuesday afternoon, there it was, posted on each locker.

"When I first saw it, I'm like, ‘Wow, look at this guy, running his mouth already and they ain't even start practice yet,'" Maryland defensive back Isaiah Gardner said.

Gardner said many of the players tore down the article, in which Davis told reporters Monday, "We're going to win. Guaranteed."

Clemson is coming off a 70-14 shellacking of Central Michigan. But before the bye week preceding last week's game, Clemson had lost two straight—13-3 to Georgia Tech and 41-23 to Virginia Tech. At 2-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Saturday's game in College Park will likely determine if the Tigers stay alive for the ACC Championship Game.

Maryland running back Keon Lattimore saw Davis' statement as a rallying call for Clemson, which has beaten Maryland only twice since Ralph Friedgen took over in 2001.

"That just shows me his determination and his will to want to win," Lattimore said. "If he's talking like that I know his team's backing him up—their fans, their coaches. If he's putting it out on the line like that than he must feel real confident about their game plan or whatever they have going on so we got to do the same thing."

The running back tandem of Lattimore and Lance Ball has out-rushed and out-scored the more highly-publicized Clemson duo of Davis and C.J. Spiller—1,048 yards and 17 touchdowns to 851 yards and 8 touchdowns.

With his prediction, does Davis possess a unique skill, though?

"I didn't know that running backs can tell the future," Ball said.

"The comment he made, I guess he has high hopes for the game, there's nothing wrong with that. Hopefully he can back it up."

Davis ran for 91 yards and a touchdown last year against Maryland, but the Terrapins escaped Death Valley with a 13-12 win on a Dan Ennis field goal as time expired. That loss dropped the Tigers to 4-3 in the conference and essentially eliminated them from going to Jacksonville.

Maryland is in a similar position this year. At 1-2 in the conference, the Terps face a must-win Saturday, not only to stay alive in the ACC, but to preserve hopes of a bowl game. Davis' guarantee has given the Maryland players an additional incentive heading into the game.

"It shows a sign of disrespect," right tackle Dane Randolph said. "We just got to prove him wrong. Hopefully they think that the whole time ‘til the game comes and don't prepare. If they think they can win so easily, we'll come in and outscore them, outplay them throughout all aspects of the game."

"It's just something to rally upon," Ball said.

Maryland's players were careful not to take any jabs back, but it's clear now that Davis will be the target of the Terrapins defense Saturday.

"I don't have nothing to say back to it, man," said Gardner, who said Clemson players "started turning sideways" in last year's game.

"Now he's got to go out there and back it up."

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