FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (86,473) -- Clemson, South Carolina. Television:ACC. Home Record: Maryland 3-0, Clemson 2-1. Away Record: Maryland 0-1, Clemson 0-2. Neutral Record: Maryland 1-0, Clemson 0-0. Conference Record: Maryland 1-0, Clemson 0-2. Series Record: Clemson leads, 30-26-2.
After winning their first two games, the Tigers have gone on to drop three straight decisions, all of which were by nine points or fewer. The most recent of the team's narrow losses came this past weekend, a 21-16 setback at North Carolina. That now puts Clemson 0-2 in the ACC, so the team is in obvious need of a victory this weekend.
As for the Terps, they are enjoying a fast start to the season with four wins against just one loss. Maryland has won each of its past two games and that includes a 21-16 triumph of Duke last time out on October 2nd. It has been quit a turnaround for the Terps, who went just 2-10 overall and 1-7 in the ACC last year.
Maryland's lone ACC win last season came against Clemson, 24-21, but the Terps still trail the Tigers, 30-26-2, in the all-time series.
The Terps used a couple of big plays to edge Duke last outing, as an 84-yard punt return for a score by Tony Logan and a 71-yard TD pass from Danny O'Brien to Da'Rel Scott helped the team to a 21-16 victory. Maryland gained just 294 total yards of offense, but that turned out to be enough. O'Brien wasn't particularly sharp in the outing, as he completed only 9-of-26 tosses for 170 yards. He is averaging just under 100 passing ypg for the season, but has done a good job protecting the ball with no INTs against six TDs. Torrey Smith is clearly the team's target of choice, as he leads the squad with 17 catches, 405 yards and five TDs. Davin Meggett paces the ground attack with 325 yards and three scores, while Scott is next with 259 yards and three TDs. Both players were effective against Duke, combining for 107 yards and a score on the ground.
Maryland gave up 399 total yards to Duke, but the defense forced the Blue Devils to settle for field goals instead of TDs and that made the difference. The Terps also came up with two INTs and five sacks, while limiting Duke to just a 4-of-16 effort on third downs. Maryland has now recorded 12 takeaways on the campaign, helping it compensate for the 382.0 total ypg the defense is surrendering. Adrian Moten has 41 tackles and a team-high three INTs to his credit, while Joe Vellano is the team's top pass rusher with 8.5 TFLs and five sacks for the season. Both had their hands in the win over Duke, as Moten finished with seven stops and an INT while Vellano logged seven tackles and a pair of sacks.
The Tigers, averaging 388 total ypg, just didn't do enough last weekend, gaining only 305 total yards in a 21-16 loss to UNC. QB Kyle Parker threw for 214 yards, but that number was aided by a late 74-yard TD pass. Parker, who entered the game completing just 52.7 percent of his tosses, misfired on 17 pass attempts as accuracy continues to be a problem for the gunslinger. Jaron Brown was on the receiving end of the long TD pass versus UNC and he finished with four receptions for 107 yards. It was clearly the best effort of the campaign for Brown, who had just 49 receiving yards entering the weekend. The ground attack, which was churning out over 200 ypg, was even held in check, gaining just 91 yards on 27 carries. Andre Ellington was limited to just 55 yards, but he still tops the roster with 335 yards and seven TDs on the ground for the season.
The Clemson defense could hardly be faulted for last weekend's loss, as the unit held UNC to a mere 255 total yards, including just 91 rushing on 32 carries. It was certainly a nice performance from a group that had been allowing 385.3 total ypg, including 181.3 ypg on the ground. The defense, though, didn't exactly win the game for the Tigers either, as the unit failed to come up with a single takeaway while allowing UNC to go a perfect 4-of-4 on fourth-down chances. Da'Quan Bowers accounted for both of the squad's sacks in the loss and he paces Clemson with 11.5 TFLs and six sacks for the season.
The Tigers have come up short in three straight games, all against quality competition. Look for Clemson to get over the hump and find its way back into the win column with a solid effort from both the offense and defense this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Clemson 31, Maryland 14
Saturday, October 16th, 12:00 p.m. (et)