After a blowout loss to Georgia Tech, injuries struck again for Maryland. It was announced that star linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield would miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, while Wes Brown and Stefon Diggs were ruled out of Saturday's game against Clemson with injured ankles. Special teams star Tyrek Cheeseboro will also miss the game with a concussion, while Joe Vellano is listed as questionable.
All of this tacks on to what has been one of the stranger Maryland football seasons in recent memory - starting out strong with a 4-2 record, 2-0 in ACC play, and surprising many before an unprecedented amount of injuries helped cause three straight losses with no end to the losing streak in sight.
At this point, there's almost no point in going over the opposition, because any FBS team (and many FCS teams) would be favored against this offense. HOWEVER, it is the reason we are here, so let's talk about how good Clemson is.
The Tigers are 8-1, with their only loss coming at Florida State. They've scored at least 37 points in every game since their opener, and have an absolutely dynamic offense led by the four-headed attack of Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington, Sammy Wakins, and DeAndre Hopkins.
Boyd has two straight weeks with five touchdown passes, and has 2,680 yards through the air with 25 touchdowns against nine interceptions. He has also ran for 350 yards and five touchdowns, and while he's struggled with turnovers, he's passed for over 300 yards in five games - including an incredible 27-for-38, 428-yard, five- touchdown, zero-interception effort against Wake Forest.
Until recently, Boyd's main target had been Hopkins. After a solid year last year, Hopkins has really broke out this season, with 62 catches for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns, including two games with over 170 yards and two other games with three touchdowns. He is coming off a four-reception, 128-yard and three-touchdown performance against Duke.
Watkins missed the first two games of the season due to a suspension but has come back with a fury. After starting out relatively slowly in his first three games, he has 22 catches for 383 yards and two touchdowns over his last three, including a 200-yard performance against Wake. The Tigers have the top passing offense in the conference, and are ranked tenth in the country with over 320 yards in the air per game.
On the ground, Ellington is having another good season. Even with only one rush against Duke last week, he has 151 carries for 780 yards and seven touchdowns this season. He started out with a huge 228-yard performance against Auburn in the first week and has slowed down since then, but will be a major threat to look out for.
Clemson is one of the better teams in the conference. Maryland is one of the most battered teams in the country. This should not be close - especially not in Death Valley - and it certainly won't be pretty.
But hey, Clemson's done stranger things, right?
Prediction: Clemson 56, Maryland 0. It is impossible to see Maryland scoring points without Diggs, Brown or a quarterback.