Maryland Vs. Clemson: Turnovers, Poor Special Teams Play Cause Terps To Fall 31-7

Maryland struggled with special teams and with turnovers in a blowout 31-7 loss to the Clemson Tigers in Death Valley today.

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Maryland Vs. Clemson: Xavier Brewer Returns Interception For Touchdown

If it wasn't over already, it certainly is over now. After not throwing an interception in his first 96 passes, Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien threw his second one of the quarter. This time, Clemson's Xavier Brewer picked it off and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown to give Clemson a 31-7 lead.

The Terps were running a button hook route, but Brewer knew it was coming. He never backpedaled, sitting on the route and jumping on it for the interception. 

Clemson has now scored 28 unanswered points. 

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Maryland Vs. Clemson: Danny O'Brien Throws Interception, Likely Seals Game For Tigers

Facing a 24-7 deficit, the Maryland Terrapins needed to start taking some chances if they wanted to get back into the game. Unfortunately for Terps fans, that often results in turnovers, which is exactly what happened to Danny O'Brien. His pass into double coverage was picked off by DeAndre McDanlei, and with 10:48 left in the fourth quarter, that should pretty much do it.

It was O'Brien's first career interception in 96 pass attempts.

Maryland had a chance to make the game really interesting on the previous Clemson drive. Adrian Moten jumped Clemson's route in the flat, and had the chance to pick off the pass and return it for a touchdown. But he juggled and later dropped the pass, preventing Maryland from getting back into the game.

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Maryland Vs. Clemson: Tigers Take 24-7 Lead After Long Punt Return

Poor special teams play has cost the Maryland Terrapins once again.

Clemson's Jaron Brown took a punt return back to the Maryland 21-yard line, and the Tigers needed just a few plays to punch the ball into the end zone. Andre Ellington got his second touchdown of the day, sidestepping a Maryland player and leaping over the pile for a one-yard TD.

It's clear the Tigers have seized all the momentum since Maryland's flea flicker touchdown early in the second quarter. 

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Maryland Vs. Clemson: Jamie Harper's One-Yard Touchdown Gives Tigers 17-7 Lead

The Clemson Tigers took little time to capitalize on Travis Baltz missed field goal. They marched 80 yards up the field, finally getting into the end zone on a one-yard run by Jamie Harper on fourth and goal. They now lead 17-7.

A long catch and run by Harper on a broken play put the Tigers in Maryland territory, and a pass interference call on the Terps on a ball that may have been uncatchable put the Tigers close to the red zone. Clemson then converted two key third and shorts, one on a short pass to get to the 14-yard line, then on a quarterback sneak by Kyle Parker to get to the three-yard line. Maryland stuffed the Tigers on the first three goal-line plays, but the Tigers decided to go for it and got in when Harper pushed forward on a second effort.

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Maryland Vs. Clemson: Travis Baltz Misses Field Goal, Tigers Still Lead 10-7

Maryland had a good response to Andre Ellington's 87-yard kickoff return. They just couldn't finish that response off with any points.

The Terps marched up the field to inside the Tigers' 10-yard line, but Danny O'Brien was sacked on third and one, forcing a field goal attempt. Then, converted punter Travis Baltz pushed the 33-yarder well right, missing badly and preventing the Terps a chance to tie the score.

Clemson will now get the ball on the Maryland 23-yard line. 

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Maryland Vs. Clemson: 87-Yard Kickoff Return By Andre Ellington Gives Tigers 10-7 Lead

Well, that killed the buzz pretty quickly.

After an outstanding Maryland drive that ended with a trick-play touchdown for Danny O'Brien, Clemson took the lead right back when Andre Ellington took the Maryland kickoff back 87 yards for a touchdown. Ellington found a seam up the middle of the field, cut back to make the kicker miss and outran the Maryland defenders down the stretch for the touchdown. 

It's the first time a Maryland opponent has returned a kickoff for a touchdown since former Clemson star running back C.J. Spiller did it last year.

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Maryland Vs. Clemson: Trick Play Gives Terps 7-3 Lead Over Tigers

On a drive that featured two one-handed catches, I guess it's only fitting that it ended in a play nobody expected. 

With a first and goal inside the five yard line, Maryland went to a trick play. Quarterback Danny O'Brien pitched the ball to running back Da'Rel Scott, who then threw back across the field to O'Brien for the touchdown. Clemson's coverage on the play wasn't terrible, so Scott needed to put the pass right on the money. He did, and it resulted in a 7-3 Maryland lead.

The Terps were energized on the drive by a long one-handed catch by Adrian Cannon and another one by tight end Will Yeatman. 

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Maryland Vs. Clemson: Terps Take On Tigers In Big ACC Matchup In Death Valley

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.

GAME NOTES: The Clemson Tigers will try to snap out of their funk this weekend, as they entertain the Maryland Terrapins in ACC play at Memorial Stadium.

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)

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