A pair of ranked teams will square off at noon eastern time on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee as eighth-ranked Florida State plays host to #25 Maryland. Both teams will arrive with a 4-0 record, but while Florida State is 2-0 in ACC play, Saturday’s game will be the conference opener for Maryland.
Despite a sluggish defensive effort, the Seminoles are coming off of a 48-34 win over Boston College on Saturday. Jameis Winston was once again solid at quarterback for Florida State, throwing for 330 yards and four scores. Winston also led the team in rushing with 67 yards on 14 carries. Winston leads the ACC in completion percentage and touchdown passes and is second in the nation in passer efficiency.
Rashad Greene caught a pair of touchdowns for Florida State in Saturday’s win giving him a team-high five for the season. Leading receiver Kenny Shaw and running back Devonta Freeman are each on pace to hit the 1,000-yard plateau. No Seminole has finished with 1,000 yards receiving since 2002 when Anquan Boldin eclipsed it and Florida State has not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Warrick Dunn in 1996.
However while the offense has thrived, the Florida State defense has really struggled. FSU allowed nearly 400 yards of offense to Boston College and 34 points which was more than the Seminoles had allowed all season coming in. Florida State gave up 200 yards on the ground to Andre Williams and the Eagles one week after giving up 182 rushing yards to Bethune-Cookman.
That bodes well for Maryland, who will arrive in Tallahassee on Saturday averaging nearly 227 yards rushing per game and nearly 40 points per contest. The Terrapins have already equaled their win total from a season ago thanks largely to the return of senior quarterback C.J. Brown. Brown has 13 total touchdowns this season and is averaging 6.3 yards per rush. Brown is second on the team in rushing behind Brandon Ross, who is averaging 83 yards per game on the ground. Stefon Diggs has also proven to be a big time playmaker at wide receiver for the Terps.
Where Maryland may be most improved however, is on defense. Maryland is coming off of a 37-0 shutout of West Virginia and is allowing just 10.3 points per game this season which is good for third best in the country. Linebacker Marcus Whitfield is third in the ACC with 5.5 sacks while Dexter McDougle leads the Terrapins with three interceptions.
Florida State defeated Maryland a season ago in College Park by a score of 41-14. Overall, the Seminoles have won the last six in the series including a 41-16 victory in the Terrapins’ last visit to Tallahassee. The last victory for Maryland in the series came in College Park by a 27-24 score back in 2006 in what would be the first career start for Florida State quarterback Xavier Lee. Florida State will look to start 5-0 for a second straight season while the Terrapins have not started 5-0 since 2001. Saturday’s contest will be the first ACC home game for Florida State this season and will air on ESPN.