The Florida State Seminoles (9-1) are having one of their best seasons in a decade. Maryland Terrapins coach Randy Edsall, meanwhile, can’t wait for this year to be over.
Maryland (4-6) has gone through, not one, not two but four quarterback injuries this season. He is currently on his fifth-stringer on the depth chart, Shawn Petty, who did not come to Maryland to play quarterback.
He’s a freshman linebacker who played QB in high school.
That’s what life has been like for the Maryland Terrapins the past three weeks. Could Edsall switch places with Chief Osceola, just for a day on Saturday? The Terrapin season went from promising to torturous.
To make matters worse, the defunct Maryland offense will be facing its toughest test all season; this FSU defense ranks top-five in the nation in several major categories, let alone the ACC.
The one ranking that matters most? NFL talent. The Seminoles have it, while the Terrapins have to change players' positions to field a team.
Poor Shawn Petty.
In other news, at least they're wearing these "Black Ops" uniforms (h/t Maryland Athletics):
When: Saturday, November 17th at Noon ET
Where: Byrd Stadium, College Park, Maryland
Live Stream: ESPN3
Spread: Florida State -31 (Bovada)
Over/Under: 42 (Fox Sports Odds)
Vegas oddsmakers don't have much faith in Petty and the Maryland offense, and rightfully so. The Maryland offense kept it simple and avoided any interceptions from the passing game. However, they surrendered 45 points on the other end.
Even if the Terps can avoid mistakes on the offensive end, they're still prone to huge lapses on defense. This looks to be all Florida State in this matchup; they may cover the entire total themselves.
Injury Report via USA Today (as of 11/15/2012)
G Jacob Fahrenkrug (Toe)
OL Austin Barron (Undisclosed) Questionable
WR Josh Gehres (Hamstring) Questionable
OL Trey Pettis (Head) Questionable
DB Justin Bright (Head) Questionable
T Garrett Faircloth (Hip) Questionable
LB Ukeme Eligwe (Hand) Questionable
DT Moses McCray (Concussion) Questionable
DT Derrick Mitchell (Back) Questionable
WR Tyrek Cheeseboro (Concussion) Day-to-day
WR Stefon Diggs (Leg) Day-to-day
RB Wes Brown (Ankle) Day-to-day
LB Demetrius Hartsfield (Knee) Out for season
The Seminoles hold a huge stake in the BCS bowl race as they are the odds-on favorite for the ACC Championship. If they win out, they will play in the Orange Bowl with a chance at an 12-1 record on the year.
Don’t think Jimbo Fisher isn’t thinking about those two accolades to pitch to recruits for 2013. Bet on it.
Maryland needs this game as much as Florida State does for its postseason chances. The Terrapins, with a 4-6 record, must get victories in their final two games for a BCS bowl berth.
Unfortunate circumstances at the game’s most important position won’t deter the Terps from giving their best shot.
Keys for Florida State Victory: Ride Their Three-Headed Rushing Attack
The Seminoles managed only 25 yards on 16 carries in last week’s 28-22 win over Virginia Tech. Those numbers won’t cut it for the rest of the season.
The ‘Noles would be wise to get the running game back on track in this matchup they should dominate. FSU has advantages in the trenches with its offensive line, while James Wilder Jr., Lonnie Pryor and Devonta Freeman should play up to their high reputations.
Keys for Maryland Victory: Back to Basics
Already without their first four choices at quarterback, the Terps will be hard served to get much offensive output from the passing game.
To make matters worse, Wes Brown and star freshman Stefon Diggs may sit out, so the Terps will hand the keys to Brandon Ross.
The freshman tailback will have to jump-start the offense early on, or otherwise the Terps won’t have a fighter’s chance. There is hope for Ross, however; he had his first collegiate 100-yard rushing game last week.
Florida State is too strong, too tough and too talented to entertain Maryland in this matchup. And I’ve already covered the Terps offensive woes. This one won’t be pretty.
Florida State 37 Maryland 6