Well, well, well, what do we have here? No. 8 Florida State (4-0, 2-0 ACC) has itself its first Top 25 matchup on its hands as it welcomes No. 25 Maryland (4-0, 0-0 ACC) to Tallahassee. The Terps have never won in Doak Campbell and are 2-21 vs. the 'Noles all time.
Time: noon ET
Place: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.
Radio: Florida State IMG Sports Network
Spread: Florida State by 16 according to Bovada.lv
Make your presence known defensively
After giving up 34 points last week to Boston College, FSU's defense is now under a microscope. Maryland can put up points, especially now that they don't have four quarterbacks out with injuries. If Florida State doesn't make adjustments, then this could end up being another shootout, which brings us to the next key:
Score. A lot.
Maryland isn't going to back down easily, so the pressure will be on Jameis Winston and Co. to rack up points much as they've done this season already. Limit three-and-outs to three times this game and score on every other drive. Points are essential.
Last week, both FSU's defense and special teams made mistakes all game, allowing Boston College to keep it tight. The Terps have themselves a dangerous offense, along with their best player, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, returning kickoffs and punts. If Maryland wants to keep things interesting, hit 'em where it hurts.
Forget the past, this is now
Maryland only has two wins ever against Florida State, with their first coming in 2004 and the second in 2008. The last time these two met when they were both ranked was 2001, when two-loss No. 18 FSU upset undefeated No. 10 Maryland 52-31. Needless to say, history isn't exactly on the Terrapins' side in this series. Ignore all that. These were teams of the past, and it doesn't affect what happens now.
As if you weren't expecting this. Winston continues to amaze, throwing for four touchdowns last week and 330 yards. Expect him to match, or even outdo, those numbers this week in what may turn out to be a mainly offensive game.
The senior linebacker hasn't had the best season so far, so in a game where the defense will be looked at the most, now is the time for a turnaround.
He kept mostly quiet in last week's win, running for only 22 yards and a touchdown, so it's fair to assume he might get a little more action this week. FSU's run game wasn't leaned on due to falling behind early, but if Florida State elects to set the tone early, a breakout run by Los might do just that.
Can you believe he's only a sophomore? The do-it-all wunderkind for Maryland already has 400 yards receiving and three touchdowns, along with 104 return yards from punts and kickoffs. He's going to test an FSU defense that hasn't had much testing when it comes to the air.
Brown was the first to go down last year in Maryland's unbelievable quarterback situation, but he's come back with a vengeance. A dual-threat quarterback, Brown already has 1,043 yards passing, seven touchdowns and only one interception along with 283 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
Jimbo Fisher on:
"Maryland, as you see, is a very good team. In every conference standing, they’re one or two in every statistical category across the board, playing very good football. Very dynamic players on offense—quarterback C.J. Brown is playing lights out. (Stefon) Diggs is a great player—he’s catching balls everywhere. Their back, (Brandon) Ross is way up there and does a good job. They’ve got a good football team. Defensively, (Marcus) Whitfield has five or six sacks and six or seven tackles for loss. (They are) doing a lot of different things with coverages and blitz packages—playing great football. Special teams are doing a good job, got great returners because they’re dynamic and athletic."
On the offensive rhythm this year:
“It’s everything. He gets hot. Like I say, be careful. Sometimes (when) a quarterback plays bad we want to blame him and when they play well—is he (Jameis Winston) playing well and doing things? Yes, he’s playing very well, but the guys around him are blocking and getting to spots and getting the angles right to create the throws and picking up blitzes and are able to make runs. It’s a combination of everything, but when they do that, it allows your quarterback to play well, and he’s doing a very good job.”
Points. Lots and lots of points. Though I want to believe this is the week that Florida State's defense impresses, Maryland is going to come with a high level of intensity and talent that FSU hasn't seen yet. It's going to be a shootout for most of the game, but towards the fourth quarter, things will start to separate.
Florida State 52, Maryland 38
All quotes and paraphrases were obtained either firsthand or via phone unless otherwise noted.
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