Clemson-Maryland: The Tigers' Week Four Preview

Kevin ThomasContributor IISeptember 27, 2008

Clemson (3-1) and Maryland (3-1) meet for the 57th time in Clemson's "Death Valley" today. Today is Clemson's Family Day.

Clemson holds a 30-24-2 advantage in the series with Maryland that dates to 1952. Clemson won last year's matchup in Maryland by a 30-17 margin.

Last week Maryland, coached by Ralph Friedgen, improved their record with a 51-24 win over Eastern Michigan. In week two, the Terps were shocked in a 24-14 loss to Middle Tennessee State.

The next week however, the Terps bounced back over then-No. 23 California 35-27. Now with Chris Turner at quarterback, the Terps have things going the right way.

Last week Clemson, coached by Tommy Bowden, improved their record to 3-1 with a 54-0 win over South Carolina State. The Tigers were led by running back James Davis, who ran for just under 100 yards and scored three TDs.


Clemson on Offense

Clemson has a high-powered offense, and the Terps have been allowing points to everyone they have played so far.

The Tigers quarterback, Cullen Harper, has struggled a little so far this season, drawing some cries for backup QB Willy Korn from the Clemson faithful. Harper threw two INTs last week.

Last year, James Davis and C.J. Spiller both had over 100 yards rushing against the Terps. Clemson's O-Line will be patchworked this week with possibly three starters out, but they have been getting some confidence and will keep on rolling this week.


Clemson on Defense

Clemson's defense caused four turnovers last week against S.C. State (3 INTs, 1 FR). The Tigers pitched their first shutout in two years last week.

Maryland is led by WR Darius Heyward-Bey. He will be catching passes from QB Chris Turner today. Heyward-Bey is very fast and is a definite playmaker. But even with Heyward-Bey, the Tigers' defense is too fast for Maryland.


Special Teams

This game has historically been one with big returns, and the Tigers have the players to do it with Jacoby Ford and C.J. Spiller. Clemson's K Mark Bucholz is perfect so far this season on FGs.


Final Decision

Clemson has way too much talent and firepower for Maryland. Before this game last season, James Davis guaranteed victory, and he came through on that guarantee. This season, coach Tommy Bowden said there will be no guarantee.

Last year, James Davis and C.J. Spiller both had over 100 yards rushing in this game and I see them doing much of the same today. I also see QB Cullen Harper hitting WR Aaron Kelly for some big plays downfield.

Clemson's defense should be able to shut down Maryland's offense by putting pressure on Turner all day. The Tigers will be able to double Heyward-Bey and shut him down.

The visitors have won each of the last three games of the series, but I see that changing today. The last time Maryland was in "Death Valley," they were big underdogs. They shocked the Tigers that day 13-12, holding the Tigers to only 4 FGs. That loss knocked the Tigers out of the ACC Championship.

Clemson will look to keep rolling today and will come out fired up and ready to go. The Tigers just have too much firepower for the Terps on offense and defense.

The Tigers are still upset about that last loss to Maryland, because there were some questionable calls late in the fourth quarter that went against them.

Clemson will not overlook Maryland like they did two years ago and will come out and whip the Terps.

Clemson 28, Maryland 10

Kickoff is at 12 noon on Raycom Sports. For coverage in your area, go to