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Game Preview: No. 8 FSU vs. No. 25 Maryland

Oct. 4, 2013

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INDIVIDUAL STATS COMPARISON

No. 8 Florida State Seminoles (4-0, 2-0)
Roster | Schedule | Stats | Game Notes
Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
Passing leader
Player Pct Avg/gm TD Int
Jameis Winston 73.6 262.0 12 2
Rushing leaders
Player Att Yds Avg/gm TD
Devonta Freeman 37 322 80.5 2
Karlos Williams 23 215 53.8 4
Receiving leaders
Player Rec Yds Avg/gm TD
Rashad Greene 19 299 74.8 5
Kenny Shaw 18 370 92.5 2
Defensive leaders
Player Tkls Scks TFL INT
Telvin Smith 27 1.0 4.0 1
Lamarcus Joyner 24 2.0 2.0 0
 

No. 25 Maryland Terrapins(4-0, 0-0)
Roster | Schedule | Stats | Game Notes
Head Coach: Randy Edsall
Passing leader
Player Pct Avg/gm TD Int
C.J. Brown 66.7 260.8 7 1
Rushing leaders
Player Att Yds Avg/gm TD
Brandon Ross 66 332 83.0 2
C.J. Brown 45 283 70.8 6
Receiving leaders
Player Rec Yds Avg/gm TD
Deon Long 21 271 67.8 1
Stefon Diggs 18 400 100.0 3
Defensive leaders
Player Tkls Scks TFL INT
L.A. Goree 26 1.0 3.0 0
Cole Farrand 25 0 0.5 0

 Week 6 FSU stats infographic

FSU-Maryland.jpeg
Brandon Mellor Brandon Mellor
Seminoles.com Managing Editor
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Key players: Offense

Florida State

5 Jameis Winston

Maryland is well aware of the dangers of facing Winston for the Seminoles. The Terrapins have seen what he did in the opener at Pittsburgh and all of the other highlight-reel plays he's made since then.

"[Winston] is a great athlete, and to get him down, I think you're going to have to tackle him low," Terps defensive coordinator Stewart was quoted as saying in the Baltimore Sun. "I think he ducks or he's too big to tackle him high. You're going to have to tackle him like you'd tackle somebody like a big Ben Roethlisberger-type guy."

NFL quarterback comparison aside, Winston credits his teammates for his tough-to-tackle reputation.

"It's hard for a defensive lineman to tackle a quarterback when they always have a hand on them," Winston said. "I've never seen anyone just come free, unless it was a sight on me. So I think my linemen do a good job of putting me in a situation where I can elude them or where I can break a tackle or that he can only get one hand on me."

 
Maryland

1 Stefon Diggs

Is there an overall talent discrepancy between Florida State and Maryland?

Yes of course. While the Terps have the ability to bring in talented prospects, few teams recruit as well or better than the Seminoles. But Diggs is the exception.

A former five-star prospect, the speedy do-it-all player was recruited by all of college football's big dogs and has lived up to the hype and expectations with a huge freshman year in 2012 when he averaged 172.4 all-purpose yards per game and has since started his sophomore campaign strong.

FSU's defenders have to know where No. 1 is at all times.

The Olney, Md. native comes to Doak Campbell Stadium with 400 total receiving yards in four games, 43 more rushing yards and an average of 21 yards per kick return.

"[Stefon] Diggs is a great player -- he's catching balls everywhere," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said.

Key players: Defense

Florida State

22 Telvin Smith

Despite being the ACC's reigning linebacker of the week, Smith -- like the rest of the defense -- is still coming off an up-and-down showing against the Eagles on the road last weekend.

Saturday, Smith will have to be ready to not only help shut down the Maryland offense, but also provide support against a dual-threat quarterback in C.J. Brown, who can make plays with his legs and generate big yardage on the ground.

Fisher said the entire defense needs to play with better eye discipline against the Terps and Smith will need to remember that so he is in position to limit the damage that Brown can do when plays break down and he escapes the pocket.

 
Maryland

41 Marcus Whitfield

Maryland's senior starting linebacker has been a nightmare for opposing offenses through the first quarter of the season.

Whitfield enters the game with the second-most sacks in the entire nation with 5.5 total quarterback takedowns and he's fourth nationally with an average of 1.4 sacks per game.

The Germantown, Md. native has made enough splash plays this year to draw specific mention from Fisher this week.

"Defensively, [Marcus] Whitfield has five or six sacks and six or seven tackles for loss," Fisher said. "[They are] doing a lot of different things with coverages and blitz packages -- playing great football."

Four Downs: Key questions for FSU vs. Maryland

1. Will FSU improve defensively?

Lamarcus Joyner and the FSU defense face a talented Maryland offense.

Florida State was dominate defensively during a 35-3 run that started after the first quarter in Boston College last weekend -- but it was the first and fourth quarters in that ballgame that has had the 'Noles defense diving deeper in the film room this week.

"I feel like we just got away from our keys and our assignments in that game and that's why they were able to get good plays on us," FSU senior safety Terrance Brooks said. "This week we are really harping on knowing what your job is, doing it and executing it. I feel like we'll be fine if we just go out there and do what we are supposed to do."

Maryland's offense represents the FSU defense's toughest task yet with a dangerous quarterback in Brown, a gamebreaker at wide receiver in Diggs, a talented player like Deon Long on the outside and a good tailback in Brandon Ross.

The Terrapins come to Tallahassee with the nation's 18th-ranked offense. Maryland is 17-of-17 in the redzone, too.

"They are more multiple," Fisher said. "They are a spread look. They will be in all the spread looks that a lot of folks have gotten into now and it's kind of the craze of college football. But they are very complicated and do a lot of different things and create a lot of different problems with great players."

2. Speaking of defenses, is Maryland's for real?

Maryland's defense has been lights out so far this season.

Maryland has jumped out to a 4-0 start with an offense that ranks 18th nationally and a defense that ranks No. 6 in the country. But while there is no questioning the effectiveness of offensive players Brown, Diggs, Long and Ross, a mong others, the Terps defense hasn't exactly faced an offensive powerhouse through a handful of games.

Even though Maryland is tied for the nation's lead in sacks with 17 and is tied for third in points-per-game allowed at 10.3, it's important to look at how the squad from College Park, Md. got to this point. FIU, which Maryland blasted 43-10 in the opener, is 125th overall in offense, Old Dominion is an FCS school, Connecticutt recently fired its coach and is 121st in offense and West Virginia is 78th.

Still, the 'Noles aren't taking the Terps lightly.

"They have a lot of blitzes," Winston said. "More blitzes than we have seen, just from the variety. Some teams might be secondary blitz teams, some might be like edge pressures, but they have a lot of blitzing pressures they can get to. And then they mix up their fronts so sometimes we don't know if it's three-down or sometimes we don't know if it's four-down. They do a good job with that."

3. Will FSU continue its end-of-half/beginning-of-half streak?

Winston's offense has been excellent at closing and opening halfs this year.

In all four of its games this season, Florida State has done something consistently that is quite remarkable.

In each of those games -- all wins over Pittsburgh, Nevada, B-CU and Boston College -- the Seminoles have scored on their last possession of the first half heading into the break and their first possession of the second half coming out of the break. Each score represents a huge advantage for the 'Noles, who have excelled in two-minte drills and in setting the tone offensively for the final two quarters.

"It is just that shift in momentum that we have to have. We've got to learn to start playing with momentum; the momentum always has to be on our side because everyone is out to get us. That's how we have to feel. And with scoring before the half, usually we get the ball back and that's 14 points before they even touch the ball.

"So that's obviously good."

4. What impact will the weather have Saturday afternoon?

Will weather play a role Saturday when Fisher and the 'Noles host Maryland?

Tropical Storm Karen's presence in the Gulf of Mexico and its northern trajectory towards the United States means that the entire Gulf Coast is on high alert for impending bad weather over the next several days.

But while there was some early concern that the storm's movement toward land would have an impact on the noon game between the 'Noles and Terps, Friday-morning projections now suggest otherwise.

Still, it's important to continue to monitor the storm's movement. For the latest information, fans can call the official FSU Storm Line at 850-645-GAME.

FSU injury report

Out for game
Out for season

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