Thursday 'Nole Analysis: Quick Look At Maryland

Florida State travels to play Maryland Saturday night at 8pm.  From the chatter around here lately it seems that most fans have not followed Maryland much if at all.  So let's take a look.  How well has Maryland played this season?  We'll go to the F/+ ratings (the awesome combination of FEI with S&P+).  


What to take from the chart?

  • Miami's defense is still amazing.  Shocking how badly FSU out-schemed them.  They have shut everyone else down.  
  • That really is a special group of upperclassmen who are finally healthy on NC State's defense.  And I still think that defense has been lucky in forcing so many turnovers.  
  • Thank heavens for Kansas!  Without the Jayhawks (116th), Wake would be the worst BCS-conference team.
  • The ACC has 5 of the top 20 defenses in the country.  Impressive.  It has zero top-10 offenses.  Oops.  
  • There is very little difference between UNC, Florida, Clemson, NC State, and FSU.  
  • Overall:  FSU 22nd | Maryland 45th
  • FSU's Offense:  15th.  |  Maryland's Defense:  34th.
  • Maryland's Offense:  59th | FSU's Defense: 47th
  • We were dead on in telling you that FSU's three easiest D1 games were BYU-Wake-Virginia.  I think that gave people a lot of false confidence that this team could be something it is not.  I say it all the time, and I'll say it again:  schedule matters.  Your team is only 50% of the outcome.  

Florida State is a better team than Maryland.  There's very little doubt about that.  But the difference is not enormous by any means.  Maryland is a considerable step up from Wake, BYU, or Virginia.  And I worry about FSU's injuries.  This game is far from a lock for FSU.  Let's go inside and see Maryland's game charts.

As always, these are my thoughts at the time of the game.


Two goal-line stands were huge here.  


Maryland's not an awful team, it's just a below average one.  The Terps cannot throw the ball on 3rd-long at all.  If they ran the ball more and shortened the game the Terps might have some success when conference play rolls around.  As always, Ben Broman with tremendous coverage.  FirstSecondThird.


This FIU team is better than Wake, BYU, and Virginia.  Surprised how Maryland contained this offense.  

-93 plays for FIU!  Wow!  That might be a record this year.  Maryland out-gained FIU by 65% per play and was +2 in the turnover battle.

- Maryland's defense is not awful, but it has really struggled on 3rd downs this year.  WVU and Navy also ran 75+ plays on these guys.  This tells me Maryland can't rush the passer or can't cover.  

- Maryland has a new QB.  I'm done with this game.  Just read Ben Broman's excellent stuff.  Report Card.  |  Game Review  

Maryland > FIU +12.1. EqPts: Terps 29.7, FIU 27.1. T/O Pts: Terps +9.5. FIU: the best 0-3 team in the country. O'Brien strong at QB for MD.

- Maryland has faced 265 defensive snaps in its 3 D1 games. That is an INCREDIBLE number. Like the most amazing fact of the season so far. I asked Ben about this and he said they struggle on 3rd down, allowing 35 of 56! 3rd down conversions against D1 teams!


So Maryland is out-gained by 9% at home and wins the game.  Another weird game in College Park.  Duke controlled the ball and the clock.  The key here was the field position as Maryland didn't turn the ball over and did turn Duke over twice.  Maryland also had a long punt-return TD.  This Maryland defense isn't awful, but this offense is pretty poor.  Duke just lacks talent all over.

Ben Broman with lots of good columns as always at TestudoTimes


Clemson ended up wining 31-7, but were out-gained by 56% per play!  Clemson's offense is decidedly not anything special.  3.4 yards of offense per play is terrible.  Also, Maryland's defense under Don Brown isn't terrible.  Clemson scored off of two nice special teams players.  

Postgame Impressions: Special Teams saved the day for Clemson - Shakin The Southland
Postgame Impressions: Clemson's offense is a mess.

UNC Game Film Review - Shakin The Southland
UNC Game Film Review. Great breakdown of what is going on at CU

The (Morning After the) Morning After: ACC Week 7 -
1. The discussion for ACC defensive player of the year begins and ends with Da'Quan Bowers. Up-close looks at players have a way of influencing someone's thinking more than hard data on paper --- even for analysts who love numbers. And so it is that Bowers' three-sack, four-TFL performance against Maryland was especially impressive. Yes, Bowers had a favorable matchup against Maryland's Pete DeSouza, who was making only his third career start. Bowers didn't do all of his damage against DeSouza, and he found ways to make particularly timely plays (all three sacks came on third down). He used smarts to create complete disruption, the kind of mayhem Mario Williams and Chris Long managed against the Terps in their final seasons. Since 1978, the best sacks total by an ACC player was Peter Boulware with 19 for Florida State in 1996. Bowers has a chance to get there. Hopefully for the rest of the conference, Bowers turns pro this year.

Maryland Terrapins 24, Boston College Eagles 21


  • Now project only 8 #ACC bowl teams unless BC can win 4 of last 5 (very possible).
  • Spaz is a really good defensive mind. 3.3 yards per play allowed? Bet FSU would pay him to leave the ACC.
  • Maryland had three touchdown drives and all three started in BC territory. 
  • Eagles have no receivers or offensive coach.
  • Boston College has a great defense and would have winning record if offensive coordinator wasn't 70+ years old.


This is just a complete beatdown.  Wake Forest is playing like the smallest BCS conference school.  Maryland is an incredible 6-2, with wins over Navy, Morgan State, FIU, Duke, at BC, and WF, which is to say Maryland has zero quality wins.  Two of those teams might make a bowl. 

Maryland 62, Wake Forest 14: Report Card and Helmet Stickers - Testudo Times
After the Morgan State game, I said you wouldn't see a better report card GPA all season. Really, the only way to improve on that would be a similarly dominant performance against an even better team, and who thought that would happen? This is Maryland football, after all. Well, it happened.

Identifying Maryland's Place in the ACC Atlantic Race (Yes, They Have One) - Testudo Times
I'll try to break it down in a nutshell (or turtleshell), keeping in mind that a) Maryland might not be for real, and b) a lot can change in the future: if Maryland wins one of their next two games, they're in control of their destiny, facing the two teams they're tied with at home to close out the season. Winning both would be nice, but would guarantee nothing: there's almost no feasible situation where Maryland can win the ACC Atlantic without beating both N.C. State and FSU. The only way that happens is if one of them falls twice in ACC play outside of the Maryland game (both still play Clemson and UNC, so it's possible, I guess, but it's a longshot).

Maryland has played one top-35 type team (Clemson), and lost by three touchdowns.


In the battle of rookie quarterbacks, Miami's Morris was better.  If I am FSU I hope the Canes start Jacory Harris next season and not this Morris kid, because Morris has considerably more arm talent than Harris.  I've maintained that Maryland was a fraud all season and nothing I've seen out of them will change that.  Maryland has wins over Navy, Morgan State, FIU, Duke, at BC and WF.


Maryland looks a little more legit each week.  Out-gaining a conference foe by 20% on the road is nothing to scoff at.  Still, I do not buy Maryland as a good team, merely an average outfit.  

Ben Broman with game story:

Ben Broman with the game grades:


I'll have the preview up tomorrow, but I am relatively confident FSU will win this game.

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