Before the 2013 season even began, I would venture to believe that there were not that many people that would have thought that the matchup on Oct. 5 between the Florida State Seminoles and the Maryland Terrapins would be a Top 25 matchup. The problem was, not many folks went out on a limb and figured that not only would the Terps be ranked within the Top 25, but they’d be as dominant of a unit as they are.
Nonetheless, this is where we stand. Saturday afternoon, Florida State vs. Maryland is one of the more anticipated matchups of this weekend.
Well, to gather some more information on this interesting Maryland squad, I reached out to Micheal Willis–the editor of our good friends over at TerrapinStationMD.com–to find out a bit more about this weekend’s FSU opponent:
CC: 1. How much of a luxury has it been so far to have a healthy CJ Brown back at quarterback, especially given what the team had to deal with last season?
MW: You know what reaching Nirvana is like? Me either, but I have been to the other end of the spectrum. Let me put it this way: watching games last year just felt like self-flagellation at some point. A linebacker at quarterback is something that’s best left unseen.
Given last year Maryland had many of the same weapons but an inability to make use of them, we treat CJ Brown as a savior. Maryland hasn’t had this explosive an offense in years, and it starts with Brown being able to utilize Stefon Diggs and open up the running game for Brandon Ross. What is under appreciated is the fact that he’s a consummate leader, and a great individual as well. That’s what we love about him. 4-0 cures everything.
CC: 2. How much of a factor has JUCO transfer Deon Long been in expanding this passing game even further?
MW: I’m not sure if they add some type of light metal to the football, but Deon Long has been attracting balls like Magneto at this point. Everything that gets thrown his way, he catches. He also has an NFL-ready frame, which means he has no issues getting blasted on high throws (watch for this) by CJ Brown, who can often get receivers killed. This is after he fractured a few vertebrae in the offseason.
He’s a great Robin to Stefon Diggs, even though on other teams he’s likely the first option. Quite frankly I can’t recall the last time Maryland had that. His stats may not wow you, but the attention defenses have to pay to him will.
CC: 3. With that being said, who, in your mind, has been the MVP of this explosive offense so far through this undefeated run to start the year?
MW: I’m inclined to go with Stefon Diggs here, only because it feels weird to choose anyone over him, but CJ Brown has been great too. Still, Stefon Diggs is a complete game changer for the offense. Leave him in single coverage, he’s probably going to torch your defender for a touchdown. He’ll also bust your zone, as he’s deceptively fast. And if you commit another man to him, there’s another guy on the other side of the field (Long) and one in the backfield (Brown) who are likely to do some damage to your team as well.
But again, that’s all predicated on Stefon Diggs. He commands so much attention that he alters the game entirely. For that reason he’s my MVP.
CC: 4. How nice of a surprise has your defense been? They shut out West Virginia recently, they rank within the top 15 in a lot of major categories. And also, who has been the MVP of this unit so far?
MW: Believe it or not, last year our defensive coordinator Brian Stewart had a pretty formidable unit as well, so the defense isn’t as surprising. Before the great ACL implosion, our defense was a top 25 unit, but they were on the field so often that anyone would’ve eventually scored a bunch of points. This year, we have health and an offense that controls the clock, and it’s showing how disciplined they are (one of the least penalized units in the NCAA).
Our MVP is probably going to be Marcus Whitfield. His ability to attack the quarterback really limits an offense, and he’s gets through the line so quickly off the snap that maybe even Winston will have trouble avoiding him. When you can sack a quarterback on a hand off, that’s a nice luxury.
CC: 5. Taking your editor hat off for a second and putting your fan one on, how nice would it be to grab a victory Saturday, or against Clemson in a few weeks, as you guys are leaving the ACC?
MW: Dude, after being picked by the ACC media to finish dead last for the second year in a row, nothing would please me more than to give John Swofford a one-finger salute on our way out of the conference. Then, we’d leave him the $50 million bill with turtle droppings on it. Beating Florida State and/or Clemson would obliterate the ACC’s chances of having a national title contender, and would give folks on the national scale another reason to slight the conference. All the better for us, since we’re leaving.
We’ve never beaten Florida State at Doak, so getting that kind of recognition would be nice too. Dare I say that a win like this, against a Florida State team that routinely has too much talent to be beaten by Maryland every year, could end up being a program changer. It may even earn us some respect heading into the Big Ten. So yeah, it’s a big deal.
CC: BONUS: Predict a final score (if you feel comfortable)
MW: Soaring back to reality, I’m not sure Maryland has the chops to head into Doak for a noon kickoff and punch the bully in the mouth. The game will be closer than the 15 point spread suggests though. 31 – 28 Noles. Ugh.
Post Game Updated: Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles kept rolling last Saturday with a 63-0 demolition of the Maryland Terrapins. Following the win, prices for Florida State football tickets have shot up 70% to an average of $175, vaulting them from out of the ranks to #7 in the TiqIQ Top 25. This Saturday, Winston and crew face their most difficult test of the season when they take on #3 Clemson. With ACC supremacy and a shot at the BCS National Championship Game on the line, tickets for the FSU vs. Clemson showdown currently check in with an average price of $271 dollars.