Record: 4-0 (2-0 ACC)
Head Coach: Randy Edsall
All-Time: FSU leads 21-2
Overview: The Maryland Terrapins enter in the game scoring just a hair under 40 points per contest and ranked third nationally in scoring defense. Quarterback CJ Brown is a dual-threat play, he's already run for six touchdowns and 283 yards while passing for 1,043 and seven more.
"C.J. Brown is playing lights out," said head coach Jimbo Fisher on Monday. "(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."
Diggs may be the biggest problem for Florida State on Saturday, a five-star recruit, Diggs was 8th in the country as a true freshman last year with 1896 all-purpose yards. So far this year he's hauled in 18 catches for 400 yards and three TD's.
“He runs great routes, he runs some real good routes, he sells the double move, he acts like he’s going to block and he’ll take off," said sophomore corner PJ Williams. "He’ll get a lot of people with his stuff like that. It’s all about being disciplined.”
Discipline is the name of the game on Saturday for the Florida State defense. After working all week to correct the mistakes that cost them 397 yards and 34 points at BC, the 'Noles will have to defend a spread attack that will attack them through the air rather than trying to control the tempo on the ground.
FSU says they're ready.
“It’s going to be a real big challenge, we’ve been waiting for challenges like this the DB’s and stuff, so it’s going to be fun," said Williams. "We’re excited about it, we’ve been waiting to play throwing teams.”
How FSU Stacks Up: The Seminoles actually stack up better against Maryland than they did agaisnt BC. While the Eagles were able to power the ball between the tackles and exploit issues FSU was having with trying to go around blocks - as opposed to fighting through them - the Terps are going to try to strike through the air.
That's good news for Florida State who has the 4th ranked passing defense in the nation and has had little trouble shutting down opposing receivers and intercepting passes.
The Seminole secondary is the deepest unit on the team. Even without junior safety Tyler Hunter there is still plenty of talent to go around. True freshman Nate Andrews had an interception last week, true freshman Jalen Ramsey is making his second start at safety after making three at corner to start the year. Sophomore corner PJ Williams had a pick-six last year. And seniors Terrence Brooks and Lamarcus Joyner both seem at home in this new defense.
Maryland is largely untested, this will be the first time they face a competent defense.
On the other side of the ball Jameis Winston is likely to see plenty of pressure, but so far this year the redshirt freshman has thrived in those situations. He's had just two incompletions when playing from behind and has worked all week in practice on identifying the pressure he's going to see from Maryland.
“They have a lot of blitzes. More blitzes than we have seen, just from the variety," Winston said on Wednesday. "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.”
Look for Florida State to turn to the run game if things start to move too fast, but expect an exciting ballgame either way today.
Three to Watch:
1.) Stefon Diggs, WR/KR - Diggs was 8th nationally in all-purpose yards and is without a doubt the Terps most dynamic weapon.
2.) CJ Brown, QB - Brown is back after missing 2012 with an injury and has improved his completion percentage from 49.4 to 66.7.
3.) Marcus Whitfield, LB - The senior has 5.5 sacks and will try to pressure Jameis Winston all afternoon.
Quote of the Week: “Obviously I’m on the field with them so when a big play busts, most of the time I know [what happened] so when I get to the sideline in that situation everyone’s emotions [are] flying so it’s not something you want to just go, “hey do-this, do…” you just want to go in there and say ‘hey man, you got to be accountable. You know you’re supposed to be here, you’ve got to be there.’ And most of the time that works and guys will step up and say 'okay' and the next time [that play] happens, they don’t do it [wrong] again.
“But then again, some guys are just ignorant and they don’t want to [hear it].”
-Senior LB Telvin Smith
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