Florida St.-Maryland Preview
Florida State Seminoles at Maryland Terrapins
- Florida State and Maryland will face off for the 23rd time, as FSU owns a commanding 20-2 lead in the series. The Seminoles have won each of the last five against the Terrapins, more than doubling them on the scoreboard (161-77).
- Florida State is looking to open the season with 10 wins in its first 11 games for the first time since the 2000 season, which ended with their last national title game appearance (third in a row at the time). The Seminoles have held their opponent to seven points or fewer in five games this season -- the most in the country and their most since 2000 (7).
- Maryland is in the midst of a four-game losing streak for the third time in the last four seasons. The Terrapins failed to reach to 20 points in all four games during the streak, and the last time they scored less than 20 in four consecutive games was when they did so in five straight from October 3 to November 7, 1998.
- After rushing for over 200 yards in three straight games and in six of their first nine, the Seminoles finished last week's win at Virginia Tech with -15 net rushing yards. It was the fifth-fewest rushing yards by a team in an ACC game since 1996 and the fewest since Duke had -21 against Virginia on September 30, 2006. On the season, FSU is second in the ACC with 209.6 rushing yards per game (Georgia Tech -- 324.4).
- Despite coming to Maryland as a linebacker, Shawn Petty has lined up at quarterback the past two weeks. The freshman has rushed the ball a combined 33 times in the two games, which are the fourth-most rushes by an ACC player in the past two weeks (Kevin Parks, UVa -- 37; Vad Lee, GaTech -- 35; Shadrach Thornton, NCSU -- 34). The only Maryland quarterback since 1996 to have at least 16 rushes twice in a season prior to Petty was Chris Turner in 2009.
- Rashad Greene had six receptions for 125 yards in the Seminoles win at Virginia Tech last week (20.8 yards per reception). Greene became the first Seminole since Rod Owens (9/199) on October 22, 2009 at UNC to have at least five receptions with a receiving average of at least 20.0 yards per reception.
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By MATT BEARDMORE
(AP) -- Florida State is on the verge of a 10-win season and a spot in the ACC championship game.
All that stands in its way is an injury-plagued Maryland team that has a freshman linebacker starting at quarterback.
The 10th-ranked Seminoles go for a season high-tying fifth consecutive win Saturday when the Terrapins try to end their four-game slide on senior day.
With its best record through 10 games since 2000, when it played for the national championship, Florida State (9-1, 6-1) is tied with No. 11 Clemson atop the Atlantic Division but owns the tiebreaker by virtue of a 49-37 win over the Tigers on Sept. 22.
The Seminoles, who close the season Nov. 24 versus No. 7 Florida, still control their own destiny after rallying for a 28-22 victory at Virginia Tech on Nov. 8. Senior quarterback EJ Manuel connected with Rashad Greene for a go-ahead 39-yard scoring pass with 40 seconds left.
Greene caught six passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, while Manuel led his first winning fourth-quarter drive since last season's Champs Sports Bowl against Notre Dame. It was also the first time the Seminoles' signal-caller threw a TD on the final drive to win a game.
"We all knew what we needed to do," said Manuel, who was sacked a season-high five times but threw for 326 yards and three scores. "We feel like we're built for things like that, and it showed tonight."
Maryland coach Randy Edsall has seen enough of the Seminoles to understand the tall task in front of his players. Florida State is the only team in the FBS ranked in the top 11 in total offense (11th with 503.2 yards per game) and defense (first with 242.9 ypg).
"The biggest thing is that we can't make mistakes," Edsall said. "We need to play a perfect game. If we want to have a chance to win, we've got to play a perfect game and get turnovers against them. That's what we have to do."
That might be asking a lot as Shawn Petty is preparing to make his third straight start at quarterback. Petty is guiding the Terrapins' offense due to season-ending injuries to C.J. Brown (ACL), Perry Hills (ACL), Devin Burns (foot) and Caleb Rowe (ACL).
Petty fumbled twice in last Saturday's 45-10 loss at Clemson.
"You just can't do that against a top-ten team in the country," said Edsall, whose team ended last season with eight straight losses.
Maryland (4-6, 2-4), which finished with a season-low 180 total yards last Saturday, could find it even more difficult to move the ball against Florida State if leading rusher Wes Brown and freshman wide receiver Stefon Diggs each miss a second consecutive game.
If those two can't go, the Seminoles, who have the nation's fourth-best scoring defense (13.0 ppg), can expect to see plenty of freshman Brandon Ross, who ran for a season-best 100 yards last Saturday.
It would appear that Florida State's running game can only improve after it totaled minus-15 yards against the Hokies.
The Seminoles, though, rank 26th in the nation with 209.6 rushing yards per game. James Wilder Jr., Devonta Freeman and Lonnie Pryor are expected to get the bulk of the carries down the stretch with leading rusher Chris Thompson out for the season with a torn left ACL suffered in a 33-20 win at Miami on Oct. 20.
A bright spot for the Terrapins is their run defense, ranked 19th in the nation (112.6 ypg). Maryland is 16th in total defense (315.1 ypg).
"On film, they're as impressive (defensively) as anyone we've seen," said Fisher, whose team has won five straight against Maryland to improve to 20-2 in this series.
Updated November 13, 2012