COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and his players have spent the past week trying to get over a lopsided loss to Florida State.
Maryland can relate.
Coach Randy Edsall and the Terrapins went through a similar exercise earlier this month.
Coming off a 51-14 defeat against the Seminoles, No. 9 Clemson looks to rebound today against injury-riddled Maryland in perhaps the final meeting between two charter members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Tigers (6-1, 4-1) were unbeaten before being taken apart by Florida State. Swinney is confident that the Tigers have put that behind them, because if they don’t one defeat could lead to another.
“I am proud of our team for how they have responded. Everybody is taking accountability,” Swinney said. “Our guys are eager to play again and I think that s a good sign.”
Maryland (5-2, 1-2) was also undefeated until running into Florida State, which rolled to a 63-0 victory on Oct. 5. The Terrapins rebounded to beat Virginia the following week, but their 34-10 loss at Wake Forest last Saturday represented a huge step backward for a team seeking to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.
Worse, Maryland lost its top two receivers in that game. Stefon Diggs and Deon Long each broke a leg and will sidelined for the rest of the season.
The Terrapins move to the Big Ten next year, so the 62nd game between Clemson and Maryland could be the last. The Tigers lead the series 33-26-2 and won the last two games, 56-45 and 42-10.
Tajh is tops
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd already owns the school record for yards passing with 9,992. With 74 yards on Saturday, the senior will move into second place on the ACC charts behind only Phillip Rivers. Boyd threw four touchdown passes in his last game at Maryland, and the Terrapins know they can’t win without containing him.
Second-stringer Caleb Rowe will start for Maryland ahead of C.J. Brown, who’s out with an upper-body injury. Brown received a concussion against Florida State, then missed the Virginia game before being hurt again against Wake Forest. He was replaced Rowe, who went 12 for 27 for 207 yards and a touchdown against the Demon Deacons.
The Tigers knew all about Diggs and Long. They don’t know much film on Levern Jacobs and Amba Etta-Tawo, the new starters at wide receiver for Maryland. Also, Albert Reid will start at running back for Brandon Ross, the team’s leading rusher. Combine all that with Rowe starting for Brown, and Clemson is left with an uncertain scouting report. “There are a lot of question marks as far as who is going to play where and who is going to do what,” Swinney said. “They are a bit of an unknown from a personnel standpoint. Schematically, we see who they are. But they have several key guys that we are not sure whether they will be back or not.”
Clemson has played only twice before on the road this season, defeating North Carolina State and Syracuse to extend its road winning streak to six. With a victory on Saturday, the Tigers will have its longest successful run on the road since the 1970s.
Maryland, however, is 4-0 at home – including a 37-0 rout of West Virginia in Baltimore.
“We have a chance to get our seventh straight win away from home. That would be a great accomplishment for this team and our program,” Swinney said. “It has not been done here since 1978-79.”
Maryland will welcome back six of the program’s consensus All-Americans for homecoming. The list: defensive tackle Randy White (1974), kicker Dale Castro (1979), wide receiver Gary Collins (1961), linebacker E.J. Henderson (2001-02), offensive lineman J.D. Maarleveld (1985) and quarterback Jack Scarbath (1952). “To get this number back here is really neat,” Edsall said. “This shows the history and the heritage of what we have here.”