Scouting Maryland: how the Tigers win
1. Flush-and-focus: Being well-focused and ready to execute at a high level has rarely been a problem for the Tigers over the past two seasons, but their trip to Maryland will test human nature - especially coming off their stumble against FSU. Dabo Swinney is telling his team to "flush it" and move on to Maryland, Clemson's next "biggest game of the season." If the Tigers listen up and play that way, they should have enough firepower to offset Maryland's considerable assets.
2. Make the Terps work: When Maryland has been at its best this season, the Terps have repeatedly stung the opposition with big offensive plays. In their 27-26 victory over Virginia, they had seven plays of 30 yards or more, and they've had at least one in every game this season. Without leading receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, Maryland's big-play ability will be diminished, and Clemson's ability to limit the Terps' chunk plays will help set the tone for an overall winning defensive performance.
3. Protect: Much like Boston College, the Terps like to send pass rushers from all-angles. Entering the Wake Forest game they ranked 12th nationally in sacks with 18. Nearly half of those sacks have come from the linebacking tandem of Marcus Whitfield and Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil. Florida State got pressure on Tajh Boyd without blitzing, but the Terps are not the Seminoles. If the Tigers' running backs and tight ends are up to the task in pass protection, Boyd should be able to reconnect with his own playmakers.
4. Jump on top: Clemson can turn the game in its favor with a couple of early scores, in the process denying Maryland the fast start that was a key to the Terps' success in the first half of the season. Maryland went into the Wake Forest game having outscored its opponents 128-60 in the first half, including 77-34 in the second quarter.