Florida State is a team with some slightly skewed numbers.
That’s not to say the Seminoles aren’t good. But thanks to two demolitions of the worst the Southern Conference has to offer (it’s a superb league at the top, but boy are Western Carolina and Chattanooga bad), Florida State’s numbers are a little inflated – both on offense and defense.
Now, if Maryland had destroyed Delaware rather than squeaked out a 14-7 win, maybe this wouldn’t matter quite as much. But when you’ve played 10 games, a nice 10 percent spot that’s extremely soft can make a difference.
Of course, Eastern Michigan isn’t any good, so maybe it evens out.
Anyway, here’s the breakdown of tomorrow’s Maryland-Florida State game:
* Maryland rushing offense vs. Florida State rush defense: The Terrapins rank 57th nationally, averaging 151.7 yards; the Seminoles rank 23rd nationally while yielding 110.2 yards a game.
Ralph Friedgen is right. This will be a game in which a three-yard gain is a very good thing. Da’Rel Scott needs 142 yards to become Maryland’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2002. If he gets that, it’ll probably be his best performance of the year.
* Maryland passing offense vs. Florida State pass defense: The Terrapins rank 73rd nationally, averaging 198.0 yards; the Seminoles rank 9th nationally while yielding 164.5 yards a game.
But where does Florida State rank when it is without one of its safeties for an entire game and another for at least a half? Look for Chris Turner to wind up over 200 yards, primarily out of necessity since there’s a good chance the Terps’ rushing game will struggle.
* Florida State rushing offense vs. Maryland rush defense: The Seminoles rank 28th nationally, averaging 192.0 yards; the Terps rank 67th nationally while yielding 144.6 yards a game.
So much depends on whether the Seminoles can chew up the clock. If Maryland treats Antone Smith and his backfield buddies like Jahvid Best or the Clemson tandem, circa second half, then the Terps will be in great shape. But if Smith can muster his best Darren Evans impression, look out. Either scenario is possible.
* Florida State passing offense vs. Maryland pass defense: The Seminoles rank 77th nationally, averaging 193.0 yards; the Terps rank 76th nationally while yielding 216.4 yards a game.
Looks like it’s about a push. Of any of these four matchups, this seems like the least likely to determine tomorrow’s outcome. Of course, that means it will. By the way, take out the fourth quarter of the California game and the Terps are giving up 192.5 passing yards a game, which would rank 45th in the country.