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No. 8 Clemson can’t lose focus against Maryland
Controlling the ball will also help keep it away from Clemson. Maryland limited Georgia Tech to a season-low 386 yards last behind a 20-tackle performance by lineman Joe Vellano. But success against the Yellow Jackets’ triple-option does not necessarily mean the Terps can handle the Tigers’ more versatile attack.
“They run more of a prostyle up front,” Vellano said. “They’re going to hit you and pound the ball at you. There’s no doubt they can put up points. They have a lot of athletes over there and they have a big offensive line. It’s more what we’re used to every week; we kind of have to go back to our mentality and the way we play, so I think that’s a positive.”
The Terps will have a tough time chasing down quarterback Tajh Boyd, who hurt his hip on the first series of the third quarter last week but is expected to start Saturday. Boyd leads the ACC in total offense, averaging 310.3 yards per game, and has tossed 15 touchdown passes compared to only two interceptions.
“The thing that impresses me the most is that he can throw the ball,” Maryland defensive tackle A.J. Francis said. “There are a lot of guys that run as well as he does, that can’t throw it as well as he does, and he can really throw the ball. He reminds me of like a bigger version of (former North Carolina State quarterback) Russell Wilson in that aspect. I played against Russell for two years, and he was definitely tough to handle. So I know we have to be ready to play this week with a guy of that capability.”
It’s homecoming for the Terrapins, which is a bit of a surprise considering that most schools usually schedule lesser opponents for the occasion. But Vellano likes the idea of playing unbeaten Clemson under the lights.
“There are going to be a lot of people at this game” he said, “and nothing would be better than pulling off an upset.”
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