The Washington Times - September 12, 2008, 11:05AM

There should probably be some form of parental warning on these numbers.

Maybe even a PG-13 rating.


They’re not pretty. And they don’t bode well for Maryland.

Nevertheless, they’re the numbers both the Terrapins and California have produced in the first two weeks of the season. California has looked good and earned a No. 23 ranking. Maryland, well, it needs to achieve adequacy before it can begin its march toward being good.

A lot of folks around the Gossett team house think things can be different tomorrow. But it’s pretty understandable why anyone who isn’t accountable to program CEO/coach Ralph Friedgen wouldn’t be nearly as optimistic.

So here are the numbers:

Maryland run offense vs. California run defense
Maryland ranks 27th in the country at 208.5 yards a game. California is tied for 20th nationally while yielding 69.0 yards a game

The teams will probably meet somewhere in the middle, and a strong rushing attack is really Maryland’s best hope to actually eat up some clock and not let the Golden Bears pile up the points. Here’s guessing the Terps will do reasonably well, but not come close to 200 yards.

Maryland pass offense vs. California pass defense
Maryland ranks 88th in the country with 168.5 yards a game. California ranks 69th nationally while yielding 215.5 yards a game.

This number is a bit skewed for the Golden Bears because Washington State had no choice but to throw last week. Cal could be in for a better pass defense day unless it finds itself in another blowout; then there’s a good chance for garbage-time stats for the Terps.

California run offense vs. Maryland run defense
California ranks sixth in the country with 297.0 yards a game. Maryland ranks 59th nationally while yielding 119.5 yards a game.

This very easily is where the game could be won or lost. Combine Cal’s potent rushing attack with Maryland’s recent history of being vulnerable to slippery backs, and the road to ruin for the Terps is pretty clear. If the Golden Bears establish the run as easily as they did last week —- running for an 80-yard score on the first play —- things could get ugly.

California pass offense vs. Maryland pass defense
California ranks 77th in the country with 177.0 yards a game. Maryland ranks 58th nationally while yielding 206.0 yards a game.

The Terps were dinked-and-dunked to death last week at Middle Tennessee, and did not respond favorably to an opponent utilizing a no-huddle offense. If Cal struggles in the running game, perhaps it will turn to a hurry-up approach to confound the Terps.

BONUS STAT: California pass protection vs. Maryland pass rush
California is tied for 15th in the country while yielding 0.5 sacks a game. Maryland is tied for 115th nationally while generating no sacks in its first two games.

An effective offensive line against a front seven that has come close to a quarterback only a couple times. Granted, the Terps have faced teams eager to get the ball out of the pocket. But this isn’t the most welcome number to look at for Maryland.

OVERALL ANALYSIS: There aren’t any obvious advantages in place for the Terps, though there are a few places where it appears they can and perhaps should be competitive. So much of this goes back to slowing down the Golden Bears’ great strength (Cal’s run offense) and fortifying Maryland’s most obvious weakness (its passing attack). Both of those problems must be addressed.

The official fearless forecast calls for a closer game than the point spread indicates. Maryland can’t play much worse than it did last week, and there’s a sense that it would have been nice to play this game a couple days ago. Toss in California’s long trip, and the chances for a full-fledged rout diminish a bit.

Still, the Golden Bears looked superb the last couple weeks, and leaving Byrd Stadium with a 27-21 victory would make for a worthwhile cross-country trek for Cal.

—- Patrick Stevens