With a 7 p.m. kickoff fast approaching in College Park, here’s five things to keep an eye on as Maryland welcomes No. 8 Clemson to Byrd Stadium …
1. Both Danny O’Brien and C.J. Brown will play for Maryland. After a week of guessing games stoked by coach Randy Edsall‘s non-answers each and every day he spoke with the media since replacing O’Brien with Brown last Saturday at Georgia Tech, the final guess here is both sophomores see game action. Who starts? That’s a coin flip.
2. Whoever the quarterback is will make Andre Branch’s acquaintance before the night is over. The Clemson senior defensive end has 10 tackles for loss and six sacks in the first half of the season. He’s no Da’Quan Bowers (who basically lived in the Maryland backfield during last year’s meeting in Death Valley), but he’s still a strong, strong player. Tack on a sack to Branch’s season total before the night is through.
3. Sammy Watkins will get 140 yards and/or a touchdown. It’ll be curious to see just how much Maryland sells out to stop the freshman wideout. If he surpasses 140 yards, it will be the fourth time he’s done so. That would tie the Clemson career record. Maryland has its work cut out for it in dealing with No. 2.
4. Maryland will score an offensive touchdown in the first half. This hasn’t been a sure thing; the Terps have done so just three times in five games (Miami, West Virginia and Towson). Still, Maryland has to look more coherent before the break at some point than it has against Temple, Towson and Georgia Tech … right?
5. Maryland will fall to 2-4 overall and 0-3 against ranked teams. This might not be a full-fledged blowout. Something in the 10-to-14-point range for final margin seems about right. But there’s always the Clemsonliness factor to account for, and it’s anyone’s guess if and when the Tigers will lay their patented egg. Given their offensive efficiency over the last month, it would be a surprise if it happened tonight.
—- Patrick Stevens