Maryland (2-9, 1-6 ACC) @ NC State (6-5, 3-4 ACC)
Saturday November 26, 2011 – 12:30 p.m. – ACC Network
Carter-Finley Stadium - Raleigh, North Carolina
- ALL-TIME RECORD: 32-31-4 (Maryland)
- RECENT RECORD: Maryland has won 8 of the last 11 games in the series, with 10 of the last 11 games being decided by 10 points or less.
- RECORD IN RALEIGH: 17-15-1 (NC State)
- LAST MATCHUP: Maryland defeated NC State 38-31
What To Watch For:
- CHASING HISTORY: NC State sophomore David Amerson needs just one more interception to have the most interceptions in a season in ACC history. Amerson, who already has 11 interceptions on the year, also needs one more interception to be the first player in the FBS since 1982 to average at least one interception per game over a season. If Amerson does get his 12th interception of the season Saturday, he will also have more interceptions than any player in the FBS since 1991. Currently, Amerson has four more interceptions than any other player in the FBS and more interceptions than 82 FBS TEAMS.
- Turnover Battle: NC State’s defense is ranked first in the ACC in turnovers, while Maryland’s defense ranks 2nd. The Pack also leads the ACC, and nation, in interceptions, while the Terps lead the ACC in fumble recoveries. The team that wins the turnover battle will almost certainly win the game.
- Maryland’s O-Line vs. NC State’s D-Line: In it’s last 73 pass attempts Maryland’s offensive line has not given up a single quarterback sack. NC State’s defensive line on the other hand, has racked up 12 sacks over their last 3 games. Maryland doesn’t have a senior on their offensive line, so look for State to try to mix up their blitz packages in hopes of confusing the Terps.
Keys To The Game For State:
- Strike Quickly: On Tuesday, Maryland coach Randy Edsall announced that two players, Ronnie Tyler and David Mackall, would not be playing Saturday due to suspensions. That announcement led many Maryland players to take their frustrations out on Twitter. This type of division amongst the team and staff could be a huge advantage for the Pack. State needs to come out early and strike quickly in order to take advantage of a Maryland team already angry with their coaches. The Pack has not scored very often in the first quarter this season, but Saturday it will be a must for the Pack to not only take a lead on the field, but to also win the physiological battle with the Terps.
- Contain CJ Brown: After Maryland’s starting QB Danny O’Brien broke his arm against Notre Dame, CJ Brown took over at QB for the Terps. In four starts since taking over for O’Brien, Brown has rushed for over 100 yards twice, and has already set the single season rushing record for a QB at Maryland with 497 yards. CJ Brown also leads all FBS QB’s with 7.7 yards per carry. NC State’s defense must keep Brown in the pocket and force him to throw the ball, in order to win this game. If Brown can get outside the pocket and make plays with his legs, it may be a long day for State’s defense.
- Protect The Football: As is the case with most every game, NC State will need limit turnovers in order to win. That is easier said than done against Maryland this season. The Terps have forced 23 turnovers this season, and have had at least one interception in 8 of their last 11 games. State’s skill position players must protect the football and play smart if they want to get the win.
- Slow Down Vellano: Maryland defensive lineman Joe Vellano currently leads all FBS defensive linemen in tackles per game, averaging 7.8 a contest. Vellano has recorded double digit tackles in 4 of the Terps last 7 games, including a season-high 20 against Georgia Tech. The junior will present a great test for the Pack’s offensive line. State will have a hard time getting anything going offensively, if it can not slow down Vellano.
- Defense: In it’s last three games, NC State’s defense has played as good as any defense in the country, allowing only 9 PPG and three touchdowns. Currently, the Wolfpack defense ranks second in the ACC, during league play, in total defense and rushing defense. The Pack will again need this type of defensive effort Saturday. The defense will also need to force plenty of turnovers, as State is 6-0 when forcing 3 or more turnovers, and 0-5 when forcing 2 or less.
- Mike Glennon: It has been an up and down year for Mike Glennon but State’s junior quarterback had possibly his best game against Clemson a week ago, passing for 253 yards and 3 touchdowns with zero interceptions. Glennon will need to continue his current level of play, and must limit mistakes against an opportunistic Maryland defense, for the Pack to be successful.
The Bottom Line: The Pack need just one more victory to become eligible for a bowl game. Maryland has historically been a tough opponent and spoiler for State. Last season, Maryland’s 38-31 victory over State, in the last game of the season, kept the Pack out of the ACC championship game. Also, in 2006, Maryland defeated the Pack 37-0, keeping Tom O’Brien’s first Wolfpack team out of a bowl game that season. This year however, Maryland has struggled, dropping seven games in a row. With a bowl on the line, and what seems to be division amongst the Terps, NC State should be able to take care of business and get an invitation to it’s 3rd bowl game in 4 seasons.
Prediction: NC State 24, Maryland 10