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Early Analysis: Maryland at Florida State


C.J. Brown and Maryland look for the program's first win at Florida State. Photo: USA Today Sports

No. 25 Maryland at No. 8 Florida State

Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ESPN

Line: Florida State -15

At the beginning of the year it is unlikely anybody predicted this to be an ACC match-up of unbeatens, but here we are with 4-0 Florida State hosting 4-0 Maryland. Yes, Maryland is 4-0 and has left no doubt they have earned that perfect mark entering October. Now comes the measuring stick game for the surprising Terps as they hit the road to take on the defending ACC champs, freshman stud Jameis Winston and a top contender for this year's ACC crown once again. Can Maryland pull off an improbable upset and really start to turn some heads in the ACC, and perhaps even the Big Ten?

For Maryland to Win: Keep it going in the red zone. Maryland is the only team in the ACC with a 100 percent conversion rate inside the red zone so far this season, with 17 red zone opportunities resulting in 17 scores. However, the Terps have had to settle for eight field goals while scoring nine touchdowns once inside the 20-yard line. Florida State opponents have reached the red zone 12 times thus far and have come away with six touchdowns and three field goals. If Maryland can keep this trend going and not leave points on the board, they may be able to hang around long enough to pull an upset.

For Florida state to Win: Keep Maryland from breaking big plays. Maryland leads the ACC in plays of 10 or more yards, with 38, and they are second (behind Florida State) in plays of 20 or more yards, with 12. Big plays have been huge for Maryland early on, and if they break some against the Seminoles then Maryland will keep pressure on Florida State's defense. If the Terrapins find some cracks and expose them to sustain some drives and put points on the board, they could start sniffing an upset.

Key Player for Maryland: Senior quarterback C.J. Brown has given Maryland new life on offense this season. Not only has he thrown seven touchdowns to just one interception, but he is also second on the team in rushing with 283 yards and six touchdowns. His ability to run and pass will keep Florida State guessing, but this will be Brown's biggest challenge to date. How he handles the pressure and environment will tell a lot about his composure. If he keeps calm and plays loose, he will help Maryland's offense stay on the field.

Key Player for Florida State: By now we all know about Jameis Winston, so let's focus quickly on Rashaad Greene, one of his top targets. Greene is second on the team in receiving behind Kenny Shaw, but Greene leads the team in receiving touchdowns with five and receptions with 19. If Florida State gets in the red zone, Greene is likely to be one of the top targets.

Key Stat: Florida State is 11-0 all time against Maryland in games played in Tallahassee. Florida State has held Maryland to fewer than 20 points in six of those games and has won by an average of 26 points.

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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