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    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Head To Head Matchup: Receivers

    Maryland's receiving corps is led by 6-3/206 pound junior WR Darrius Heyward-Bey. Heyward-Bey is the Terps’ deep threat. and has a team-high 35 catches and averages 15.4 yards per reception. For the season, he has 539 yards and 5 TDs. He also has rushed for almost 200 yards and 1 TD. He ranks #7 in the ACC in reception yards. He is having a good year but is off from 2007 when he caught 51 passes for 786 yards and 3 TDs.

    Heyward-Bey has served as a catalyst for the Maryland offense all season, and he continued to produce in the Terps' win last Saturday against North Carolina. He recorded five receptions for 43 yards and also rushed twice for five yards. With his 13-yard reception during the third quarter, Heyward-Bey became the third Maryland player to surpass 2,000 career receiving yards.

    Heyward-Bey is also on the watch list for the Maxwell and Biletnikoff Awards, currently leads the team and ranks seventh in the ACC in receiving yards (53.9 ypg). He also leads the team in receptions, is tied for the team lead with six touchdowns and stands third in all-purpose yards (73.6 ypg).

    On 12 rushing attempts, he has totaled a career-high 197 yards (16.4 ypc), which is the third-most rushing yards on the team, and places him among the top wide receivers in the nation (FBS) in rushing.

    The Nole defense will need to watch him on reverses. Following his 76-yard scamper on a reverse at Clemson to set up a score, Heyward-Bey now has three plays of more than 75 yards in his Terrapins career. He also notched an 80-yard TD catch earlier this season vs. MTSU (9/6) and had a team-record 96-yard TD reception against Miami during the 2006 season.

    He also has caught at least one pass in 32 of the last 35 contests dating back to the 2006 season. The third quarter seems to be the best quarter for Heyward-Bey in that he has scored 3 of his 5 TDs there. FSU corner Patrick Robinson says that Heyward-Bey is "... one of the fastest players I ever played against."

    The second leading receiver for the Terps is 6-6/255 pound tight end Dan Gronkowski. The senior has 25 catches for 241 yards and 3 TDs. His biggest game of the season was against Wake Forest when he caught 6 passes for 52 yards. Thid in receptions is wide receiver Danny Oquendo with 19 catches, 253 yards, and 1 TD. He is averaging 13.3 yards a catch.

    Look for the Terrapins to try and exploit a secondary that will have several changes for the game due to free safety Darius McClure who is out for the game as well as Myron Rolle who will be out for a portion of the game due to the Rhodes Scholars interview. The Terrapins rank #4 in the ACC in passing offense averaging 198 yards a game and scoring 11 TDs through the air.

    Defensive matchup: The Terps will be facing a Nole defense that is ranked #2 in the ACC in pass defense allowing almost 165 yards a game and giving up 11 TDs through the air. The Noles also have 7 interceptions which puts them next to last in the ACC. However, the Noles have 5 picks out of 7 on the road. In addition, all but one of their picks is against conference foes.

    In passes defended, the Noles are #2. Defensive back Korey Mangum has 7 passes broken up while defensive back Myron Rolle has 5 break ups. Opponents are only completing 50.5 % of their passes against the Noles.

    The Nole secondary is probably the one area on defense that has been questionable all season and this week may be even more of a question mark. With Darius McClure out and Myron Rolle also out for a good part of the game, the secondary will be a concern.

    It is expected that junior Jamie Robinson will fill in at safety for Myron Rolle. Robinson has played in all 10 games and started three. For the season, he has 26 tackles and 1 interception. Also, Kenny Ingram who has been playing at linebacker this season has moved to safety this week in order to help bolster FSU's secondary.

    For the Noles, the reception yards leader is still Greg Carr with 26 catches for 420 yards and 3 TDs. Against Boston College,Carr had 2 catches for 40 yards and a TD. On the season, he is averaging 16.2 yards a catch. Almost half of his catches this season have been for 15 yards or more.

    Preston Parker continues to improve and was the go to guy for Christian Ponder with 6 catches for 53 yards in the BC game. In the last three games, he has had at least 5 catches in each of those games. He is now the reception leader with 30 catches on the year. Parker has 292 yards and 1 TD. He is averaging almost 10 yards a catch and also has rushed for 87 yards on 10 attempts.

    As of this posting, it is unclear whether FSU's five receivers who were suspended for the BC game will be back for Maryland. As Bobby Bowden has stated, if it is up to him, they will play.

    Of those, suspended freshman wide receiver Taiwan Easterling has probably been the most impressive. Easterling has 26 catches for 286 yards and 1 TD.

    And you can't forget Bert Reed with 226 yards and 3 TDs. Also, Corey Surrency in his last game prior to his suspension had two catches for 52 yards and a TD against Clemson. He is the TD reception leader with 4 TDs on the season.

    If the suspended receivers are not back for the Maryland game, expect to see wide receivers Rod Owens Jarmon Forston, and Lewis Givens in the game. Of those three, Rod Owens has been the most productive with 13 catches for 159 yards and averages almost 16 yards a carry.

    The Noles are ranked #7 in the ACC in passing offense averaging almost 193 yards a game and throwing 15 TDs through the air. Carr is ranked #12 in the ACC in reception yards and is averaging almost 3 catches a game.

    Defensive matchup: The Noles will be facing a Maryland defense that is ranked next to last in the ACC allowing 216 yards a game and giving up 13 TDs through the air which is the third highest in the ACC.The Terps' opponents are completing over 61% of their passes. It looks on paper that FSU might be able to expoit a Maryland secondary. However if the Noles are missing key receivers, that will probably diminish that edge.

    In passes defended, Maryland is ranked #5 with 46 passes defended. The secondary is without its leader, senior Kevin Barnes who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury vs. Wake Forest in October.

    Picking up the slack in the secondary are senior Jeff Allen (55 tackles) and junior Jamari McCollough (team-best four picks). McCollough is ranked #15 in the ACC in passes defended. The Terrapins have 8 interceptions which is the third lowest in the ACC. All but one of their interceptions have been at home. Jamari McCollough is also ranked #5 in the ACC with the 4 interceptions.

    Quick Stats: For the season, Maryland has 7 players who have double digit receptions. The Terps have 17 players who have at least one catch for the year.

    For the Noles, there are six players who have double digit receptions for the season. FSU has 17 players with at least one catch.

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