Maryland-Clemson preview: Can the Terps pull off the miracle?

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The hobbled Terps will need one in College Park Saturday afternoon.

After a discouraging loss to Wake Forest and an even further discouraging litany of injuries befalling the team, Maryland hosts Clemson in what could be a blowout homecoming loss.

Let's run the matchup down, unit by unit.

Maryland offensive line vs. Clemson defensive line:

Maryland's offensive line is unremittingly awful, especially on the right side. The Terps were unable to contain Nikita Whitlock, even when putting three lineman on the undersized Demon Deacon tackle.

Clemson, meanwhile, has competent Division 1 defensive lineman, so they take the advantage here. Namely, Vic Beasley (nine sacks) and Shaq Lawson (six-and-a-half tackles for a loss).

Advantage: Clemson.

Maryland defensive line vs. Clemson offensive line:

Seemingly the only unit not ravaged by injuries this week, the Terrapin front unit of Keith Bowers, Quinton Jefferson, Darius Kilgo (and Andre Monroe) will go up against a Clemson O-Line that struggled against Florida State's pass rush. The Tigers are giving up more than two sacks per game and nearly seven tackles for a loss per game.

Advantage: Push.

Maryland rushing offense vs. Clemson front seven:

Of Maryland's four major rushing contributors, two -- Brandon Ross and C.J. Brown -- will miss the game with an injury. Those are also Maryland's two biggest parts of their running game, but Albert Reid and Jacquille Veii have looked good this year and will get their time to shine.

The Tigers are giving up 3.8 yards per rush, and have not had a very good rushing defense. Stephone Anthony leads the linebacking corps with nine tackles for a loss, and Spencer Shuey is a solid contributor as well.

Advantage: Clemson.

Maryland front seven vs. Clemson rushing offense:

Maryland is without Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil and L.A. Goree, but return Matt Robinson and Alex Twine, which should help immensely.

The Tigers are only averaging 3.9 yards per carry, but have two very solid runners in Roderick McDowell and Zac Brooks, each at five yards per attempt. Clemson running backs have only scored seven touchdowns on the ground this year, as most of their offense, naturally, goes through Tajh Boyd.

Advantage: Clemson.

Maryland receivers vs. Clemson secondary:

Clemson has two different players with three interceptions this year. Maryland will likely start three players who were not supposed to be starters this year.

Advantage: Clemson.

Maryland secondary vs. Clemson receivers:

Sean Davis is the only secondary starter who was supposed to start in the secondary this year for Maryland, and you can bet your bottom dollar you'll be seeing a whole lot of Sammy Watkins on Saturday.

Advantage: Clemson.

Maryland quarterback vs. Clemson quarterback:

Caleb Rowe can sling it, but he's nowhere near the level of Tajh Boyd, one of the best quarterbacks in the country who has an absolute cannon.

Advantage: Clemson.

Maryland special teams vs. Clemson special teams:

Both teams have solid kicking units but haven't had explosive return play.

Advantage: Push.

Overall impressions and final tally

Clemson, 6-0-2.

This game would look very, very different if Maryland was not missing eight starters and plenty more contributors. As it stands, everything is adding up to a blowout.

Our prediction: Clemson 38, Maryland 13.

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