Terps' strong secondary may miss primary player

Maryland-Florida State matchup

October 24, 2001|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Florida State passing game vs. Maryland pass defense

Both sides of this equation have seen a little uncertainty recently. For Florida State, it's what coach Bobby Bowden might do with the quarterback situation, while Maryland may have to do without its best pass defender, Tony Okanlawon.

At quarterback, Chris Rix has had an uneven year, completing 76 percent of his passes and throwing three touchdowns against Wake Forest, then throwing four interceptions and getting sacked six times against Miami. That has Bowden looking hard at Adrian McPherson, who has looked strong in the past two games.

Both can run and throw, but both are also young and are playing behind a relatively young offensive line. The combination accounts for the 20 sacks Florida State has given up. Maryland's defense, which is averaging roughly three sacks a game, needs to continue the trend of applying pressure while leaving its secondary to make big plays.

But while Tony Jackson and Randall Jones have had solid years at both safety spots, losing Okanlawon on the corner - after a concussion against Duke on Saturday - would be a major blow. Efforts similar to his against Virginia's Billy McMullen and Georgia Tech's Kelly Campbell will be necessary against Florida State's Javon Walker (22 catches for 481 yards).

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