Much riding on work of special units

Maryland-FSU matchup

October 26, 2001|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Maryland special teams vs. Florida State special teams

If both offenses are struggling in general, give the edge to Maryland because of punter Brooks Barnard (44.5-yard average), who can provide his team better field position than can Florida State's Chance Gwaltney (42.5).

If both offenses are struggling to get into the end zone, give the edge to Florida State. The confidence of Terps kicker Nick Novak is cresting, and his 51-yard attempt against Duke went off the right upright, but the game isn't horseshoes and he still has eight misses in 15 attempts. Seminoles kicker Xavier Beitia has missed only one attempt out of nine this season.

In terms of returns, Maryland has tightened up a bit since allowing Shawn Terry to run a kickoff back 100 yards in the West Virginia game. Opponents in the past three games have averaged only 17.7 yards on kickoffs, and Rich Parson has averaged 22.6 yards per return for Maryland in that time.

Among ACC teams, Florida State's kickoff coverage (22.7 yards per return) is middle of the road, but its mediocre punt coverage (8.3 average) is a major reason why its net punt average (31.4) is only better than Duke's. Craphonso Thorpe is the team's top returner, averaging 22 yards on 12 kick returns.

Maryland vs. Florida State

Who: No. 10 Maryland (7-0) vs. No. 19 Florida State (4-2)

Site: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Fla.

When: Tomorrow, 3:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 2, 7/WBAL (1090 AM)

Line: Florida State by 8

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