Thursday, December 27, 2007

Emerald Bowl Preview

Emerald Bowl San Francisco

Maryland vs. Oregon State
Dec. 28, 8 p.m. ESPN
Line: OSU -5, 48

Oregon State (8-4, 6-3)
The Beavers are hot coming into this game having won 6 of their past 7 games. They finished 3rd in the Pac 10. Their best win was a 31-28 defeat of then #2 Cal. Their worst loss was was 40-14 drubbing at home against UCLA.
Record vs Bowl Teams: 3-4
Record vs BCS Top 25: 0-2
Schedule Strength: 21st

Maryland (6-6, 3-5)
The Terps come limping into this game, litterally with many injured players, but they also won just 2 of their final 6 games over the 2nd half of the year. The Terps beat 2 top 10 teams during the year (Rutgers, BC) and only Illinois and LSU did that. Maryland's best win was 42-35 over Boston College. Their worst loss was at North Carolina 16-13.
Record vs Bowl Teams: 3-5
Record vs BCS Top 25: 1-3
Schedule Strength: 27th (Tie)

Maryland Offense:
The Terps are led by running backs Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball. The two have combined for over 1500 yards and 25 TDs during the regular season. Lattimore is the inside runner and Ball is the speed back on the outside. The rushing attack was very up and down this season though being held to under 100 yards in 5 games - the Terps lost 4 of those. QB Chris Turner will look to the speedy WR Darius Heyward-Bey to move the ball through the air, but other than that Maryland is weak in the passsing game ranking last in the nation with just 7 TD passes.

Maryland Defense:
The buck (or beaver) stops in the middle with LB Erin Henderson. The brother of NFLer EJ Henderson is sideline to sideline tackler who will have his eye one the OSU running backs all game. Other than that, the defense for the Terps is very ordinary and inconsistent.

Oregon State Offense:
The Beaver offense is led by tailback Yvenson Bernard who ran for over 1000 yards despite missing two games and being injured for others. He was needed because OSU didn't do much through the air except throw the ball to the other team (20 INT on the year).

Oregon State Defense:
The Beavers are very tough against the run yielding just 75 ypg on the ground. The Beaver defense is not nearly as successful against the pass partly due to playing in the Pac 10. This is a go for broke unit that will stop the run and get after the QB - they have 42 sacks on the year.

Motivation:
Oregon State finished the season red hot with a win over rival Oregon. The 3rd place team in the Pac 10 did not envision a baseball field for its bowl game. Maryland destroyed NC State to get into this bowl after a tumultous season filled with injuries. I think Maryland is just happy to be here while Oregon State may be sulking some.

Prediction:
If you give Ralph Friedgen a month to prepare, he will come up with schemes to put points on the board. Maryland has won their last 3 bowl games by a combined 95-17. Oregon State overwhelmingly has the talent advantage in this game though. I think Friedgen's offense can keep it close, but the Beavers have too much in the end.

Oregon St 28 Maryland 24
OSU Wins, Maryland Covers, Over

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