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FSU ready for shootout with Maryland

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is sure about one thing heading into today's game against Maryland: There should be plenty of points scored.

The Terrapins put up 45 points in a loss to unbeaten Clemson last Saturday, while Florida State tallied 41 to end a three-game losing streak with a win at Duke.

Maryland (2-4, 1-2 ACC) comes to Tallahassee as an 18-point underdog, but with a new starter at quarterback who is a dangerous runner and capable passer.

Redshirt sophomore C.J. Brown ran for 162 yards and threw three touchdown passes in the 56-45 loss to No. 8 Clemson. He ran for 124 yards after taking over for Danny O'Brien, last year's ACC Rookie of the Year, the week before. Brown became the first player in the ACC to pass and run for over 150 yards in 10 years with his performance against Clemson.

"When that guy is making plays, he's scary," Fisher said. "He's given them a spark."

The 6-3, 200-pound Brown presents the same kind of threat that Seminole defenders failed to control in ACC losses to Clemson and Wake Forest.

"That's something we need to improve on," Florida State safety Lamarcus Joyner said. "This is another big test."

Joyner noted that the Seminoles (3-3, 1-2 ACC) didn't do well against Clemson's Tajh Boyd or Wake Forest's Tanner Price, both of whom have a knack for staying out of trouble while locating their receivers.

"When you've got mobile quarterbacks who can make magic with their feet and throw the ball down the field, you have to be prepared for that," Joyner said. "It's very tough."

And FSU's defense has been vulnerable in its first three conference games, giving up just under 30 points a game.

Boyd threw for 344 yards and three TD's in Clemson's win, while Price passed for 233 yards and three touchdowns a week later. Neither was intercepted.

While Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops works on resolving the Seminoles' problems, Maryland's defensive woes are far greater. The Terrapins porous defense is allowing 443 yards and almost 34 points a game in ACC play -- including 39 in the second half to Clemson.

And now they catch Florida State with quarterback EJ Manuel healthy and the Seminoles' offensive line seemingly coming together.

"There's no rest for the weary," said Maryland coach Randy Edsall, noting the Terps' last two games against the explosive offenses of Georgia Tech and Clemson.

Florida State, which hasn't beaten a team with a winning record yet this season, hopes to climb above the .500 mark with a victory and keep its record perfect at home against Maryland. The Terps have never won at Doak Campbell Stadium in 10 previous visits.

The Seminoles will be at home for the first time since their 23-13 loss to third-ranked Oklahoma on Sept. 17.

Oddsmakers have established the over-under at 55 points, indicating the bettors are looking for a fairly wide-open affair today.

Fisher chuckled when asked if he was expecting a shootout.

"We just need to play a good football game and score more points than they do whether it's 7-3 or 3-0 or whatever," Fisher said. "We need to play a good defensive game."