2007 Emerald Bowl - Maryland vs. Oregon State
Maryland LB Erin Henderson
Maryland LB Erin Henderson
Posted Dec 20, 2007

In a big day of bowl games, the curtain closes with Erin Henderson and Maryland taking on Oregon State in the 2007 Emerald Bowl. Can the Pac 10 finally show up this bowl season? Can Maryland continue to be a top bowl team under Ralph Friedgen? There should be plenty of offense in one of the more intriguing December matchups.

Maryland (6-6) vs. Oregon State (8-4)

Dec. 28, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

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National Rankings
Oregon State Maryland
Total Offense
77th  370.67 ypg 88th  350.58 ypg
Total Defense
12th  313 ypg 42nd  355.92 ypg
Scoring Offense
56th  28.42 ppg 77th  24.92 ppg
Scoring Defense
35th  23.33 ppg 28th  21.58 ppg
Run Offense
43rd  166.58 ypg 65th  147.33 ypg
Run Defense
  2nd  74.92 ypg 45th  136.67 ypg
Pass Offense
76th  204.08 ypg 78th  203.25 ypg
Pass Defense
75th  238.08 ypg 47th  219.25 ypg
Turnover Margin
47th  0.08 24th  0.58
Oregon State
Utah W 24-7
at Cincinnati L 34-3
Idaho State W 61-10
at Ariz St L 44-32
UCLA L 40-14
Arizona W 31-16
at California W 31-28
tanford W 23-6
at USC L 24-3
Washington W 29-23
at Wash St W 52-17
at Oreg W 38-31 OT
Villanova W 31-14
at FIU W 26-10
West Va L 31-14
at Wake For L 31-24 OT
at Rutgers W 34-24
Ga Tech W 28-26
L 18-17
L 30-17
at N Car.
L 16-13
Boston Coll W 42-35
at Florida St L 24-16
at NC State W 37-0
Position Ratings
relative to each other
OSU 5 highest
1 lowest
3 Quarterbacks 3
4 RBs 4
3 Receivers 3.5
4 O Line 3.5
4.5 D Line 3.5
4 Linebackers 4
3.5 Secondary 3.5
3 Spec Teams 3
3.5 Coaching 4

Maryland and Oregon State have combined for ten losses, lack any national star power, and sport vanilla offenses.  This is for hardcore college football fans, but it could be more entertaining than the rest of the sports world will give it credit for.

Although both schools endured plenty of debilitating injuries throughout the season, Oregon State survived rather nicely, finishing on a 6-1 roll that propelled the program into third place of the Pac-10 behind USC and Arizona State.  The only reason that the higher-profile Sun Bowl selected Oregon over the Beavers was that it didn’t want the same team in El Paso two years in a row. 

Even when OSU was without starting QB Sean Canfield and star RB Yvenson Bernard for extended periods of time, it flourished on the strength of a veteran defense that generated pressure into the backfield on a consistent basis as well anyone in the country.  Bernard had minor knee surgery in November and Canfield injured his throwing shoulder, but both are hoping to be in the lineup at the end of the month.        

The heart of that stingy Beaver defense lies on the front seven, which is crammed with upperclassmen who can get after the quarterback and create turnovers.  Derrick Doggett leads a trio of linebackers that filled out the All-Pac-10 second team, and ends Victor Butler, Slade Norris, and Victor Butler all have at least six sacks.  If Maryland hopes to finish the year over .500, it’ll have to find a way to win a few battles at the line of scrimmage.

At 4-2, the Terrapins were attracting attention as a possible sleeper candidate to win the ACC championship.  That was before the casualties mounted, and the wheels came off of a program that had trouble winning close games.  Still, with a postseason berth at stake, Maryland showed up in the regular season finale, ambushing NC State, 37-0, in Raleigh.  The Terps have had a habit of playing well when it’s least expected under Ralph Friedgen, and only lost two games, West Virginia and Clemson, all year by more than eight points.    

Faced with uncertainty at quarterback, Maryland will lean heavily on Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball, one of the more underrated backfield tandems in the nation.  Seniors that shared the workload this fall, they combined for 1,552 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns, better numbers than Clemson’s heralded duo of James Davis and C.J. Spiller.  Few backs have had much success against Oregon State’s No. 2 run defense.  The Terps are counting on the potent one-two punch of Lattimore and Ball to buck the 2007 trend.  

Players to watch: Can an offensive lineman have a profound impact on a team’s fortunes?  One as talented as Maryland OG Andrew Crummey certainly can.  An All-America candidate before the season began, he’s one of those embattled Terps that missed significant time this season with a broken leg.  However, he worked his way back for the NC State game, which, not coincidentally, was one of Maryland’s most complete offensive games of 2007.  Crummey’s presence and senior leadership will be huge against the Oregon State front. 

The star of the Maryland defense is LB Erin Henderson, who leads the ACC with 122 tackles, and is weighing whether or not to return for his senior year or test NFL waters.  An instinctive defender that really brings the payload, he’ll get plenty of chances for double-digit stops versus the run-first Beavers.   

There’s no doubt Oregon State would like to have Bernard, its leading rusher, back at 100%, but if he’s not ready to go at full tilt, head coach Mike Riley is confident giving the ball to Matt Sieverson, a fullback in a tailback’s role.  In the Beavers’ Dec. 1 overtime win against Oregon, he bailed out the offense, rushing for 142 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. 

The return of OG Jeremy Perry for the Civil War, after being banged up late in the year, gave the Oregon State running game a boost that rivaled Crummey’s in College Park.  Throughout his career in Corvallis, Doggett has made it a happen to be everywhere for the Beaver D.  Whether filling lanes on running plays or dropping back into coverage, he’s a playmaker that’s going to be a nuisance for young Maryland QB Chris Turner.                      

Maryland will win if... it gets the running game cranking, like it did in upsets of Rutgers and Boston College.  Turner is not going to beat Oregon State single-handedly, meaning it’s up to Lattimore and Ball to control the clock, move the chains, and punch the ball into the end zone when the Terps get deep into Beaver territory.  In play-action, Turner has grown enough over the last eight games to make the occasional big hook-up with sophomore WR Darrius Heyward-Bey.  On third and long, however, the seasoned Oregon State defense will pin its ears back, and make Turner look like he’s a rookie.              

Oregon State will win if... continues playing mistake-free football.  The Beavers’ fortunes began to turn when they stopped throwing five and six interceptions a game.  Remember, this is the same program that threw 17 interceptions during a rocky first-half start, and just three picks over the torrid, six-game stretch run.  Whether it’s Canfield or Lyle Moevao dropping back, the Oregon State quarterbacks must be careful throwing the ball into the teeth of one of the most athletic defenses they’ll face this season.   

What will happen: Winning bowl games is beginning to become a habit for Friedgen, who beat Tennessee in 2002, West Virginia in 2003, and Purdue in 2006 by an average margin of 26 points, while yielding a total of only 17 points.  With time to prepare, few coaches in America are better at exploiting weaknesses and developing a winning gameplan, the edge Maryland needs in a game it probably shouldn’t win.  The Terps will get a great effort from the speedy defense, icing the game on the ground with Ball and Lattimore.       

Oregon State -4.5 ... CFN Prediction: Maryland 27 ... Oregon State 20

2007 Emerald Bowl History, Each Team's Best Bowl Moments, & More