Maryland Survives Late Rally, Defeat Duke 21-16
College Park, Md. – Maryland struggled all day with Duke, but early in the fourth quarter looked like they were primed to pull away. It took a miracle fourth-and-19 to even put Duke back in the game. After that, Maryland struggled to put away Duke and finally ended the Blue Devils hope on a fourth-and-15 play with 1:55 remaining.
The Terps played a first quarter to forget. I’m pretty sure everyone would like too. Maryland ran 15 plays for a total of 52 yards in the first quarter and fell behind 3-0 on a Will Snyderwine field goal. Snyderwine added two more, and looked like he would and a fourth. Sean Renfree threw an interception on third and long that was picked off by Antwine Perez in the end zone giving the Terps the ball back with just over four minutes to play.
The Terps marched down the field, highlighted by a 44-yard strike to Torrey Smith. The drive was also aided by a rushing the passer penalty on a third-and-11 call. Four plays later Davin Meggett would dive into the end zone from three yards out to make it 9-7 heading in to halftime.
The second half opened with a stalled Duke drive. On the ensuing punt Tony Logan made magic happen. He said after the game “I didn’t think I’d go anywhere, but then I broke a couple of arm tackles and I was gone”. Logan was assessed a 15-yard penalty on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct after he threw the ball into the Gossett Team House. Friedgen said “At that point, I wouldn’t have cared if he knocked the building down”. Friedgen did say that he talked to Logan about the penalty and it being selfish.
Maryland’s defense stepped up from there as Defensive Coordinator released Safety Kenny Tate to blitz. Tate had 1.5 sacks and a fumble, and could have had 3 more. Friedgen after the game said “[Kenny] Tate was the best I’ve ever seen him in a game tonight, he always plays that way in practice”. The constant pressure forced Renfree into another interception – by Adrian Moten – and more than a few incomplete passes.
Maryland added to their lead when Danny O’Brien dumped the ball off to Da’Rel Scott on a third-and-7. Scott made two defenders miss, and then he was off to the races as he scampered 71 yards for a touchdown.
Duke would respond with a 10-play, 84-yard drive filled with controversy. The end result was a touchdown though. Maryland could kill the clock on their next possession and gave Duke just over 4 minutes to win the game. It took a late stop from Antwine Perez on a fourth-and-15 to end all hope for Duke.
So what do Maryland fans take from a close win, at home over an opponent they were a double-digit favorite over? Friedgen said “We would have lost this game last year”. So there’s that. He also added “When you lose, you think you are going to make mistakes. Now we are learning how to win”.
The offense didn’t have it’s best game, only finishing with 294 yards of offense. But the team as a whole made big plays when they needed them. Maryland’s defense also stepped up, forcing two turnovers and stepping up in the red zone. If Duke gets a touchdown on any of those drives that ended in field goals, Maryland loses this game.
The defense did give up a lot of yards. 399 to be exact. However, they aren’t allowing touchdowns. It will be interesting to see if the defense can continue to limit touchdowns. They have been on the field an awful lot so far this year. Friedgen decided to on fourth downs twice to help the defense out and give them a rest.
Maryland has a bye week next week, and even coach Friedgen had to admit he was happy to see the bye. “Our big thing this week is to get well” said Friedgen. The Terps have suffered a lot of injuries this year, and they piled up this week. LB Adrian Moten was getting an x-ray tonight. TE Dave Stinebaugh hurt his knee. Friedgen also acknowledged that WR Torrey Smith and LG Andrew Gonnella didn’t practice at all this week, and still started.
As for the QB situation, Jamarr Robinson didn’t practice until Thursday and could have played if Danny O’Brien went down. As far as what to expect going forward, “We’ll still play both QB’s. I’m happy with Danny, but it’s two games. Let’s let him mature”. So, nothing is settled, essentially.
Maryland’s next game is October 16th at Clemson. No time has been set yet for that game.