College Park, Md. – The Terps fell at home in a crushing defeat that ended their hopes at an ACC Championship. Tonight’s game was an elimination game in the ACC Atlantic, and the Terps fell to 4-3 in conference. The game was much closer than the final score would indicate, as Florida State returned an interception 96-yards for a Touchdown in the closing seconds.
The Terps played a good game by all accounts. They outgained the Seminoles and had more time of possession. They just couldn’t put the ball in the end zone. Field goals were not going to win this game, and unfortunately the Terps fell short when it mattered most.
The loss is a bitter pill to swallow for the Terps. They were within reach to tie, or win and saw their BCS Bowl hopes dashed with the late interception. QB Danny O’Brien said “I didn’t even see what happened on the play, but I didn’t want to take a sack. I guess I threw the ball a little high”. O’Brien had played well most of the evening, going 25-for-45 for 269 yards and a touchdown.
The story of the game was turnovers. Up until this week Maryland had consistently won the turnover battle. Tonight, however, they lost the turnover battle 4-2. One interception was fairly questionable – I take that back, it was downright questionable as the ball was clearly on the ground – but it would be too easy to blame just that interception for the loss.
Maryland’s lone touchdown came on a 7-yard strike from Danny O’Brien to TE Will Yeatman. Florida State had two big touchdown’s. One, a 70-yard run for Chris Thompson, and the other was a 44-yard pass from Christian Ponder to Bert Reed. Maryland Safety Kenny Tate said after the game “We knew they had a lot of speed, but we made a lot of plays in space and just got beat on two plays”.
Coach Ralph Friedgen, fresh off of his recent extension with the University, said after the game about his players “They’ll be ready for next week. I think they’ll get back up”. His team needs to be ready as NC State comes to town with their eye on winning the ACC Atlantic. A loss for the Wolfpack would mean that Florida State would take the Atlantic Championship and play Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship.
Meanwhile, the Terps can play for better bowl position with a win. It remains to be seen what bowl the Terps are headed to, although it seems likely now that they didn’t make it to the ACC Championship that they are headed to the Military Bowl in DC.