Danny O’Brien was very somber in the post-game press conference, and who could blame him. He took all the blame of the loss after the game. He knew he had helped Maryland orchestrate a comeback from 24 points down, but he was the reason the Terps fell short. O’Brien said “I guess looking back on it, it’s easy to say I should have run” referring to the final interception with 1:13 remaining.
As much as O’Brien wants to take the blame for the loss, this cross is not just his to bear. The defense was shredded by the West Virginia offense. Maryland allowed West Virginia to rack up 480 yards of offense. Most of which came from the arm of West Virgnia Quarterback Geno Smith.
Edsall wasn’t the only one who noticed the progression Geno Smith has taken under head coach Dana Holgerson’s tutelage. Star linebacker/safety Kenny Tate – who finished third on the team with 10 tackles, 1 for loss and a forced fumble – as well as lead safety Matt Robinson – who finished second on the team with 13 tackles, 2 for loss – also noticed the progression from Smith. Smith finished the game 36-f0r-49 for 388 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The interception was hardly Smith’s fault though, as the receiver had the ball bounce off his chest while Dexter McDougle made a great play to pick it off and get his foot down for the interception.
Coach Randy Edsall mentioned how the Terps gave up “too many explosive plays”. Edsall also noted how Geno Smith looked a lot better than the last time he saw him. The Terps couldn’t get a hold of Tavon Austin either, he terrorized the Terps for 243 all-purpose yards.
One positive the Terps can take away was that Danny O’Brien was never sacked today. West Virginia runs a 3-3-5 defense, but defensive end Bruce Irvin is anything but a space eater. Irvin was number two in the nation last year in sacks, with 14 total, but was held in check all day. Irvin finished with just three tackles, one for loss on the day. The team also improved once they started looking vertically before third down – especially in the direction of Kevin Dorsey or Matt Furstenburg.
The comeback from 24 points down was an impressive one, with a questionable decision or two sprinkled in to keep everyone honest. Although, coach Randy Edsall made it abundantly clear he was not worried about the 24-point deficit: “That’s what I expect out of these kids. I don’t expect anyone to quit. On a Randy Edsall-coached team there are never going to be any quitters. If there is someone who is going to be a quitter they aren’t going to be on this team”.
Edsall would continue on passionately for another minute before abruptly walking away from the podium, thus, ending his press-conference. Quite the note to end on.
The comeback started in the third quarter on Maryland’s first possession, and while Maryland didn’t get any points out of it, until the offense crumbled in the end zone, they had been moving the ball fairly well, with a few big plays. It was questionable not to kick the field goal, however. Maryland got the touchdown they desperately needed when Davin Meggett scored on a 20-yard rushing touchdown with 4:44 left in the third quarter.
Then it happened. The McDougle interception that brought the team and fans back into the game. Maryland took 2:13 to score thanks to a D.J. Adams six yard rushing touchdown. The Maryland defense then held West Virginia to a three-and-out that would set up another D.J. Adams rushing touchdown. This time Maryland converted the two point conversion and were back within a field goal. West Virginia would tack on a field goal before O’Brien led the Terps down the field and threw the costly game-ending interception.
The worst part of the loss is the fact they had a chance to beat a ranked opponent and let it slip through their fingers. With only one more guaranteed ranked opponent – Florida State – on their schedule the next chance is possibly at Georgia Tech on October 8th and likely at home against Clemson the following week.
Next week the Terps will take on the Temple Owls – who had a chance to improve to 3-0 with a win over Penn State today, but fell short – at home that will kick-off at 12:30. The game will be available on ESPN3.com
- Randy Edsall refused to comment on potential ACC additions in Syracuse and Pitt. He said we would have to ask AD Kevin Anderson about that subject. Rumors are flying saying that Syracuse and Pitt could be admitted to the ACC as soon as tomorrow.
- The win by West Virginia was their sixth straight, tying the series long by either team. Maryland won six straight – albeit sporadically – between 1949 and 1966.
- Dating back to last season, Maryland racked up their sixth straight game of over 400 yards of total offense. A streak that is sure to continue for at least two more weeks.
- Maryland WR Marcus Leak became the fifth true freshman to earn playing time so far this season. Leak joins DE Keith Bowers, FB Tyler Cierski, RB Justus Pickett, and LB Alex Twine amongst the freshman to see time this year.
- RB D.J. Adams picked up his fourth multiple-touchdown game of his career. After getting out of Randy Edsall’s doghouse it was a great start to the season for Adams.
Follow Brendan Darr on twitter for more Maryland and College Football updates throughout the night: @BrendanDarr1067