It was an ugly day in College Park, both on the field and in the weather forecast. Maryland, unlike the weather, improved as the game went on, as the Terps capitalized on four Towson turnovers. The Terps had quite the ugly first half though as they only led 7-3 at the half. The Terps were lucky as they should have been trailing if not for several Towson miscues on their final drive of the half. In the end the Terps made solid halftime adjustments and came away with a 28-3 win to improve to 2-2 on the season.
Maryland finished the first half with an unimpressive 111 yards of offense. Towson limited Maryland’s time of possession – 21:30 for Towson to 8:30 for Maryland – and in doing so kept Maryland’s defense on its heels. Towson got an unlucky break on their final drive when they dropped what would have been at least one – maybe two – touchdown passes. That was compounded when they couldn’t get their field goal unit on quick enough, hurried the snap and missed a field goal that would have made 7-6 at the half.
Randy Edsall talked about making halftime adjustments in order to fix some of the problems, but the main point he emphasized was how he reassured the team and told them not to panic. The resolve they showed in the second half allowed them to get 14 points off the four turnovers.
The passing game was similar through both halves, as they really didn’t need O’Brien to make a ton of plays. He finished the game 14-of-21 for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. O’Brien made plays when he had to, the one that comes to mind is the 7-yard TD pass to Kevin Dorsey to really end any momentum Towson had left.
The running game was the story, both for Maryland and Towson. Maryland had two running backs go over 80 yards, as Meggett finished with 102 and Freshman Justus Pickett finished with 82 yards. Pickett got a majority of the carries in the fourth quarter to close out the game. Coach Edsall said that was a plan to get him more work, but it also came after a Davin Meggett fumble inside the 10 yard line.
On the defensive side of the ball, until now the leading tackler had come from the safety position, where it was Matt Robinson or Eric Franklin. Today, three of the four leading tacklers were in the front seven. Maryland did a good job of keeping everything in front of them, but still gave Towson a ton of space at times.
LB Demetrius Hartsfield led the team in tackles with 14, including two for loss. He did mention after the game that Towson did some things on offense they weren’t prepared for. “They lined up in formations we weren’t ready for. They forced our defensive ends to lineup in awkward positions and we had to adjust accordingly”. So was that poor planning from the defensive coaches, or was that trickery from coach Rob Ambrose of Towson? It sounded like, according to Coach Edsall at least, that Ambrose pulled a few tricks out of his bag in the first half.
Maryland now has a week to prepare for their first road game of the season against a ranked Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech will likely be ranked a little higher than their current position of 21st in the country come Monday after their 45-35 win over N.C. State today. The Yellow Jackets just missed out on a 300-yard rushing day as a team, but if Maryland’s rushing defense doesn’t improve, the Jackets could easily get that number next week.
“The biggest thing for us is we just have to get our guys lined up and fit things right. When we fit things right, we’re pretty good and we make stops. But when we don’t fit things up and we don’t tackle well, it’s not pretty” said Edsall about his rush defense. It will have to look “pretty” in a hurry with this vaunted triple-option up next.
- The Terps had three more true Freshman see playing time today with Tyrek Cheeseboro, A.J. Hendy and Cole Farrand all on kickoff coverage and punt block units.
- Freshman RB Justus Pickett and FB Tyler Cierski both scored their first touchdowns in a Maryland uniform today. Both had 5-yard touchdowns.
- Maryland (not shockingly) had a season-high in tackles for loss today, with 11. Vellano led the team with 2.5, while DE David Mackall and Hartsfield had two each.
- Nick Ferrara’s punting average coming into the day was 45.8 yards, and while it dropped today thanks to his 39.2 average, all of his four punts were downed inside the 20, with two being downed at the 2-yard line.