Florida State (4-3, 2-2 in the ACC) started the season with National Championship ambitions, but an injury to QB E.J. Manuel ended those as the Seminoles lost the three games where he missed time. With Manuel back, the Seminoles again looked worthy of a National Championship, beating down the Maryland Terrapins (2-5, 1-3 in ACC) 41-16.
The Terps have had injury issues all season on both sides of the ball and things didn’t get better today when new starting QB C.J. Brown was knocked out of the game after a helmet-to-helmet hit. Former starting QB Danny O’Brien came in and performed admirably given that the Terps were without WR Kevin Dorsey and OL Andrew Gonnella and later lost LT Max Garcia.
O’Brien finished 9-of-18 for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns (1 rushing) against, arguably, the best defense Maryland will face all season. ABC broadcaster Craig James was practically begging Maryland head coach Randy Edsall to use both Quarterbacks the rest of the season. It’s way too early to say who will be starting at Quarterback next week against Boston College, especially if we don’t know if C.J. Brown is healthy enough to play.
The Maryland defense was without LB’s Kenny Tate and Demetrius Hartsfield to start again today. Maryland did get LB Darin Drakeford and DL Andre Monroe back from injury today and both made an impact when called upon. With so many players missing, the Terps were put in difficult situations most of the afternoon against the Florida State offense.
It was common today to see the Maryland defense back off the line in coverage one play. Then, after being beat, they would play close to the line of scrimmage. It seemed like the Florida State offense had the Maryland defense figured out pretty quick, and did just about whatever they wanted during stretches of the game. The defense tried their best to respond, and did eventually manage to get to Manuel in the backfield, but not until the game was already out of reach.
Florida State jumped out to an early 14-point lead, which easily could have been 28 or more. Maryland showed a sign of life before the half, adding a Nick Ferrara field goal as time expired to make it 17-3 at the half. O’Brien came in relief in the third quarter once Brown went down, but the Florida State offense just wore Maryland out in the fourth quarter before Maryland added a garbage time touchdown with five seconds left in the game.
Wide Receivers Quinton McCree (9 receptions for 177 yards) and Marcus Leak (8 receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown) were the only two receivers for Maryland to catch multiple passes for the Terps. McCree did most of his damage on two receptions of 43 and 69 yards. The Terps definitely missed Kevin Dorsey today as they had a few drops and poor blocking from the receiver position. Maryland found it to be tough sledding in the running game today as Florida State shut down the zone-reads that C.J. Brown exploited last week against Clemson.
With the loss Maryland is left with a handful of unanswered questions. I’m sure what we will be talking about all week is the quarterback position, and rightly so. This team has no offensive identity because neither quarterback can seem to get going for more than a game. A product of that ineffectiveness is the lack of production from the receiver position, will Marcus Leak continue to produce while Dorsey is out? Another position to keep an eye on is linebacker, we will ever see the top three linebackers (Tate, Hartsfield and Drakeford) together at the same time the rest of the season? Or will they even have spots to permanently return to?
Maryland faces Boston College at home next week at 3:00 ET on ESPN3.com. Stay tuned to 106.7 The Fan and Brendan Darr on twitter for more updates on the Maryland Terrapins: @BrendanDarr1067