Reporting Brendan Darr
The Maryland Terrapins knew they had to start fresh and put their 2-5 record behind them. They set a new goal for themselves: getting to a bowl game. In order to do that the Terps had to win 4 of 5 games starting with today’s contest against a 1-6 Boston College team without their leading rusher. After today’s tough 28-17 gut check loss to Boston College the Terps have their back to the wall in order to get to six wins and a bowl.
Boston College followed a strict set of instructions today: run, run, and run some more. Boston College only attempted 12 passes all day, completing 5. Sophomore Running Back Rolandan Finch came into today’s game with 266 rushing yards on 59 attempts, but finished today’s game with 243 yards (on just 39 carries). Maryland had very little in the way of stopping him, as he wasn’t touched on either of his touchdowns – or Alex Amidon’s 21 yard touchdown run. After the game, Coach Randy Edsall alluded to the team not being in the right gaps and something they would have to work on in practice.
On offense, C.J. Brown started the game, but did not finish it. Coach Edsall said that “We had a plan going into the game that we were going to play them both [Quarterbacks C.J. Brown and Danny O'Brien]. We were just following our plan”. Danny O’Brien let us know after the game that “The plan was that C.J. would start the game, and I’d play in the second quarter, and then we would go from there”.
Coach Edsall wouldn’t comment on who would be starting next week, so it looks like it will be another game-time decision. O’Brien finished 14 of 35 for 165 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and added 50 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Brown finished 2 of 6 for 14 yards and interception with 17 yards on the ground. As far as the weather was concerned, both quarterbacks played in some ugly weather and had to deal with the subsequent drops that accompanied the deteriorating conditions, but O’Brien had at least 7 passes dropped on him today – not to mention a field that looked worse than some high school fields.
At the end of the day, O’Brien was able to do enough in the fourth quarter to inspire some hope. His 55-yard touchdown pass to freshman Adrian Coxson was the highlight of the day. Coxson was a highly touted transfer from the University of Florida, and finally got a chance – after fellow freshman Marcus Leak dropped two straight passes – why he was so highly regarded. He’s bigger, stronger and faster than the other freshman ahead of him, and finally got his chance, but Edsall mentioned that his confidence hadn’t been all that high, and he needs to improve going forward.
One aspect that may not get a lot of mention today is the Special Teams. Nick Ferrara had arguably his worst game at Maryland today. He missed two field goals, shanked the opening kickoff, and averaged 36.4 yards per punt. Just an ugly day, and obviously the weather conditions had something to do with it. It’s hard to place all the blame on Ferrara, but those were chip shot field goals.
Moving forward what do the Terps have to do in order to become bowl eligible? They have to start by improving the run defense. The defense was gashed all day, and maybe that comes from starting five freshman on defense, but after this many games, if tackling is an issue, they shouldn’t be on the field. Next, they need a strong start on offense. As Patrick Stevens from the Washington Times pointed out, Maryland hasn’t had their starting quarterback finish a game in five of the last six games. Finally, the Terps need to score touchdowns. This is not an indictment on Nick Ferrara, but more a concern that has been around all season that the Terps stall in the red zone.
Next week the Terps will begin their final four game stretch to make it to a bowl, starting with their biggest rival – Virginia – at 12 noon.
- Senior Davin Meggett moved into a tie for 10th place on Maryland’s career rushing yards list with his 99 yards today at 2,140.
- The Terps have used a different starting lineup on defense in every game this season. Marcus Whitfield and Andre Monroe were in the starting lineup this week for the change. It was Whitfield’s first career start, and Monroe’s first start since the Temple game.
- Eric Franklin, the team’s leading tackler, had his fourth double-digit tackling performance of the season, with 11
- Adrian Coxson recorded his first career catch and touchdown in today’s game. Coxson finished with 3 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown today, playing mostly in the second half.