It’s hard to believe that this game was actually Maryland’s to lose at one point in the second quarter. With the Terps leading 10-7 and driving inside the Virginia 10 yard line. With Maryland inside the five on first down the Terps handed the ball off to Freshman Fullback Tyler Cierski on first down, before handing off to Davin Meggett on second and third down and ultimately kicking a field goal.
After Maryland was unable to get six points from their offense, they immediately gave up a game-altering touchdown to Virginia. The defense came on an all-out blitz on third down, but didn’t cover Kevin Parks coming out of the backfield as he walked in for a 35-yard touchdown with no one around him.
The big problem for Maryland today was drops from their backs and receivers. Whether it was Danny O’Brien or C.J. Brown throwing the football – after all, they did rotate all day – both were plagued with drops from their receivers and backs. I like to be accurate, but their were at least 10 drops today from receivers, including three during a four-play sequence in the fourth quarter that killed another drive.
Maryland opened the game with O’Brien going deep to McCree down the right side only to have the ball literally go through his hands. After the game coach Randy Edsall said that was because the sun was in his eyes. Surely, that wasn’t the case all game.
After the game neither quarterback looked happy with the rotating situation. Both said they could never really get in a rhythm today, but trusted the coaches to put them in the best possible chance to win. Unfortunately for both quarterbacks, they were scrambling for their lives as the offensive line struggled to keep the defensive line in front of them.
The team also proved why they were ranked 118th out of 120 teams in rush defense today. On the opening play from scrimmage – after a 50 yard kickoff return, another subject to be touched on – the Terps gave up a 47-yard touchdown run to Perry Jones as he broke a tackle or two before blowing by the secondary. On the day the Terps gave up 220 yards on the ground. Coming into the day the Cavaliers were averaging 186 yards on the ground.
This marks the fifth game in a row the Terps have given up over 200 yards on the ground. Those looking at a schedule will note that the last time the Terps didn’t give up 200 yards was against Towson, their last win.
The Terps kickoff unit, coming into the day ranked 118th in the country again gave up big plays in the return game. The opening kickoff went for 50 yards. and while Virginia averaged just under 25 yards a kickoff, somehow improving Maryland’s terrible average of 27.65 for the season. Part of that was due to a squib kick that went for just a four yard return.
With the loss today, Maryland falls to 2-7 and out of bowl eligibility. They haven’t won a game against a FBS opponent since the opening game of the season against Miami. Worse yet, it seems as though fans have lost all hope in coach Randy Edsall. Fans could be heard all game screaming “Fire Randy” and the same could be seen all day on twitter (type in hashtag ‘Terps’ and have a look for yourself, it’s not pretty).
There were some bright spots today, albeit few and far between. RB Davin Meggett had another strong performance averaging 5.8 yards per carry, but lost carries to Justus Pickett (2.2 yards per carry). DT Joe Vellano had another outstanding performance, finishing with 10 tackles (1 for loss) and a forced fumble. Vellano came up big on a fourth down in the second quarter. Oft-injured LB Darin Drakeford put in, arguably, the best performance of the day with 11 tackles (1 for loss), a forced fumble and an interception. LB Demetrius Hartsfield and S Eric Franklin also finishing with 12 tackles a piece. This was Hartsfield’s first game back since an injury early in the season, Franklin is the team’s leading tackler on the year.
There will be tons of questions from fans and the media this week over the direction of the program. Edsall was very elusive in the post-game press conference. He even went as far to say that he had no idea what to do about the kick coverage unit. It’s hard to tell if Edsall has lost confidence in his team. Today he admitted he benched Senior Cornerback Cameron Chism for performance issues, it’s one of the few times he’s talked openly about benching a player for performance issues (the only other time I can remember was two weeks ago with WR Marcus Leak).
Maryland will play Notre Dame next Saturday night at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. The Terps will try to impress on the National stage one final time and gain some respectability heading down the stretch.
- Joe Vellano was leading the FBS in tackles by a defensive lineman (7.8 per game) coming into the day, and his 10 will only improve that.
- Freshman Alex Twine set a new career high with 10 tackles today. He performed well, at times, but did blow the coverage on the Parks touchdown.
- Junior Offensive Lineman Justin Gilbert saw his first game action of the season, and came in at Right Guard.
- Tight End Devonte Campbell had his second catch of the season, both for touchdowns.
- RB D.J. Adams was surprisingly absent today, and could be seen on the sidelines without a helmet. He had two rushing touchdowns against West Virginia and has had one carry since then (a fumble against Clemson).
- WR Adrian Coxson who had a big week against Boston College last week – 3 catches, 78 yards and a touchdown – didn’t have a reception today, and I can’t remember seeing him on the field at all today on offense.
Follow Brendan Darr on twitter: @BrendanDarr1067