With the score 41-14 five minutes into the third quarter, the Terps looked like they were cruising to an easy victory. The unthinkable happened. The second-biggest comeback in ACC history occurred. A legendary meltdown of epic proportions that was so fitting for this 2011 Maryland Terrapins season.
Maryland, as a whole, was firing on all cylinders in the first half. The defense had two touchdowns. The offense finally looked in-sync with C.J. Brown running the zone read scheme to near perfection. Maryland thoroughly dominated this game for forty minutes, but the last twenty belonged to NC State as they scored 42 unanswered points in the second half.
It’s tough to find an explanation for the loss. The offense did get very conservative in the second half, and that led to shorter drives as NC State just stacked the box. The defense spent a lot of time on the field in the second half, and it was clear by early in the fourth quarter they were running on fumes.
The second-half drives after taking the 41-14 lead went as follows: 3 plays, 4 yards, punt. 3 plays, -2 yards, punt. 1 play, 8 yards, fumble. 6 plays, 44 yards, interception. 3 plays, -4 yards, punt. 5 plays, 26 yards, interception. These six drives didn’t even total ten minutes. I didn’t bother including the final two plays, because really, what’s the point?
There were bright spots to this game. Quarterback C.J. Brown, had a solid three-quarters both passing and rushing, but like the rest of the team had a rough fourth quarter. The same could be said about Running Back Davin Meggett, whose fourth quarter fumble – which led to the Wolfpack being back within one score – will overshadow his great game previous to that. Wide Receiver Kevin Dorsey, after being injured/quiet for five games in the middle of the season, closed out the year well with 3 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, the entire defensive line played well for most of the game, but wore down at the end. Four different lineman registered a sack; DE’s Marcus Whitfield and Keith Bowers and DT’s Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis. DT Andre Monroe also had a good game with a tackle for loss and a QB pressure. Freshman Linebacker Alex Twine had 9 tackles and 3 pass break-ups in the game. LB Demetrius Hartsfield had an up-and-down game as he finished with 18 tackles, but looked to be beat in coverage on more than a few occasions towards the end.
It was a deflating game for the Terps, as I’m sure everyone wanted to close the season on a high note. Instead, the seniors are left with being a part of the only program to have a winning season sandwiched in-between two 10-loss seasons (via @D1scourse). Many questions remain surrounding the roster and the coaching staff. Edsall we know will be here next year, but will there be a change at a coordinator position? DE David Mackall is gone for sure, but who else will jump ship from the roster?
I’ll have a season recap up later in the week. Follow Brendan Darr on twitter: @BrendanDarr1067