By John Langley @Langley486
The Maryland Terrapins opened their football season with a decisive victory over the Florida International Golden Panthers by a final score of 43-10.
The Terps offense came right out of the gate flowing, and never looked back. A year ago, the Terps struggled out of the gate against William and Mary, but this was not the case today. The Terps unleashed a mix of passing and rushing that the Golden Panthers simply couldn’t stop, and began to wear down.
On multiple occasions, Maryland players seemed to sneak behind the secondary and catch passes with no one around them. This was shown when Stefon Diggs caught a 66 yard touchdown pass, had time to stumble for 5-10 yards, and still get into the endzone.
This is not to take away from what the Terps did on offense, which was led by redshirt senior C.J Brown. Many wondered what the Terps offense would look like with Brown behind center throwing the ball, and fans could not have been disappointed. Brown finished the game 20 of 23 passing for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns. As impressive as Brown was throwing the ball, he also added a big dimension to the offense running the ball, carrying the rock 11 times for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns. In case you may not have noticed the theme here, Brown was a huge catalyst for the Terps offense today.
The biggest question facing the Terps, aside from the offensive line, was the runningbacks, and the starter Brandon Ross didn’t step up as expected. He carried the ball 10 times for 21 yards, for an average of 2.1 yards per carry. The standout for the runningbacks was Jacquille Veii, who carried the ball 8 times for 53 yards. Albert Reid also had an impressive game, carrying the ball 9 times for 45 yards. Overall, the runningbacks had a solid game, aside from Ross.
Receivers Deon Long and Stefon Diggs came as advertised, each having huge games. Diggs finished the game with 5 receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown, while Long finished with 9 receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown. Diggs also carried the ball once and gained 26 yards on that carry.
The defense was stellar overall, completely overmatching the Golden Panther offense. The defensive line, especially Quinton Jefferson and Darius Kilgo, got good push up front, allowing the linebackers to make plays against the running game. Dexter Mcdougall had the lone interception of the game, making a nice play on the ball.
The Terps exceeded expectations in their first game of the season, and it should build optimism among the Maryland faithful. While FIU isn’t the strongest opponent, this was a much better beginning to the season than in seasons past, where the Terps would come out struggling.
This time, the Terps made it a point to show they won’t be pushed around. The offense fired on all cylinders, and should be a threat against any team in the ACC. The offensive line is still and issue, and coach Randy Edsall will have to find a way to make a line work. This will be one area to watch the rest of the way.
The defense was stellar today, and they will look to build on the success they had today. Obviously, this was a weaker opponent, so the defense should feast on them, but it is nice to get some confidence heading forward.
Overall, a great win for the Terps, and they will look to improve on every facet heading forward to become a better team.