Terrapin Tuesday: Maryland Gets Rolled

By John Langley @Langley486

In some cases, the end result doesn’t always show the type of game played by a team, but in the case of the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday against Florida St, the end result showed exactly how the Terps played, and it wasn’t pretty.

In a game where the Maryland football team was looking to make a name for themselves and show that they belong in the top 25, they laid a big goose egg on the field, scoring zero points and getting out-manned the entire game.

Early in the game, the defense looked solid, forcing key three-and-outs from the Florida State offense, giving the Maryland offense a chance to remain competitive in the game. In the end, it proved to be too much, as the Seminole offense rolled to scoring 21 points in the 3rd and 4th quarters respectively. Freshman quarterback Jameis Winston showed the poise of a veteran with pressure in his face, bailing out of the pocket and delivering beautiful passes to his receiving corps. Quite frankly, Winston made it seem a bit too easy at times. If there was any question as to whether or not Winston is legitimate, those questions were put to rest very quickly.

Winston is the real deal. He showed the ability to make big-time passes that are required to win tough games. Florida St. as a team made a statement. They showed that, while Clemson may be a tough opponent in the ACC, they’re not far behind. The defense played exceptionally well in comparison to the week before against Boston College, and the offense scored points at will, seemingly on every drive.

While this was a tough pill to swallow for Maryland and the fans, game six is a new game, and against a very beatable opponent in Virginia. Virginia comes into this contest as a struggling team overall with a 2-3 record, and rankings across the board that won’t make any coach happy.

The Cavaliers have gotten wins against a solid BYU team as well as VMI, but have dropped their last two contests to Pittsburgh and Ball St. Virginia currently ranks 110th in passing and 62nd in rushing. They also rank 103rd in points scored per game with 21.6 and 70th in points scored against them with 27.4 points per game. The negative ration is a key to their struggling performance overall this season.

Quarterback David Watford has struggled this season throwing the ball downfield, averaging 4.75 yards per attempt, throwing seven interceptions to just three touchdowns. The focal point of the offense is, without a doubt, the running game. Kevin Parks has five touchdowns on the season with 398 yards on 88 attempts. Ideally, the Cavaliers would like to set up the passing attack with the running game, but it hasn’t worked thus far.

This is an ideal matchup for the Terrapins, as they have a strong run defense with  a susceptible pass defense, due to injury. The defense will look to stuff the rushing attack, and force Watford to throw the ball more than coach Mike London would like. If the defense knows the pass is coming, it makes it much easier to defend. Add the strong pass rush from the Maryland front seven, and that could smell trouble for Virginia.

The biggest key for Maryland is the offense, and who will be at quarterback. CJ Brown suffered a concussion on Saturday, and it is unknown right now whether or not he can play Saturday. If he cannot go, coach Randy Edsall will turn to Caleb Rowe to make the offense go. Rowe is a talented player, but is a different style quarterback than Brown.

While Brown can run the ball and effectively pass, Rowe is a much better passer who has some mobility. Rowe will not be looking to run the ball as much, and will be much more of a traditional drop back passer. This also carries a bit more risk. Rowe will use his arm strength to attempt passes into tighter windows than Brown will normally.

For the Maryland Terrapins to pull out a victory on Saturday, they must play fundamentally sound football, and not beat themselves. The defense will look to stuff the run, and in turn, make plays in pass defense, while the offense will need to make plays happen to sustain drives and score points. The defense cannot wear down like it did against Florida St, or it will be a struggle to contend down the road. The secondary is thin, and cannot be on the field too much.

Big plays are waiting to happen in this game, it is just a matter of which team will pull them off.