Late Terps drive beats UNC 17-15

November 15, 2008 | Glenn Clark

If Championship teams are teams that come up with big plays in crucial situations; then the Maryland Terrapins were a Championship team Saturday.
If Championship teams are teams that win close games by making big plays when they absolutely have to; the Maryland Terrapins were a Championship team Saturday.

If Championship teams are teams that defend their home turf, even when the odds are against them; the Maryland Terrapins were a Championship team Saturday.

It was easy for pundits to again write off the Terps after what most people saw as another letdown less last Thursday against Virginia Tech. Seeing unheralded running back gauge the Maryland defense for over 250 yards rushing while the Terps finished with less than zero of their own made many say the Terps were dead in the ACC title race.

But Ralph Friedgen says “when you experience failure….you gotta get back in the saddle”, and with Maryland’s 17-15 win over Carolina today, the Terps are back on the lead horse in the race to Tampa Bay.

And while some players put together standout performances throughout the day (Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett combined for over 200 yards rushing); it was the uncanny ability to make plays at critical junctures that carried the Terps to their 7th win on the season.

-With his team facing a 4th and 5 late in the 4th quarter; quarterback Chris Turner used keen “awareness” according to his head coach to see the zone read and slide in after gaining 8 yards on a straight forward run.

-Ronnie Tyler; who Friedgen thinks is proving ”to be a very good player” caught two passes on the day in 3rd and long situations, including a catch on the Terps’ game-winning driving where he was absolutely leveled, but managed to hold on to the football.

-With the Tar Heels looking at a chip shot field goal to extend their lead in the 3rd quarter; Friedgen knew that many players would just “go through the motions” in special teams play. But Emani Lee-Odai pressured freshman Casey Barth’s kick; forcing the kick to hit the left post and keep the score a 1 point difference.

-With the Tar Heels looking to run the clock and extend their 4th quarter lead; Antwine Perez “actually played both” QB Cam Sexton and his lead blocker/passing option on a bootleg play; and Perez made what Ralph called an “unbelievable” play to force Sexton out after a gain of two yards, when the Heels needed 3.

-Danny Oquendo made a pair of 3rd down catches on the Terps’ game winning drive; prompting offensive coordinator James Franklin to bost of how the Terps have both a senior (Oquendo) and a freshman (Tyler) who “make plays” in those important 3rd down situations.

-After starting his season 0/5, kicker Obi Egekeze had to fight to win his job back. But he says “it means the world” that his teammates and coach continue to trust him, and for the 2nd time in three weeks; he overcame the elements to hit the game winning field goal in the game’s final minutes.

-Mack Frost and Jamari McCullough were able to wipe away any hopes of a dramatic game-winning drive from the Heels on back to back plays. Frost hit Sexton for a sack and a loss of 12 yards; then with the Heels forced to throw the ball deep; McCullough corralled an interception to put the game away.

-And then there was the drive following Josh Portis’ fumble. When Carolina took the ball at Maryland’s 33 with about 10 minutes to play. 3 plays later, the Heels had failed to gain even a yard; as the Maryland defense had forced a 3 and out and a punt.

We know this Maryland team has been up and down; with big emotional highs and lifeless emotional lows. We know even Ralph was thinking that it “wasn’t (Maryland’s) day” when the Heels were getting first half points on wacky bad snaps and long pass plays with coverage slips. But we all also know that the Terps are in 1st place in the ACC Atlantic thanks to their 6th home win of the season (6-0), their 4th win over a Top 25 team on the season (4-0), and their fourth win this season in a game decided by 7 points or less (4-0).

And those numbers are the reason this Terps team really just might be a Championship team.

NOTE:
The Terps return to action Saturday night in a CRUCIAL contest against Florida State. But they’ll need a win from Wake Forest over Boston College in Winston-Salem in order to have a chance to clinch the division title at home. It will be an emotional week in College Park; and I will make sure to capture the sights and sounds this week.

7:49 Here’s what I can tell you quickly…..

Ralph didn’t downplay the importance of this win; and the emotions involved. He started his session with a simple “What else can I say?”, meaning the game had clearly spoken for itself.

This really was a tremendous win for the Terps; based not as much about individual performance (although the Running Backs were outstanding); as about many players coming up VERY big in VERY big situations…

-Chris Turner scrambling to convert a 4th and 5
-Ronnie Tyler hanging on to the football after being LEVELED on 3rd and long
-Danny Oquendo making two third down catches
-Obi Egekeze connecting for his second last second winner in 3 weeks
-Antwine Perez playing both men on a bootleg; and stopping Cam Sexton on 3rd and short
-Mack Frost getting a big sack on the last drive
-Jamari McCullough sealing the deal with an INT
-The offensive CONTINUING to both run and pass block effectively
-I could go on.

But this is the bottom line. With this win, the Terps can sit back and watch tonight’s game and both scout their opponent AND prepare for what could be an Atlantic Division championship game next Saturday. It will be a very emotional week in College Park; and the Terps must find a way to both handle their emotions and let their emotions carry them against a tough opponent. That won’t be easy.

I’ll break down the thoughts of Ralph and the players either late tonight or tomorrow morning; but I gotta get to Hunt Valley for a horse industry event right now. I will have more from Ralph, the players, and my own head later tonight or tomorrow morning.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

6:48 Carolina still has two timeouts; but won’t bother to call them. Turner will get to take his knees, and this game will end with Maryland winning 17-15. What a HUGE emotional win for the Terps. Advance them to 7-3 and 4-2 in conference play. What a win. What a win. I’ll call Thyrl now, and I’ll be back shortly to talk to you.

6:47 Mack Frost gets a HUGE sack; forcing Carolina into a 3rd and 22. Sexton puts it up for grabs on 3rd down; and McCullough comes up with the INT; and Maryland has the ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT A STOP!!!!

6:45 Sexton throws high and incomplete. 2nd down from the Carolina 46. Shame some people stayed away today, they’re missing a VERY dramatic finish.

6:45 Sexton gets the first down on a screen to Draughn that goes for 10. Carolina calls their first timeout with 1:20 to play. I have a feeling this game could come down to a FG attempt by freshman kicker Barth.

6:44 Carolina starts from their own 36; and Jeff Allen makes a great play to break up a first down long pass attempt. The Terps would do well to get some pressure, but I certainly am not expecting it.

6:43 If the Heels are faced with a 4th down on this drive; they will certainly go for it. All of the 4th downs they’ve faced this half have been short and convertable.

6:41 Egekeze is TRUE from 26, and Maryland re-takes the lead at 17-15 with 1:42 to play. Carolina has all of their timeouts.

In Raleigh; NC State has held on and defeated Wake Forest 21-17. That effectively takes Wake out of the picture for the Atlantic title.

6:37 Turner found his man, but it was short of the endzone. Actually; the play was overturned and the pass was ruled incomplete. Maryland will now try the kick from 26 yards out.

6:36 Turner had time; but overthrew Torrey Smith in the back of the endzone. It was a good overthrow; as Turner didn’t want to risk throwing a pick. After a 1 yard run, Terps face 3rd and goal from the 9.

6:34 Scott takes the ball down to the 5; but a penalty will push it back to the 10; making things interesting. The Terps are in field goal range for sure; but you definitely want to get the ball in the endzone. You’d like to stay on the ground and force Carolina to consider using their timeouts; but you don’t want to risk not getting points in the process. From the 5 it would have been an easy decision to run 3 times; but from the ten you have to think about it.

6:32 Turner looks once; looks twice; and takes off for 9 yards and a first down at a 23. Great decision from the junior signal-caller there, and the Terps will likely go back to the ground.

6:31 Turner goes to the endzone on 2nd and 5; and there was some contact but a good no call. Turner’s 3rd down pass hits a ref; and the Terps will go for it on 4th and 5 with 4:58 to play.

6:29 WHAT A CATCH from Ronnie Tyler in coverage; 18 yards to the Carolina 37 and he held on the football. Incredible play in a HUGE spot for the Terps.

6:27 In Raleigh, Wake is getting the ball back with about 3 minutes to go trailing 21-17.

Chris Turner with the safe pass to Oquendo again on 3rd down; getting 6 yards and moving the sticks.

Two runs later and just 6 and half left in the game; the Terps face another 3rd and long from their own 45.

6:25 It wasn’t the double reverse; but the Terps did try to go to DHB on an end around; which got nothing. Chris Turner stood in on 3rd and long and DELIVERED a pass to Danny Oquendo for a first down at the 30. Scott is your featured back again; but the running attack hasn’t been nearly as successful in the 2nd half as it was in the first 30 minutes.

6:22 To peel back the curtain a bit; I have mentioned that Bruce Posner sits to my right in the press box. There is a glass partition to his right; separating the press area from an area reserved for family members and friends of the program.

The mother of Carolina LB Mark Paschal is sitting immediately to the right of the glass partition; and has provided us with GREAT entertainment in the 2nd half. She is watching the game AND listening on the radio; and has been VERY emotional on every play. We can’t hear exactly what she’s saying; but we can certainly hear her screaming and jumping up and down; which has brought out a few laughs.

6:20 Sexton gets a blocker on the rollout; but never finds a receiver. Antwine Perez works THROUGH the block; and stops Sexton one yard short. Carolina is forced to punt; and Maryland takes over at their own 18. They tried to go to the gadget box with Portis two possessions ago; but a double reverse may be in order here.

6:19 Carolina gets things going early on this drive; but they’ll be faced with a crucial 3rd and 3 from their own 44. I expect a rollout.

6:18 TerpTalk host Bruce Posner sits next to me in the press box; and when the Terps scored their 2nd touchdown to go ahead 14-12, he asked me “Why wouldn’t you go for 2 there?” I said it was much too early and there was too much scoring to make that decision; but he reminded me that Meggett had absolutely DOMINATED the Heels on that drive; and could probably punch it in for 2. If the 15-14 score holds; we will all be thinking about that for the next week.

6:15 Can’t blame the defense if the Terps don’t pull out a win. They have made stop after stop in the 2nd half; and the offense hasn’t been able to get things going. This might be the type of game where the defense NEEDS to get a turnover if the Terps are going to get a score.

6:14 GREAT coverage by the Terps on the punt; as Burney fielded the ball at the 24, and Skinner stopped him just one yard later. 41 net yards for Baltz into the wind.

6:13 NC State has gone back ahead of Wake in Raleigh; 21-17 in the 4th quarter. Meanwhile; Chris Turner held on to what was supposed to be a pitch, and then couldn’t find Meggett on a VERY slow developing 3rd and long screen pass; and the Terps will AGAIN be forced to punt.

6:12 Meggett goes strong on the ground on first down; picking up 13 yards to the 37. It looks like the Terps might end up with two 100 yard rushers on the game. The guys in the front row of the press box say that hasn’t happened since a Temple game in 1997.

6:10 My wireless was disconnected for a few minutes there; I apologize for that. In the meantime; Josh Portis entered the game; picked up 8 yards on a first down run; and fumbled the ball. Carolina recovered in GREAT shape at the Maryland 33; but the defense didn’t allow a yard in forcing a 3 and out.

Carolina decided to punt instead of going for it or kicking a 50 yard field goal; and Oquendo fielded the punt at the 10 and returned it to the 24; giving Maryland the ball at the EXACT place they had it before the Portis run. Meggett back into the game.

6:01 That final play will be a false start; and the Terps will be faced with a first and 15 from their own 24; as the quarter comes to a close with Carolina maintaining their 15-14 advantage.

6:00 Turner gets the ball to DHB again; and then sneaks it for the first down. This has been a quick moving 3rd quarter; and the next play will likely be the final play of the period.

5:57 WHAT A BREAK for the Terps. After holding Carolina to a FG attempt; Barth’s kick hits the left upright, and the Terps will be able to take over. Carolina’s defense is well rested however; so the Terps might need to go to a gadget play to get momentum. Meggett is your featured back.

5:55 Just as I say that; things go VERY sour for the Maryland defense on consecutive plays. Sexton is BARELY able to flip the ball to Draughn; but he scrambles 13 yards for a first down. THEN-Sexton flips the ball to FB Bobby Rome; who threw LONG downfield to Foster for 44 yards to get the Heels in the red zone.

5:53 Sexton’s first down pass is deep; and sails over everyone’s heads. Draughn goes on the ground on 2nd down; a long developing play that gets just two yards and gives Carolina 3rd and 8.

A stop here would be CRUCIAL; as Carolina’s defense has gotten a LOT of work in the 3rd quarter; and doesn’t want to get off the bench.

5:49 The drive stymies following the first down; as Scott is stopped in the backfield on a first down run and 2nd down pass; then Chris Turner couldn’t get the ball to Danny Oquendo on a wild scramble.

Baltz gets just 13 yards on his punt; which purposely came off the side of his foot; and the Heels will get decent position at the 23.

5:47 Turner goes back to DHB on 3rd and 2; and the Terps get the penalty yards back with a first down at the 33. Turner was absolutely LEVELED on the play; but hung in well to find the open receiver.

From Maryland Media Relations-DHB has now passed 2,000 receiving yards for his career-becoming just the 3rd Terp to ever reach the milestone. (They didn’t say it; but the two others are Jermaine Lewis and Geroy Simon.)

5:44 There’s your timely pass; but it comes at a cost. Gronkowski gets the first down catch; but a personal foul moved the ball back to Maryland’s 46-where they start again on first down.

5:43 Two Da’Rel Scott runs; 26 yards rushing, and the Terps are across midfield. Now they need to start mixing in a timely throw; and maybe even a Portis run.

5:41 NC State and Wake remain tied at 14 in the 3rd quarter. I just found out how the Navy game ended……two touchdowns and 2 recovered onside kicks? Incredible. I know Ken Niumatalolo doesn’t like Ricky Dobbs’ practice mentality; but I think he needs to go with the more explosive QB.

5:37 Sexton is AGAIN successful on a rollout pass; finding Wilson for a gain of 10. But Maryland then finally got pressure on Sexton; and Harrell collected the first sack of the day for the Terps. Faced with 3rd and 12, Sexton did a nice job to find his receiver; but the play went for just 10. Maryland will take over at the 25 with another chance to establish momentum this half.

5:32 The 3 and out the Terps forced by Carolina is now negated by a 3 and out forced by the Heels’ defense. If Chris Turner was looking to throw the ball directly to the ground on 3rd and 7, he succeeded greatly. I’m not sure that was what he wanted to do though.

With Jones OUT, Carolina’s punt return game will be stymied; and they take a fair catch here at the 26 despite their being little attack from the Terps’ coverage unit.

5:31 Carolina return man Trace Jones has suffered a concussion and will not return. Scott is again the featured back to start the half; but gets just 3 yards, and the Terps face a 3rd and 7.

5:29 Carolina’s first drive is a big win for Maryland; as the Heels get just one yard and two incomplete passes (both balls the Terps COULD have intercepted), before punting. The Maryland defense was on the field for just 20 seconds after the half. The Terps will take over from their own 34.

5:27 Only one local college hoops team in action today; and Jermaine Bolden missed a 3 as time expired and MEAC favorite Morgan State fell 64-61 at LaSalle.

5:05 In Raleigh; Wake adds a TD before the half to tie things up at 14. This game is headed to the half as well; and i’ll be joining Thyrl Nelson momentarily to discuss Carolina’s 15-14 advantage. Click “Listen Live” at the top of the page to hear my analysis.

5:03 The quest to force a punt ends after 2nd down; as Draughn runs for 9 yards and a first down. Carolina will likely let this go to the half at this point.

5:02 After a nice stick on first down; Maryland calls their 2nd timeout. They might not have any time do anything if they get the ball back; but they at least want to force Carolina to have to punt from their endzone.

5:00 Turner throws another bad ball on a 3rd down pass; throwing wide on a sideline route to Oquendo. Baltz’s punt is downed at about the 1 yard line; and Maryland will force Carolina to do something here.

4:59 Facing a 3rd and 8 with under 2 minutes to play; the Terps decide to call timeout. This is a safe place to call a timeout; because even if the Terps throw an incomplete pass; Carolina would likely be pinned in deep with the wind in their face and 90 seconds left. They won’t start taking chances.

4:57 He needed 1; but Meggett got 11; and the Terps are in business at midfield.

Portis re-enters; fakes the run, and throws a deep ball to DHB that sails wide. I liked the play call; but the Tar Heels defenders didn’t bite.

4:55 The Terps are right back to the ground to start this drive; and back in the capable hands of Davin Meggett. Following a false start penalty; Josh Portis gets in to the game for a 12 yard run on 2nd and 13. Using Portis here makes sense; as the Heels haven’t been able to really stop the run all game.

4:54 It was a valiant effort for Towson today in Philadelphia; but in a game heard right here on WNST.net earlier today; the Tigers fell 34-31 to Villanova DESPITE 326 yards from Sean Schaeffer.

4:53 Barth adds the 3; and Carolina has moved back ahead 15-14 with 4:12 to play. Maryland will likely look to get things going in the air to start their next drive.

4:51 Sexton bails out Maryland on 2nd and 9 by overthrowing a wide open Brooks Foster in the end zone. They continue with the no huddle; and Sexton’s 3rd down pass is batted away at the line of scrimmage. Carolina will be forced to attempt a 28 yard field goal.

4:48 A Russell Wilson TD before the half has given NC State a 14-7 lead over Wake Forest in Raleigh.

Back here; Carolina gets a long run on an end around from Brooks Foster; and they get a first down at the 12 yard line. That will certainly help their confidence.

4:45 So much for taking time off the clock and scoring……..Turner’s 3rd down pass is too high and too crisp for Oquendo; and the Terps will be forced to punt. Carolina will have a chance to get back to work against Maryland’s defense, as they didn’t get much time to rest. Carolina will get strong field position as well; as the Terps are called for a hold DURING the punt; adding ten yards of field position and getting the Heels a start from the Maryland 44.

4:40 Maryland’s defense again responds to getting time to rest; forcing Carolina to punt after a 3 and out. Kicking into the wind; Terrence Brown’s punt goes only 28 yards before Oquendo brought in the fair catch at the 20. Terps would REALLY like to gring out at least 5 of the 6 minutes left on the clock here, and preferably score some points as well. Carolina is going to start selling out for the run.

4:35 A 3rd down pass is too hard to handle; and the Terps decide to go for it on 4th and 6 from their own 39 instead of attempting to pin Carolina in deep. Turner didn’t see a man coming from his blindside; and was sacked at the 45 to give Carolina the ball back in good position on the field.

4:33 After losing a yard on first down; a fake fake (you read that right-Turner spun out to appear to be faking a handoff) helps Scott bust free for 12 yards and another first down. Maryland is smart to keep this game on the ground and not let Carolina get this into a track meet.

4:32 The wet football certainly could be the culprit for Sexton’s fumble; and the Terps’ current drive has already been paused twice for the officials to dry the football. In between those stoppages; Scott has returned to run for 11 yards and a first down on 2 plays as the Terps continue to dominate on the ground.

4:29 Baltz kicks off, and Carolina gets good field position at their own 39. They open up with a nice rollout pass to Nicks for 20 yards; then they go to their change of pace back (Ryan Houston) instead of Shaun Draughn. On 3rd down; Sexton appeared to be able to scramble for a first down; but absolutely DROPPED the football, and Adrian Moten covered to give Maryland the ball and a pretty nice break.

4:26 Important day in the road to the ACC Championship around the Atlantic Division. Wake is playing their final road game of the season today; and if they can beat NC State (they’re tied at 7 in the 2nd), and then beat BC next week, they will force the Terps to win out. Florida State could eliminate BC from the division race tonight in Tallahassee; but if BC wins, the Terps will be facing teams in consecutive weeks that will each be trying to avoid elimination.

4:22 Davin Meggett continues his OUSTANDING drive; getting 16 more yards on consecutive first down plays. Meggett will finish things off with a 2 yard TD run, and the Terps have done EXACTLY what I said they needed to on this drive; controlling the ball for 13 plays, 80 yards, and 6:44; which included a break at the end of the first quarter. The defense should be well rested when they come back out on the field, and they are again playing ahead; 14-12 with 13:46 to play in the half.

4:19 Navy made it interesting late; but couldn’t finish off a rally to get a 2nd straight win in front of a packed house at M&T Bank Stadium. Notre Dame is officially bowl eligible after holding on to win 27-21. The Irish will likely need a win over USC to be in the picture to face an ACC team in the Gator Bowl; as either Pitt or West Virginia will be available from the Big East, and each would be tough to pass over for a 7-5 Notre Dame team whose best win all season came over Navy.

4:18 Meggett gets ANOTHER tough 5 yard first down run on a slow developing play. He is really showing off his power in what is now again a POURING rain.

Meggett gets another 20 yards down to the 16, and we’ll go to the end of the first quarter with Carolina holding a 12-7 advantage but the Terps with a First and 10 in the red zone.

The way the Terps are running the ball right now in the rain; I don’t know why they would bother to throw a pass.

4:14 Terps keep moving the ball well on the ground and in the air, as Turner finds Oquendo for 5 on 3rd and 3 to get the Terps across midfield. Meggett remains the featured back; and keeps grinding out about 5 yards on every carry.

4:11 Boy was I wrong. Ronnie Tyler got right to the sticks and Turner found him for 18 yards and a first down to keep the drive moving. That’s a huge pass early in the game; as the Terps need to keep the defense on the bench.

4:10 Having a holding penalty negate a first down pass is not the way to put together long drives. The Terps now face 3rd and 16 from their own 14, and into the wind they might be forced to go with a draw.

4:09 Terps go to Meggett for balance to start this drive; and he gets 5 yards on first down. The Terps could use a long drive here to keep their beaten defense on the bench.

4:05 That didn’t take long. Sexton rolls hard to his right on 2nd down from the 41; and Anthony Wiseman was lulled to sleep, allowing Sexton to throw over the leap of Kenny Tate for a 59 yard TD pass to Cooter Arnold. Wacky play; and the Heels have re-taken a 12-7 advantage with 5:34 to play in the 1st. Discipline on rollout passes has been an issue for the Terps all season.

3:59 Two nice runs from Scott get the Terps down to the 7; and an offsides call on Carolina gives the Terps a first and goal inside the 4 yard line. On 2nd down; Scott barrels his way through for 6; and the Terps have gone ahead. Carolina’s run defense so far today has looked like Maryland’s run defense against Virginia Tech. 9 plays, 76 yards, but only 4 minutes come off as the Terps take a 7-5 lead with 6:26 to play in the first. The Terps are certainly guilty of scoring “too quickly” sometimes, and this start doesn’t bode well for dominating time of possession. But Da’Rel Scott certainly appears to have the ‘burst’ back that Ralph talks to much about.

3:57 Turner gets PLENTY of time to throw and DHB manages to find himself WIDE OPEN at the 18 to give the Terps a first down in the red zone.

3:54 Terps get out to a nice start on this drive; as Scott runs for 12, and then Torrey Smith takes a slant up to about midfield. The Terps have looked very good in run blocking.

Turner takes a shot downfield; and will come away with 15 yards on pass interference.

3:52 NC State has an early 7-0 lead on Wake today; as the Deacs try to stay alive in the Atlantic. Clemson blasted Duke 31-7 earlier today.

3:50 The younger brother of former Carolina kicker Connor Barth is true from 38; and the Heels extend their lead to 5-0 with 10:31 to play in the first quarter.

3:48 Sexton threw the ball RIGHT TO Trey Covington; but Covington didn’t realize it was coming until too late; and dropped a sure fire pick to set up 3rd down.

The Heels tried going underneath to Brooks Foster; but it wasn’t there. Barth will be kicking into the wind from 38.

3:47 A soft start for the Terps’ run defense; as following Nicks’ big play, the Heels go to the ground for 13 yards on the next two plays. Fokou finally gets a stop in the backfield on the Heels’ next first down.

3:45 Baltz was forced to free kick into the wind; and Carolina will be in business from their own 41. Cam Sexton comes out throwing; finding Hakeem Nicks on a nice in route that Nicks to Maryland’s 33. Nicks is a special player, and Butch Davis will want the ball in his hands a lot today.

3:41 Turner got 4 on a pass to Gronkowski; then 2 after Da’Rel Scott slipped; but an ill-placed pass to Gronkowski forces the Terps to punt.

And just like that, disaster strikes; and the wet football might be to blame. Schmitt’s snap sailed WELL over Travis Baltz’s head; and Baltz was forced to dive into the endzone for a safety after picking the ball up inside in the 5. 2-0 Carolina with 12:53 to play in the first; and the Terps will be forced to kick from their 20.

3:38 Maryland will start from the 20 after Casey Barth’s kick goes to the endzone. They open with a Turner pass to DHB that gets only about 2 yards after the ball was thrown low. The rain may have let up, but the footballs and the ground are clearly still wet. The Terps are going from right to left across your internet dial; and are going against the wind.

Da’Rel Scott’s health was still in question; but he looked pretty good on 2nd down; picking up 14. As of this moment, the Terps have 14 yards rushing today. That’s 26 more than the Virginia Tech.

3:35 Carolina has won the toss and chosen to defer. Maryland needs to set the pace early in this game and force the Heels to play from behind.

The weather is VERY strange today. I talked about how the weather took away some of the home field advantage in the NC State game because not only does it diminish the crowd; but the fans wearing yellow and orange ponchos take away from the “sea of red” opposing teams otherwise have to look at. The sun was actually poking through just a minute ago; and the rain has let up to create a somewhat pleasant afternoon. We’ll see how long that lasts.

3:30 Certainly a number of Bowl representatives in attendance today; including the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. My favorite game week experience at a Bowl Game was ABSOLUTELY the year Maryland played Tennessee in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl; as they put on OUTSTANDING events in Atlanta that week. And the coupons for free chicken strips the Bowl representatives gave out just strengthen my attitude for their game.

2:58 A shout out to my Perry Hall Gators; who were lead to a 4A regional semifinal win over Thomas Johnson by future Terp Dave Stinebaugh last night. Stinebaugh had 2 Touchdown receptions, 2 interceptions, and a fumble recovery to help the Gators win 34-0. They’ll face undefeated Linganore next.

2:55 Unlike the NC State game; today’s game IS available on TV, and it looks like a number of people are going to decide to pass on sitting out in the rain today and instead choose to watch from their living rooms. Hopefully the tailgate crowd won’t decide against coming in; as there were plenty of people grilling in the parking lots before the weather went south. Plus, we’re still more than a half hour away from kickoff.

Brad Nessler, Bob Greise, Paul Maguire and Stacey Dales are the TV crew for those of you staying home; and Bobby Ross is here to do the national radio broadcast.

For those of you still wavering on driving to the stadium-Former OL Todd Wike is the honorary captain.

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