Turnover Terrapins: 5 turnovers plague MD in 34-13 loss

September 26, 2009 | Luke Jones

Another week but the same story for the Maryland Terrapins.

Five Maryland turnovers led to 14 Rutgers points, as the Scarlet Knights knocked off the Terps in College Park, 34-13.

Though passing for 271 yards and a touchdown to LaQuan Williams, quarterback Chris Turner threw three interceptions—one of them returned for a touchdown by Antonio Lowery on the first play from scrimmage—and fumbled in the end zone, recovered by George Johnson for another Rutgers score.

Despite the senior’s poor performance, head coach Ralph Friedgen did not want to place blame solely on his quarterback’s shoulders, noting that everyone played poorly on the offensive side of the ball.

“Other guys have to be in the right places and do the right things, too,” he said.

Maryland actually led at halftime, 13-10, on the shoulders of an improved defense that played on a short field for most of the game. Don Brown’s unit had a goal-line stand in the second half, keeping the Terps ahead, 13-10, with 7:08 remaining in the third quarter.

After allowing over 400 yards in each of the first three games on the schedule, the Maryland defense held Rutgers—playing without starting quarterback Tom Savage—to only 249 total yards before wilting in the fourth quarter and allowing two long touchdown runs by Joe Martinek.

“We needed to finish that game out,” said linebacker Alex Wujciak, who led the Terps with 17 tackles and was all over the field for the defense. “We didn’t play well enough.”

The Terps struggled to generate any production out of the running game, gaining only 28 yards on 24 attempts.  Da’Rel Scott was held to just 22 yards on nine carries, and Davin Meggett had only 10 on three carries.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith was once again the star for the Maryland offense, but after accumulating 93 receiving yards in the first half, the speedy sophomore was held to only one catch and 19 yards after halftime. Williams’ 24-yard touchdown catch came in the second quarter.

In addition to the five turnovers that plagued the offense throughout the game, Maryland also committed 10 penalties for 85 yards, several coming at critical times during the game.

“We have to stop turning the ball over and we still have the penalties,” Friedgen said. “Over the years, it has become a trademark of ours that we don’t do things like that, and it seems that we can’t stop doing them this year.”

Despite the returns of left tackle Bruce Campbell and safety Jamari McCollough, the Terps lost punter Travis Baltz to a sprained ankle—forcing kicker Nick Ferrara to pull double-duty on punts and field goals—and right tackle Paul Pinegar.

Friedgen did not sound optimistic about Baltz’s chance of playing next week against Clemson in the ACC opener.

With the Terps now at 1-3 heading into conference play, critics will continue to question whether Friedgen is the right man to lead this team, even with offensive coordinator James Franklin waiting in the wings to become the next head coach.

“I’m sure it all starts with me,” he said. “It’s my responsibility to get these guys ready to play, and it’s my responsibility to get these things corrected. I am accountable too.”

Check out the box score here, and my live blog during the game below:

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6:31 p.m. — Turner’s fourth-down completion to Gary Douglas is far short of a first down, and Rutgers takes over on downs with 26 seconds remaining.

Victory formation, and that’s it.

Final score: Rutgers 34, Maryland 13.

Five turnovers.

6:30 p.m. — The only thing worse than the Maryland offense today may be the referee’s microphone in the rain. It’s been nearly impossible to hear him all day.

Cannon was down on the play, so the fumble is overturned and the Terps will keep it. However, Dill’s penalty will count, and the Terps are penalized 15 yards.

Turner fumbles on the next play (seriously, he did), but Justin Gilbert recovers for the Terps.

0:45 to go until this is mercifully over.

6:25 p.m. — Maryland moving the ball into Rutgers’ territory with less than two minutes to go.

Turner completes to Watson for five yards, setting up 3rd-and-1. He finds Cannon for a first down, BUT you guessed it, he fumbles. R.J. Dill is called for a late hit.

The play is under review. It would be Maryland’s SIXTH turnover if it stands.

6:23 p.m. — Maryland begins the drive at its own 35 with 3:22 to go.

Turner finds Cannon for a five-yard gain.

Except for the band and the Rutgers’ cheering section, this place is as empty as Camden Yards on a…well…any night.

6:21 p.m. — Martinek breaks a couple tackles around left-end and is gone for a 61-yard touchdown. Just an example of a tired defense that has given up there.

3 plays, 67 yards, 0:22 on the drive.

Te’s extra point is good.

Rutgers 34, Maryland 13

6:19 p.m. — Rutgers is just running out the clock here with a couple runs to Martinek.

It’s now 3rd-and-4, and Maryland will call a timeout.

Alex Wujciak has 17 tackles today. Too bad the offense kept putting the defense on a short field.

6:16 p.m. — On 2nd-and-18, Turner finds Galt for nine yards.

The senior quarterback then throws incomplete to Meggett.

Fourth down, and Ferrara is back to punt. This one’s over, unfortunately.

6:15 p.m. — Byrd is emptying very quickly as the Terps begin the drive at their own 24.

On first down, Turner is sacked by Eric LeGrand.

That’s about right.

6:13 p.m. — Martinek takes the ball off left tackle and he’s gone. 29 yards. Touchdown.

Rutgers leads Maryland, 27-13.

3 plays, 51 yards, 1:36

6:12 p.m. — On first down, Martinek carries around the left corner and finds big yardage, a 20-yard gain and a first down at the Maryland 31.

On the next play, Martinek is stopped after a gain of two. Hartsfield makes the stop for the Terps.

Rutgers is taking every second off the play clock, a great move by Schiano and his staff.

6:10 p.m. — Let’s see what the Terps can do on this drive. Not turning the ball over would be a nice start.

Turner fakes the hand-off and then under-throws a deep ball to Cannon that is nearly picked off by Ryan D’Imperio. Jeez.

Tommy Galt then catches a pass from the tight end position for a gain of five.

On 3rd-and-5, Turner cannot find anyone and tries to pick up the first. He’s short, and it’s 4th-and-3. Terps are going for it.

From the shotgun, Turner throws incomplete to Cannon despite a nice blitz pickup by Meggett (where were you earlier?).

Rutgers takes over at its own 49-yard line with 6:29 to go.

6:06 p.m. — After the timeout, Natale lines up in the shotgun and tries to throw deep but his arm is hit by A.J. Francis as he throws. Sanu recovers the ball all the way back at the 14 for Rutgers. HUGE play by Francis.

Dellaganna gets off a great punt to the Maryland 34, and Wiseman finds a little room to the Terps’ 44.

7:54 remaining in the fourth. Terps trail, 20-13.

6:03 p.m. — On first down, Martinek rushes for six yards to the Rutgers 33. Hartsfield then stops Martinek after only a yard on second down.

The Terps need a big play on third down. Schiano will use a timeout on 3rd-and-5.

6:01 p.m. — After the punt, Rutgers takes over at their own 18 with Lovelace at quarterback. The quarterback keeps it and is brought down by Wujciak and Harrell after a two-yard gain.

On the next play, Natale returns and tries to throw deep to Sanu on the near sideline, but it’s incomplete.

Brown catches the third-down pass, and it’s enough for a first down. 10:30 remaining in the game.

5:56 p.m. — On first down, Turner throws to Tyler he makes an amazing 16-yard, one-handed catch. Maybe that will get the offense–and crowd—going. Only the second first down for Maryland in the half.

After that, Turner throws a deep ball incomplete. On 2nd-and-10, he tries to find Smith on the sideline, but the speedy receiver is out of bounds.

On third down, working from the gun, Turner throws behind Tyler. Incomplete, and the Terps will punt.

5:53 p.m. — I just received a text message from Nestor complaining that he couldn’t watch the game on TV. If you’re reading this, you’re not missing much, buddy.

Maryland has turned the ball over five times today. Enough said.

5:51 p.m. — On 1st-and-10 from the Maryland 27, Martinek gains five yards.

The defense needs to make a play, because it’s clear the offense cannot do it, unless for the other team.

Martinek carries again but only for two yards, setting up 3rd-and-3 for Rutgers.

Natale cannot find an open man and runs before being knocked out of bounds by Wujciak. No gain on the play.

Te’s 42-yard field goal is good.

Rutgers leads 20-13 with 12:48 remaining in the game.

5:47 p.m. — Rutgers runs the ball twice for five yards, setting up 3rd-and-5 for the Scarlet Knights at the Terps’ 36.

Natale works out of the gun and finds Sanu underneath for a gain of nine yards and a first down.

By the way, that was the first third-down conversion by the Rutgers’ offense—not a penalty—in the second half. Thanks to Dave Preston for that little nugget.

5:44 p.m. — After Rutgers is offside on the kickoff, Torrey Smith returns the kick to the Maryland 37. The offense needs a positive drive here that doesn’t end in a turnover. Please.

Scott carries right, and, again, there’s nothing going for the Terps. He loses two yards as the Terps continue to have no success running the football.

On 2nd-and-12, Scott finds a seam for several yards BUT FUMBLES. It’s recovered by Rutgers at the Maryland 41-yard line.

Unbelievable. Terrible.

5:42 p.m. — Nine penalties for 72 yards for the Terps today, and a few have been declined or negated by a Rutgers’ penalty.

The lack of discipline on this team is a major problem.

The two defensive touchdowns for Rutgers today is the most the Scarlet Knights have had since Schiano took over in 2001.

5:38 p.m. — Rutgers is definitely winning the field position battle as Maryland is backed up again, this time at its own 10.

Turner throws incomplete to Cannon on first down, and we have a timeout for an injured Rutgers player. It’s Antonio Lowery, the linebacker who returned the first Chris Turner pass—and interception—of the game for a touchdown.

On 2nd-and-10, Meggett picks up three yards as the Terps continue to struggle picking up yards on the ground.

From the 13, Maryland’s right guard Andrew Gonnella is called for a false start. Another penalty.

And it just got worst. Turner is sacked by Lefeged and fumbles in the end zone. It’s recovered by George Johnson in the end zone for a Rutgers touchdown.

The play is reviewed and the touchdown confirmed.

Just mistake after mistake after mistake for this football team.

5:33 p.m. — Rutgers gains a yard on a short run on first down. The next play, Natale throws deep to Sanu but Wiseman is able to break up the under-thrown ball.

On 3rd-and-9, Natale rolls right and is pressured by Moten, forcing the incompletion.

Dellaganna’s punt goes to the 10 where Wiseman calls for a fair catch.

4:18 remaining in the third quarter.

5:30 p.m. — On 2nd-and-18, Meggett picks up three, so the Terps will need a big play on third down.

Feeling pressure, Turner tries to find LaQuan Williams but throws incomplete.

Ted Townsley will now be the punter. He fumbles the snap, but SOMEHOW manages to get the punt away. It rolls down to the Maryland 46, but Friedgen and the staff will take it.

It’s a 29-yard punt.

I still can’t exhale.

5:28 p.m. — Hopefully Smith can return shortly.

Turner completes a pass to Quintin McCree for six yards, but Maryland is flagged for a personal foul, moving the Terps all the way back to their own 14-yard line.

The referee’s microphone has been breaking in and out all day, so it was tough to hear what the call was.

Here’s a note to pass along regarding the Terps’ defense. Three of Rutgers’ last four first downs have come via the penalty. The Terps continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

5:23 p.m. — What a time for my computer to freeze up!

Maryland took over at their own 2, and Meggett received his first carry of the game, picking up a few yards.

Torrey Smith then took a Turner pass to pick up a first down and move the Terps to their own 22. However, Smith was injured on the play.

Not good.

5:19 p.m. — Brooks gains five yards on 1st-and-goal. On the next play, Brooks runs off the left guard for about four yards and down to the 1.

On 3rd-and-goal, Brooks is stood up short of the goal line by Skinner and Harrell.

Schiano’s going for it, and the Terps stuff Brooks!

Maryland takes over on downs as Wujciak and Moten stuff the Scarlet Knights running back!

5:17 p.m. — Brooks carries for one yard on first down and then gets the ball again but is wrapped up by Wujciak and Moten after only a two-yard gain.

Maryland’s D needs a stop here to pick up the offense.

On 3rd-and-7, Rutgers is flagged for a false start. Right guard Desmond Wynn jumped early.  After the five-yard penalty, Natale throws incomplete to Tim Brown. However, flag on the play.

Kenny Tate is flagged for pass interference on the play, giving the Scarlet Knights a first down at the Terps’ 10-yard line.

Too many critical penalties.

5:14 p.m. — On first down, Turner’s quick pass to Cannon only nets two yards after McCourty brings him down immediately.

The fullback Jackson then gets another carry, but the fullback loses two yards, setting up 3rd-and-10.

Turner’s pass is batted up in the air and intercepted by Billy Anderson. Serious protection issues there. Strong safety—and Maryland native—Joe Lefeged hit Turner’s arm as he threw.

Rutgers takes over at the Maryland 17-yard line.

5:12 p.m. — Teddy Dellaganna’s punt bounces into the end zone, and Maryland will begin its first series of the second half from the 20.

The Terps really need to get the ground game going. Thirteen carries and 34 yards just won’t get it done.

Despite throwing for 166 yards and a touchdown in the first half, Turner has thrown two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.

5:10 p.m. — Brooks carries for four yards on first down as Wujciak brings him down. We’ve heard the middle linebacker’s number a lot this afternoon.

On second down, Brooks picks up only three, setting up 3rd-and-3 from the Rutgers 49. Terps need a stop here.

Working out of the gun, Natale throws a bubble screen to Sanu, but it’s dropped. Rutgers will have to punt.

5:09 p.m. — Rutgers receives the kick to begin the second half, and the Knights return it to their own 26.

On first down, Natale gives it to Brooks straight up the middle, and Hartsfield brings him down after a gain of only one.

On 2nd-and-9, Natale works out of the shotgun and throws incomplete, intended for Mohamed Sanu. However, Antwine Perez is flagged for hitting a “defenseless” receiver, a personal foul.

The 15-yard penalty gives Rutgers a first down and moves the ball to the Rutgers 42.

5:05 p.m. — The Terps are having a big game through the air, accumulating 166 passing yards, but the running game is stagnant.

Scott has only 19 yards on seven carries, and we’ve yet to see Meggett in the backfield.

5:02 p.m. — A couple of injury notes to pass along before we start the second half.

Travis Baltz sustained a sprained ankle and is out for the rest of the game. No word on who will handle the punting duties. We saw Ferrara punt (or try to), so it could be him or backup Ted Townsley who came in as the holder after Baltz left the game.

Paul Pinegar suffered a back injury but could return. We’ll have to see whether or not he’s able to return to the right tackle position at some point in the second half.

4:45 p.m. — Jack Corcoran returns the kick to the Scarlet Knights’ 33-yard line with eight seconds to go.

Natale will take a knee, and we’ve reached halftime.

Maryland leads, 13-10.

Back with some first half thoughts in a few minutes.

4:44 p.m. — On 3rd-and-11, Turner lofts a beautiful ball to Williams into the end zone, but the junior cannot bring it in. Looks like it could’ve been caught.

Ferrara’s 34-yard attempt is partially blocked, but the pigskin still finds it way between the uprights.

Maryland leads 13-10 with 11 seconds to go until halftime.

13 plays, 58 yards, 4:09 on the drive. Impressive work by the offense to take the lead as we approach halftime.

4:41 p.m. — On 2nd-and-10 from the 16, Turner finds Scott out of the backfield for a loss of one on the play. Maryland must burn its final time out.

Not the most creative play call there, and it’s compounded by Scott’s inability to get out of bounds.

4:40 p.m. — On 3rd-and-5 from the 25, Turner hits the big tight end Matt Furstenburg for nine yards and a first down!

Turner then goes to the end zone to Tyler, but the receiver is out of the back of the end zone.

4:38 p.m. — After the timeout, Turner completes the slant to Tyler. He breaks a tackle and almost breaks another after a 15-yard gain.

Turner then completes a pass to Lansford Watson for five yards. On second down, Turner runs for no gain.

Maryland will use its second timeout with 49 seconds remaining in the first half.

4:37 p.m. — Turner feels the pressure on first down and takes off for a gain of 15 yards. And who said the senior quarterback couldn’t run?

Maryland is now in Rutgers’ territory with under two minutes to play in the first half.

Scott runs left but is finding very little running room. He breaks two tackles but only picks up three yards.

Yes, Davin Meggett is on the sideline and dressed, but he has not received a carry so far in the first half.

4:35 p.m. — Scott carries left on first down and picks up six yards. The Terps need to get the running game going as the rain continues to fall.

Scott carries again for two yards, setting up third down.

On 3rd-and-2 from the 33, Turner works out of the shotgun and fakes the pass left before keeping and picking up the first down. He took a pretty good shot at the end of the play, but four yards will move the chains for the Terps.

4:33 p.m. — Brooks runs with a very physical style, and the Terps are having some difficulty with it.

As I type that, however, Brooks carries for two yards and then is stopped for no gain (the reverse psychology works well sometimes!).

On 3rd-and-8, Natale throws low to Marcus Cooper who cannot rein it in.

Te’s 42-yard attempt is actually a fake to Shamar Graves who tries to throw deep. Incomplete, and Maryland will take over at the 25. That was an UGLY fake.

4:31 p.m. — Natale is back in there after getting his bell rung on the last drive, and he carries out a great play fake and throws deep to Tim Brown, but Kenny Tate does an outstanding job breaking it up.

However, Maryland is called for a 10-yard penalty. Ugh.

Brooks then picks up nine yards on first down and then carries again to pick up the first down. Rutgers will now get a fresh set of downs from the Maryland 27.

4:27 p.m. — Turner is sacked by George Johnson for a loss of six yards on first down.

On second down, Turner is picked off by Devin McCourty as Johnson hit the quarterback as he threw. Rutgers will take over at midfield.

On top of the turnover, Maryland right tackle Paul Pinegar is injured on the play. Just when the Terps get Bruce Campbell back, they lose their other tackle.

4:24 p.m. — It’s a steady rain here in College Park as Turner can’t find anyone and throws it away on first down.

On 2nd-and-10, Turner gives it to Scott out of the shotgun formation, and the tailback picks up five yards. It’s been a slow start for the running game, but the Terps have had much success in the air.

On 3rd-and-5, Maryland is flagged for a false start, pushing them back to the original line of scrimmage. Those are the types of mistakes that have plagued the Terps all season.

Turner gets great time and throws over the middle to Adrian Cannon for a gain of 20 yards. The ball was thrown behind him and could have been picked off if Cannon hadn’t made such a great adjustment to the ball.

4:22 p.m. — Wiseman fields the punt and is crunched immediately by Devin McCourty at the 10. Probably should’ve called a fair catch there.

Maryland’s fortunate that he held onto the ball after that hit.

The Terps will begin their next drive deep in their own territory with 9:30 remaining in the half.

4:19 p.m. — Brooks gets another carry and moves the chains again after an eight-yard gain.

Natale is absolutely CRUSHED by Demetrius Hartsfield as the quarterback throws incomplete. He was slow getting up after that one!

Lovelace then enters the game and hands off to Martinek. Wujciak brings him down for no gain, setting up 3rd-and-10 from the Rutgers 43.

Lovelace stays in the game on third down and tries to run up the middle. Skinner brings him down after a gain of six, and the Scarlet Knights must punt.

4:17 p.m. — After Ferrara kicks it into the end zone, the Scarlet Knights will start at their own 20 with the score tied at 10.

On first down, we get our first look at Jourdan Brooks who carries for no gain after Wujciak brings him down.  Brooks then finds the right corner for 10 yards and a first down before being pushed out by Jamari McCollough.

Brooks then takes it up the middle for five yards.

4:14 p.m. — With Baltz out, Maryland now must use Ted Townsley at holder, so the injury will not only affect the punting game but also the field goal team.

No word on the severity of Baltz’s injury.

4:12 p.m. — Turner runs the same fake hand-off left and throws right to LaQuan Williams who takes it all the way for the Maryland touchdown!

The Rutgers’ defensive backs are giving the Maryland receivers a huge cushion.

3 plays, 68 yards, 1:45.

4:09 p.m. — Smith returns the ensuing kickoff 20 yards to the Maryland 32-yard line.

Turner works out of the shotgun and throws right to Smith who breaks a couple of tackles on his way to a 40-yard gain, all the way to the Rutgers’ 28.

You HAVE to get the ball in Smith’s hands. He makes plays…BIG ones.

4:07 p.m. — Te will attempt a 24-yard field goal, and the kick is good.

Rutgers 10, Maryland 3.

Considering the defense has started with a short field behind them twice, it hasn’t been a bad effort by Brown’s unit so far.

4:05 p.m. — Lovelace fakes the hand-off and runs right, picking up nine yards, setting up 3rd-and-1 from the 14.

Natale returns and gives the ball to Martinek right up the middle. Jared Harrell brings him down, but Rutgers picks up just enough for the first down.

On 1st-and-10, Lovelace is back in and runs straight ahead out of the shotgun formation. He picks up six yards before Wiseman brings him down. Rutgers is now inside the 10, and the Maryland defense needs a stop.

On 2nd-and-4, Lovelace keeps but is brought down after only a 1-yard pickup.

Natale, working out of the shotgun, tries to throw to Tony Trahan, but it’s incomplete. Rutgers will have to settle for a field goal, but we’ve reached the end of the first quarter.

4:01 p.m. — On first down from the Maryland 23, Martinek runs right for no gain. The Terps’ defense looks more aggressive today than I’ve seen them at any point this season—not saying much, I know.

On 2nd-and-10, Lovelace enters the game at quarterback, but Schiano will burn his second timeout.

3:59 p.m. — The defense will once again be on a short field as Rutgers begins the drive on the Terps’ 36.

The injury to Baltz did not look pretty, so we’ll have to see what his status is for the remainder of the game.

Natale is sacked by Adrian Moten on first down, moving the Scarlet Knights back to the 39.  Good pressure from the Maryland defense early.

Martinek carries for Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights are flagged for holding. Lots of penalties early on.

On 2nd-and-21, Natale throws to Martinek out of the backfield for a gain of 14.

Natale works from the shotgun on third down, and Ivey ALMOST gets to him again before the quarterback takes off, picking up the first down.

3:55 p.m. — On the punt, Travis Baltz is injured as the Rutgers defender roughs the punter.

However, Maryland is also penalized, taking away a 15-yard penalty and a first down. The penalties will offset.

Ferrara has to punt with Baltz out, and—you guessed it—he shanked it. Rutgers will take over at the Maryland 36.

What else can happen to this team?

3:52 p.m. — Scott gets the ball on first down, but he’s wrapped up by Scott Vallone for a loss of two.

On 2nd-and-8, Scott carries again by Maryland is called for holding, moving them all the way back to the 5-yard line.

On 2nd-and-17, Turner keeps it and cannot get out of his own backfield.

Turner takes the shotgun on third down and throws underneath to Smith, but he’s well short of the first down.

Outside of the long completion to Smith on the last drive, the offense has done nothing.

3:49 p.m. — After the timeout, Natale completes to Martinek down to the Terps’ 30 and a first down.

Jabu Lovelace comes in and keeps the ball on the option. No gain on the play, as the Terps should be used to playing the option after the last two games.

Natale comes back in on second down and gives to Martinek. Wujciak brings him down after a two-yard gain.

On 3rd-and-8, Rutgers is flagged for a false start and a five-yard penalty.

Natale works out of the shotgun and is sacked by Travis Ivey for a loss of four. Big play by the Terps’ defense there to set up a long field goal attempt.

San San Te lines up to kick, but Rutgers takes a delay game and will bring out the punting unit after Maryland declines the penalty.

Anthony Wiseman calls for a fair catch at his own 12, and Maryland will take over.

Nice job by the defense after the kickoff was returned to Maryland territory.

3:43 p.m. — The kick only goes to the 20 and is returned all the way to the Maryland 46-yard line. Ferrara got completely trucked.

On first down, Joe Martinek takes the carry for six yards and is wrestled down by Kenny Tate.

Rutgers must burn an early timeout on 2nd-and-4.

3:41 p.m. — On 3rd-and-10, Turner tries to throw underneath to Ronnie Tyler, but he drops it.

Nick Ferrara will attempt a 38-yard field goal.

The kick is good, and Maryland’s offense is on the board. Rutgers 7, Maryland 3.

The highlight was clearly the long pass to Smith on the first series, but the drive fell apart after that.

3:38 p.m. — On 1st-and-10 from the 21, Maryland is flagged for illegal motion, pushing them back five yards. The Terps need to limit the penalties.

Scott carries on the next play and only gains a yard.

On 2nd-and-14, Scott runs off right tackle for four yards, setting up a third down with 10 yards to go.

3:36 p.m. — Let’s try this again.

Smith takes the kickoff and returns it to the Maryland 34-yard line.

This time, the Terps start in the I-formation and Turner throws the bomb to Torrey Smith all the way down to the Rutgers’ 21, a 45-yard completion.

What a start to this one!

3:34 p.m. — If you’re just joining us here on WNST.net, Maryland is already losing 7-0…13 seconds into the game…and they received the opening kickoff.

Let’s hope it’s just a blip on the radar, but…wow.

3:32 p.m. — Torrey Smith takes the opening kickoff to the Maryland 33 where we’ll get our first look at Chris Turner and the offense.

Working out of the shotgun, Turner is picked off on the first play of the game by linebacker Antonio Lowery. Returned for a 36-yard touchdown.

So much for a good start.

3:30 p.m. — Rutgers wins the toss but elects to defer to the second half. The Terps will get the ball to start the game.

The Terps need to get off to a good start in this one. If not, we could see the Byrd crowd quickly turn sour.

3:28 p.m. — We’ve just received word in the press box that Greg Schiano’s Scarlet Knights will start Domenic Natale at quarterback today instead of Savage.

As I said earlier, Savage was knocked out of last week’s game with a concussion.

Natale is a senior with limited experience, so look for Don Brown’s defense to get after the quarterback this afternoon.

3:25 p.m. — The weather forecast calls for rain showers throughout the afternoon, so we’ll see how it affects both offenses.

Rutgers has two good running backs in Brooks and Joe Martinek.

Of course, the Terps have all-conference tailback Da’Rel Scott who rushed for 117 yards last week but had two critical fumbles that landed him on the bench in favor of Davin Meggett.

Friedgen stressed that he hasn’t lost faith in the junior back, but we’ll see how the coaching staff reacts if Scott cannot hold onto the ball in rainy conditions. Further complicating the situation is the fact that Meggett has not exactly run all over the competition when given touches. The sophomore has averaged only 3.1 yards per carry.

3:16 p.m. — Just a few pregame notes to pass along as we’re less than 15 minutes from kickoff:

* The Terps will welcome back the Decades Reunion football teams. Teams from the last six decades—dating back to 1949—will be honored. No word on whether any of these players will be offering their services for the game today.

* Defensive end Jared Harrell will carry the American flag on to the field today, and cornerback Anthony Wiseman—a DeMatha product—will bring the Maryland flag onto the field.

* Rutgers brings seven players back to their home state this afternoon, including starting running back Jourdan Brooks and strong safety Joe Lefeged.

Maryland has a number of key players from the Garden State such as linebacker Alex Wujciak, center Phil Costa, punt returner Tony Logan, and defensive back Antwine Perez.

3:09 p.m. — Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage is dressed and warming up on the field, a good indication that he will start after sustaining a concussion last week against Florida International.

The Terps will welcome back left tackle Bruce Campbell and safety Jamari McCollough who have each missed the last two games with foot injuries. Campbell’s return allows Paul Pinegar to return to his starting right tackle spot.

It will be interesting to see what Maryland does at the safety position with McCollough dressed to play. Ralph Friedgen and the coaching staff was very high on sophomore Kenny Tate throughout preseason practice, but the 6-foot-4 safety has not been much of a factor since taking over for McCollough. Tate is still listed as the starting strong safety on today’s flip chart with Terrell Skinner at the free safety position.

2:58 p.m. — We’re live from a rainy Byrd Stadium as the teams are out on the field going through their pregame warm-ups.

The Terps (1-2) desperately need a win to close out their non-conference schedule before kicking off ACC play next Saturday against Clemson.

Just a reminder that the game is only being shown on ESPN360 (again!), so stay with WSNT.net throughout the afternoon for everything Terps. Comcast SportsNet will air a replay of the Maryland-Rutgers game at 8 p.m. on Sunday night.

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