Maryland-Cal Live Blog

September 13, 2008 | Glenn Clark

4:45-Cal Coach Jeff Tedford would not blame the early kickoff for his team’s performance, saying “no excuses, whatsoever. We prepared well, we stuck to a plan. The Kids were up this morning focused and ready to go.” Tight End Tad Smith echoed that, but mentioned that Maryland might have had an advantage due to the weather, as Cal had never played in that type of humidity before.

That’s gonna do it for me here. I’ll get some analysis up tonight or tomorrow; depending on USC/Ohio State and my interest in watching Michael Phelps host SNL.

-G

4:26-Allright, let’s dissect Ralph’s post-game.

Starting with Chris Turner-Ralph said Chris did a better job of “finding the open guy” and “not forcing things.” Chris in turn said he felt “comfortable”, but couldn’t exactly explain why. “Maybe because we were the underdogs.” Chris went on to say that he wasn’t surprised by the reaction of fans this week, since Maryland “lost to a team they should have beat.” But he said Ralph was helpful because “he never gets down on us.”

Chris went on to say that he does not think about a potential re-start of the QB competition when Jordan returns, and said that as a California guy, beating Cal was “kinda like his Rutgers”, referring to the many New Jersey athletes on the team who got a win over the Scarlet Knights last season.

Moving on to Da’Rel Scott, Ralph said that after he left, he was examined and everything was clean. Da’Rel could have returned in the 2nd half, but they would have risked him taking another hit. He will be further examined tomorrow, but it does not appear as though they expect him to miss any time. Ralph actually spoke much more glowingly about Scott’s pass blocking than his running, saying he was concerned about the size of Cal’s LB’s.

Also on the injury front, Richard Taylor will be getting an MRI tomorrow, and Nolan Carroll was “battling a few things.” Ralph admitted that with Taylor and Carroll banged up, and Terrell Skinner already out, the secondary was somewhat patchwork in the 2nd half.

Ralph admitted that he openly challenged this team last night. He looked at his players and asked “Who in this room has been told they’re not good enough?” He admitted that he was one of those people. He then asked “How does that make you feel?” He said he then reminded his players that they had a chance on National TV to respond to those people who didn’t think they were good enough. Ralph admitted that he didn’t know if his challenge had hit home, as his players don’t respond the way some of his first teams did.

Even before the game, Ralph said he thought his players seemed tight, so he attempted to crack some jokes with them. Chris Turner admitted that not all of Ralph’s jokes hit home since Ralph is a bit older than the players.

Ralph admitted that Field Goal kicking (namely one Obi Egekeze) “is a concern” and he said is “probably going to do something about it”; whether it be making a change at kicker or opening a competition.

And while he was pleased with the sacks the defense was able to get, he said they “should have had more” and admitted he was “worried about the defense wearing out” in the 2nd half. He also added that the defense “can’t miss tackles”, and that they have improved with more open-field tackling in practice.

Overall, Ralph creditted his coaches and said it was a “very very good win for our program.” He said the win “should do a lot for our confidence.”

Ralph added that he “has enough problems to worry about what people are saying about him in the media”, but said the media might be at fault for the kids not getting his message as much.

Eastern Michigan is up next, and Ralph says he “will be on” the players all week to avoid a letdown.

3:28-Danny Oquendo is the smartest man in the room. Instead of trying to recover a wobbly kick, he batted the ball out of bounds. Chris Turner will go to the knee, and Maryland will get the win.

If you’ll remember; while I didn’t pick Maryland to win; I did say 35 was the magic number. They got it, and they’re going to get a very important win for the season, the coach, and the program.

Let’s make it final. Maryland 35, Cal 27. Back with more after Ralph talks.

3:25-An early departing crowd has helped kept this stadium very quiet while Cal marches downfield. Fans maybe should consider sticking around.

With 1:55 left, Riley finds Tucker for another TD. Cal is now within 35-27. This is just a 1 possession game now; Maryland needs to recover a kick and hold on.

3:24-With just 2:20 to play and no timeouts, Cal has marched to Maryland’s 25. Its not over yet.

3:20-Here’s a question that I MIGHT pose for Ralph. If Cal really was one of the best teams to ever come to Maryland, should the Terps put up a headstone in the graveyard for the win?

Meanwhile, Obi Egekeze might be asking for Nick Wallace to replace him; as he pushes a chip shot wide left. Cal takes over at the 20 with 3 minutes to play, Egekeze is still ofer on the season.

3:14-Maryland recovers again at Cal’s 40. Meggett will have another chance to run the clock out; but Cal will try to stop it.

Clemson finishes off a 27-9 win over NC State.

3:13-Maybe I spoke too soon again. Riley methodically moves the Bears downfield, and finds Smith for a 9 yard TD. Just 1:14 came off the clock. I imagine they’ll try another onside kick, trailing 35-20 with 5 minutes to play.

Navy and Duke are final. 41-31 Duke win.

3:11-David Steele saw this coming in his last column. Performances like this sometimes make it more frustrating to follow the Terps than it is to follow a team that is just plain bad. All you can hope for is consistency; and the Terps will need to prove they can handle success the same way they handled disappointment last week.

3:06-Davin Meggett wants to slam that door shut. A first down run gets 38 yards to the 1; then he follows that with a 1 yard TD run to make things 35-13 Maryland. Who would have ever thought we’d see an early-leaving crowd due to a Maryland blowout???

3:01-Jarod Bryant intercepted in the 4th. Not a good sign for the Mids; who trail by ten. It looks like they will fall to 1-2.

Meanwhile, Cal goes for the onside kick (seems early for that); and Maryland takes over at Cal’s 39. Cal is one Maryland score away from being down three possessions again, so I’m not sure I agree with that decision; especially with Maryland having not gotten the run going on the last couple drives.

2:58-Riley finds Morrah for a 9 yard TD strike. 6:55 left to play in the 4th-Maryland 28, Cal 13. You certainly don’t want a sleeping giant waking up.

2:57-A questionable Pass Interference call on Kevin Barnes bails Cal out on 4th and 15; and gives them a first and goal from the 10. 7 minutes left.

2:54-In his blog today, The Sun’s Mike Preston asks why the NFL doesn’t move the Texans-Ravens game to Baltimore. If Mike had been listening to WNST this week, he would understand that the league learned from this mistake with the Saints-Giants debacle following Katrina. Atlanta and New Orleans might be options, but Baltimore is not. If there is structural damage to Reliant Stadium, they shouldn’t even blink before moving the game to a neutral location as quickly as possible.

2:52-Just as a reminder, coverage is underway on AM1570 WNST and WNST.net; as Towson travels to Richmond today to take on the Spiders. Kickoff in 8 minutes.

2:50-Duke has opened a 41-31 lead over Navy in the 4th. Without a passing game, Navy could be in trouble. The EagleBank Bowl is currently panicking somewhere. The worst ACC team SHOULD beat Navy however, so this is good for the ACC as a league.

2:45-Morgan Green can’t get anything going on 1st or 2nd down, and a 3rd down screen is stopped short. Travis Baltz gets a GREAT bounce and a 55 yard punt; and Cal must start inside their 5.

2:41-Just getting pressure makes all the difference. Navarre pressures Riley on 4th and 7, Riley responds by overthrowing before getting sacked. Maryland gets the ball back with 14 minutes left. Morgan Green in the backfield.

2:37-A downright miraculous elusion and throw to Jahvid Best by Kevin Riley, and Cal gets a first down at Maryland’s 48.

3rd quarter ends after a 9 yard run by Best. Maryland 28-6. They need to run the ball hard in the 4th to finish this.

2:35-They’re coming in numbers now that the Terps know Cal has to throw. Sack number 5 today is split between Muhtadi and Costa. A nice breakup by Nolan Carroll leaves the Bears with a 3rd and 16 from their own 34.

2:33-A dangerous screen pass on 3rd and 19 is knocked down; and after just one first down on this drive, Maryland will give the ball back with 1:25 to play in the 3rd.

2:32-More scoring in Durham, as Duke and Navy trade scores; Duke leads 34-31 as the 3rd quarter comes to a close.

2:29-Attendance announced at 49,527. Certainly a disappointing number for such a major opponent.

I don’t mean to downplay the Da’Rel Scott injury news. His return shouldn’t be needed this afternoon, and he probably wouldn’t be necessary next Saturday against EMU either. But the Terps need Da’Rel Scott if they want to compete for an ACC Crown. Make no mistake about it.

2:27-Did I curse him? Da’Rel Scott has injured his left shoulder and has been taken in for a MRI. His return is questionable. Will pass along details as I get them. Meggett has the chance to make Scott’s return unnecessary.

Jared Harrell adds a sack, and Maryland takes the ball at their own 12 with 3:57 to play in the 3rd.

2:25-Another sack for the Terps; another from Moise Fokou on delayed pressure. Riley tried to spin out again, but the Bears will face 3rd and 25 from Maryland’s 46.

2:20-On the opposite side, Da’Rel Scott-who had outgained Jahvid Best coming in anyway; has 87 yards on 19 carries and 2 TD’s thus far. I’m not saying he’s a Heisman candidate; but he’s probably going to put up numbers that will have many people take notice.

2:18-Jahvid Best’s Heisman candidacy took off last week, but has been stymied here in College Park. 6 rushes, just 1 yard.

DHB’s TD catch was the 10th of career. He’s now in a 6-way tie for 7th place on Maryland’s all-time TD receiving list.

2:16-Duke strikes first in the second half; they have a 27-24 advantage over Navy. I see that one headed to overtime.

2:12-Man that’s big. Turner doesn’t miss DHB this time; who hauls in a 27 yard pass in single coverage-middle of the endzone. 9 plays, 65 yards, 4:16. 28-6 Maryland. Getting the early breaks and taking the early lead has REALLY put the Terps in a good spot.

2:09-Ed, it is hard for defenses to even consider something besides a run when it comes to Portis. Franklin did have him throw a dump in the flat; but that was really just another run. They also had him run a reverse with DHB. But at some point, they need to put him in to start a drive, and have him run more than 2 plays; mixing run and pass. They just have to keep defenses honest.

Davin Meggett in the game and showing off some power; strong 2nd down run gives the Terps a first down at Cal’s 30. The run will be crucial to the Terps finishing this game off.

2:05-Huge stop on a mid-range 4th down for the Terps; keeping Cal from scoring on a short field. Scott has shaken off the fumble, and has the Terps up near midfield again.

I just spoke with Eric Decosta, who thinks the NFL will try to play this game Monday. As I figured, losing the bye week would be VERY costly to both teams, who have been practicing all week.

An interesting note should the game be moved to Atlanta; as tickets would likely be given away for free. How do you think Atlanta fans would react to Texans’ QB Matt Schaub; who was traded away right before the Vick debacle?

1:58-Da’Rel Scott opens the 2nd half with a COSTLY fumble; and Cal will take over at Maryland’s 40. This was not how the Terps wanted to start the second half. Credit Keith Browner with forcing Scott’s fumble.

1:50-If you haven’t heard; a teleconference will be held late this afternoon regarding the future of the Ravens-Texans game. The details on the possible bye week swap are in my Friday offering of Crabs and Beer. Hopefully the game could be played Monday at a neutral site; but it doesn’t look good. Maybe the Texans should have been practicing in Atlanta this week like the Saints did in Indianapolis before Gustav.

1:45-Anyone want to offer an early thought on Ohio State-USC? I actually think the BUckeyes’ defense will keep things interesting, and USC will win by something like a score of 34-27. But the game should be entertaining, not the blowout that is becoming a trendy thought.

1:38-Attention former Baltimore Raven Tommy Knight: Iowa is leading Iowa State by a score of just 3-0 at the half. That’s not a good thing. Big Ten doesn’t look overwhelming in Minneapolis either; as the Gophers lead just 21-13 over Montana State.

1:36-A flurry of scoring in the final minute in Durham; as Navy got a TD run from Doyle with :22 to play; but Duke responded with a 52 yard FG as time expired. The Mids are up 24-20 at the Half there.

1:34-When you give a QB and his receivers time; they will find each other. Cal marches to the 8; and the Terps are fortunate that no timeouts forced Cal to attempt a FG; which was missed off the left upright.

We’ll go to the half-Maryland 21, Cal 6. Don’t think the Terps could have imagined much better than this.

1:31-Travis Baltz came up with a huge punt when the Terps needed it. From MD’s 46; Cal is chucking the ball with just 30 seconds to play.

1:27-Maryland plays it sae and has Turner dive to the 2. Cal is now out of timeouts; but the Terps will have to run the ball here on 3rd and 9; with 1:36 still to play.

1:25-A BEAUTIFUL punt by Anger forces the Terps to start with the ball on the 1. Da’Rel Scott JUST avoids the safety on first down; and Cal will try to save some time and force a punt here.

1:23-Navy has tied things up at 17 in the 2nd; Clemson has extended their lead to 17-6 in the 2nd.

Dave Philistin snuffs out a short pass to Vereen on 3rd and 7; Cal will be forced to punt back to the Terps with 2 minutes to play in the half.

1:21-Riley eludes pressure, finds Morrah for a 13 yard gain and first down. The Terps MUST find ways to finish sacks.

1:18-If you’re not signed up for the WNST Family text service, you missed the news regarding Ravens-Texans by about an hour. Shame on you. Go to the front page and MAKE SURE you get signed up.

Meanwhile, Kevin Barnes just made a hit that was absolutely felt in the press box. Wow. That was THUNDEROUS. Nicely done to break up a pass in the flat.

1:14-The Terps attempt to throw the ball with Josh Portis; but he sails a receiver in the flat for a 6 yard loss on a lateral/fumble. Turner is then sacked, presenting a 4th and long from Maryland’s own 41. Establishing Portis is still key to this offense.

1:11-I will reitterate that Maryland’s running game is FINE without Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore. Da’Rel Scott has done nothing but continue to carry the load. If Maryland can establish the run with a 2 possession lead; the afternoon could shorten on the Bears.

1:08-A Clemson FG extends their lead to 10-6 over NC State in the 2nd quarter.

With Carolina’s win over Rutgers this week, Maryland’s showing today against Cal could be important to trying to shake the thought that the ACC is the worst of the BCS conferences.

1:04-Torrey Smith catches a pass in the flat; but fumbles after a 5 yard game. Cal LB Zach Follett recovers Darian Hagan’s forced fumble.

Cal starts with the ball on the 32, but Philistin blows up a Best run in the backfield for a loss of 3. So far, Best has 5 carries for -1 yards.

1:02-It didn’t start well (DHB can’t control a first down floater; then Turner sacked for a loss of 6); but Turner steps up on 3rd and 16 and delivers a STRIKE to DHB for a first down. Maryland is now 4/4 on 3rd down-which most people think is a good thing.

12:59-A Shun White fumble has been returned for a TD in Durham. The Devils have a 17-14 lead over the Mids in the 2nd quarter.

A nice return by Torrey Smith gives the Terps the ball on Cal’s 39.

12:57-Riley overthrows Jones on a 3rd down fade route; and the Terps again avoid breaking inside the 20. Cal adds a FG; making the score 21-6.

Late arriving crowd? I get the feeling the many empty seats in the upper deck have more to do with last week’s loss to MTSU. However, despite the fact that Cal was an anticipated major opponent; west coast teams don’t normally travel east well.

12:56-If you want to talk to me during the game, I am available via IM at glennclark1570. I will also respond to any and all comments.

12:54-3rd and long is not the right time to give Riley and his receivers time and space. A Cunningham catch gives the Bears a first down inside the 20.

12:50-A nice mix of run and pass has Cal moving the ball to Maryland’s 42. Since Fokou’s sack on Cal’s first drive, the Terps really haven’t done much to get pressure on Riley. They’ll credit Costa with a sack here; but that was more of a roll out by Riley.

12:45-Elsewhere, Navy leads Duke 14-10 at the end of the 1st; and Clemson has a 7-6 advantage over NC State in the first.

Turner lofts one to Dan Gronkowski; TD Maryland. Egekeze adds the XP to take a 21-3 lead. 60 yards, 14 plays, 5 minutes. Well executed drive.

12:42-What a first quarter for the Terps. Maybe jet lag really is a factor for Cal! 14-3 Terps, with a 2nd and goal from the 2 looming.

12:41-Nifty footwork from Da’Rel Scott turns a 3rd & 12 screen pass into a first down at the 12. Da’Rel then tried throwing the ball, but overthrew Chris Turner in the flat. Liked the play call though. A dump over the middle gives Maryland a first and goal from the 2.

12:38-Chris Turner delivers a STRIKE to Oquendo on 3rd down, and the Terps have the ball on Cal’s 23. Turner needs to be careful about zeroing in on his receiver however.

12:35-Back to back first downs for the Terps have them inside Cal’s 40. A nice mix of run and pass. Apparently Chris Turner doesn’t realize just how fast DHB is; as he had Cal CB Syd’Quan Thompson beat on a long ball, but Turner couldn’t put it out there far enough.

12:33-As a note, Josh Portis was used on the last Maryland drive; but still did not throw the ball. He ran a nice reverse with DHB however.

12:31-A promising Cal drive is stymied by the Terps inside the 20, and the Bears are forced to settle for a 30 yard FG. 14-3 Terps. As a note, the 14 points Maryland has scored is more than what Cal’s first 2 opponents (Washington St. & Michigan State) were able to COMBINE to score in the first half of their games. Thanks to MD media relations. The 14 points is also equal to the amount Maryland scored TOTALLY in each of their first two games.

12:29-We are trying to sort out the Ravens situation even while I am blogging today’s game. Eric Decosta (Ravens Director of College Scouting) is here; as is Texans Color Analyst Andre Ware. Nestor and Casey are working the text and talking to everyone they can. If I hear something, I will pass it along!

12:22-So while I was struggling to get online, Maryland got off to an absolute DREAM start. Moise Fokou recorded Maryland’s FIRST sack of the season on 3rd & 10 to stop Cal’s first drive after a holding penalty negated an earlier first down. After Maryland got the ball; Da’Rel Scott punctuated a 6 play drive with a 24 yard TD run.

A Kevin Barnes INT set up Maryland with a short field, and Maryland again punctuated it with a Scott TD to take a 14-0 lead. Cal is starting to get their running game going, as Best and Vereen have the Bears inside the Terps’ 30. Let’s go live!

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