Maryland-Eastern Michigan Live Blog

September 20, 2008 | Glenn Clark

4:55-Contrast these answers:

Ralph Friedgen said he was “not happy with Thursday’s defensive practice”; called his defense “lethargic”; said the defense didn’t “play as well as we’re capable of playing”, and said the “intensity and focus were not there.”

Speaking about the whole team, Ralph said the team must practice harder; and if they “wanna be good, (they) gotta work at it.” He called himself “frustrated” with the practice habits of some players, and even went as far as to say “somr of these kids don’t have a whole lot of games left.”

Cornerback Kevin Barnes added that playing down to the level of the competition has “been the weakness of the team” since he’s been at Maryland.

But when QB Chris Turner was asked if Maryland might not have been ready for Eastern Michigan; he denied, saying they “didn’t want to go through Middle Tennessee again.”

I find it almost impossible to believe that Maryland would have gone into today’s game not remembering what happened in Murfeesboro, and not taking it with them into today’s game. But if the Head Coach is clearly frustrated with the level of intensity his team is showing; wouldn’t the starting QB want to echo such statements?

Chris went on to say that although he’s not a senior; it is “everyone’s responsibility” to get up for a game, and while he’s not a vocal leader, he does “get vocal at times”, especially during games.

Maryland beat Eastern Michigan today, and beat them by a reasonably large margin. However, they did not put this Eagles team away until the 4th quarter; and didn’t seem to bring the same intensity they brought to last week’s win over #23 Cal.

The offense was playing without its top running back in Da’Rel Scott, who Ralph said “could have played” if they needed him. Ralph said that by resting Scott, they expect to have him back to “80% percent” by Monday, which would be important if he is to return to the field next Saturday at Clemson.

In his stead, the offense relied on the RB combo of Davin Meggett and Morgan Green; who combined for just 63 yards-but tallied two TD’s from Green. The rushing attack was boosted significantly by a late 80 yard drive; all of which was gained on the legs of QB Josh Portis, and from two reverses ran by WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, who picked up 81 yards.

But Ralph admitted that sometimes his offense scored “too fast” today, which lead to the up and down nature of the ball-game. He said his defense “couldn’t get off the field”, and wished his team “would have taken more time to score”. A balanced rushing attack lead by a healthy Da’Rel Scott could certainly have been a benefit there. Even QB Chris Turner admitted that he “prefers to run the ball”, and “couldn’t say (the offense) didn’t miss Da’Rel.” It was clear throughout the game that as potent as they were; this offense is better off when #23 can set the tone.

Defensively, Ralph placed a lot of the blame on “breakdowns” from his linebackers. He also said that they were hurt by playing without Skinner, Carroll, and Taylor in the secondary.

The Terps open a very difficult stretch next week at Clemson. Ralph admits that whoever is going to win the ACC Championship “can’t have a letdown for the next 10-12 Saturdays” and “must win on the road.” Chris Turner says he knows “practice will be very intense” leading up to the Clemson game.
The question that remains is: will this Maryland team be ready for the Clemson test? Ralph seems to think that the team needs to improve in practice; and there has to be a level of senior leadership there.

But if Chris Turner really wants to prove that he IS this team’s starting QB; maybe this week becomes his time to step up, get vocal throughout; and rally the same group of guys that voted to support Jordan Steffy in the summer. Turner made a number of nice plays today, but nice plays alone do not make a consistently good football team.

INJURY FRONT:

When talking about playing down 3 DB’s today; Ralph admitted that Richard Taylor might miss the rest of the season. Dominique Herald say his first game action today, but left with what Ralph said “appears to have an ACL” injury. Adrian Moten was receiving an X-Ray on his wrist, the team is hopeful it is just a sprain. Cory Jackson hurt his ankle; but as Ralph said, “he’s tough.” And Davin Meggett practiced and played with a hamstring injury this week.

OVERALL:

A lot of good things came from today’s game offensively; but Da’Rel Scott will need to be a stalwart for this Terps team next week. They have to control the ball and limit the number of possessions Clemson gets; setting the tone early for an attack that should rely heavily on the run. They need to apply more pressure on the line of scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball; and CANNOT continue to miss tackles; and especially miss sacks.

That will about do it for me. Come find me for your “Wacko for Flacco” sign tomorrow before the game.

-G

3:53-Let’s wrap it up. Maryland 51, Eastern Michigan 24. Jamari McCullough finishes things with his 2nd interception of the game. We’ll be back with more after Ralph speaks. Maryland moves to 4-1 on the season, 3-0 at home.

3:51-Quick picks for tonight’s 3 biggest games:

Wake Forrest 34, Florida State 31 in overtime
LSU 20, Auburn 16
Arizona State 34, Georgia 28

3:48-Portis with more solid, head first running. His athleticism makes you wonder if the calls for him to switch positions have merit. He’ll punch in an 8 yard TD to extend Maryland’s lead to 51-24. All Portis running on that drive; with the exception of a short scamper from Morgan Green. 7 plays, 80 yards, 3:28. Portis got all 80 yards on that drive; now has 98 on the game to lead the team in rushing for the day.

3:47-Boston College has opened up a 17-7 advantage over Central Florida in the 4th. Missouri with just a 20-14 lead over Buffalo at half.

3:45-If you thought defenses knew Josh Portis was running before; what do you think he’s doing when he’s in the game with 4 and half minutes to play and a 20 point lead? His first two runs go for a combined 50 yards anyway.

3:43 Another sack; this time from Moten/Costa. EMU will be forced to punt on 4th and 20; that will about do it.

3:41-Ohio State used 14 4th quarter points to put away Troy 28-10. Alabama won 49-14 at Arkansas in ANOTHER statement game for Nick Saban’s team. Georgia Tech got another good win for the ACC with a 38-7 pasting of Mississippi State. Clemson has a 47-0 2nd half lead over South Carolina State. Virginia Tech and North Carolina are just underway.

3:39-Maryland penalized 15 yards for excessive celebration after the TD. Ralph can’t like the lack of discipline there.

3:37-Oquendo takes the double pitch and heaves the ball 43 yards to wide open Isaiah Williams for a TD. Nice trick play; but maybe not the time to show it? Good decision to allow Josh Portis to remain in the game for 3 straight plays; even if none were throws. Maryland takes a 44-24 lead with 6:18 to play.

3:36-Tell me if you didn’t already know this. Josh Portis can run the football. Portis runs for back to back gains of 7; and Maryland has the ball on the EMU side of the field.

3:33-McMahon finds Stone for the 2 yard TD. 37-24 Maryland with 8:03 to play. This Maryland team DESPERATELY misses Da’Rel Scott right now; as they have not been able to control the game’s tempo without him grinding yards out.

3:30-Anthony Wiseman flagged for Pass interference in the endzone; it appeared as though he made a play on the ball; but EMU will get the ball at the 2.

3:29-Purdue recovers from their Oregon hangover JUST in time to hold off a Central Michigan upset attempt. They win 32-25.

3:27-EMU again moving the ball with relative ease; they have a first down at Maryland’s 36. Andrew McMahon’s feet have helped him elude defenders in the backfield throughout the day. If McMahon can do that; how much trouble will the Terps be in against Tyrod Taylor?

3:25-NC State has likely ended East Carolina’s BCS hopes; as the Wolfpack force a fumble; then get a 10 yard TD run from Andre Brown to pull a big win for the ACC.

3:23-Members of the Champs Sports Bowl Committee are here today; they wear green jackets for those scoring at home. (Much better than the Fiesta Bowl committee’s putrid Yellow Jackets).

3:20-After going O-fer in his first 3 games; Obi Egekeze has re-solidified his kicking job today; now 3-3. Its 37-17 Maryland with 11:46 to play.

3:18-Turner sacked by Jenkins on 2nd down. 3rd and 12 from the 18. Turner throws a screen to Meggett that goes nowhere; Egekeze will attempt a 33 yard FG.

3:17-Turner looks to Torrey Smith on 1st down in the endzone; they can’t hook up; but they do get a pass interference.

Josh Portis into the game for a 6 yard run to the 10 yard line.

East Carolina and NC State headed to overtime.

3:15-EMU forced to go for it on 4th and 2 from their own 38; and Trey Covington comes through with just Maryland’s 2nd sack of the game. They take over at EMU’s 31.

3:12-Turner opens the 4th quarter by being intercepted by Holdsclaw. 1st and ten for EMU from Maryland’s 30.

3:10-Cory Jackson brings the 3rd quarter to a rumbling close; as he turns a 3rd down swing pass into a 30 yard gain and a first down for the Terps at EMU’s 25. The spread for this game was 21.5, correct?

3:07-Chris Turner with a nice 3rd down check to Ronnie Tyler; that gains 19 and gives the Terps a First down at their own 43.

3:05-Who is this Brian Burres??? Burres has yet to allow a run in the Bronx; but Alfredo “Sauce” Aceves didn’t allow one through 6 himself; and the Birds and Yanks are scoreless in the 7th.

3:03-FINALLY! Philistin and Navarre get the sack; and we actually see a Three and out! EMU will punt.

3:00-Drive fizzles out in the red zone; and Egekeze adds another chip shot to make things 34-17. A long return by Welch gives EMU the ball at their own 46.

2:56-Turner with a 44 yard BOMB to Torrey Smith, a nifty catch gives Maryland a first and goal from the 7. I don’t think Maryland wanted to get into a shootout; but they have not been able to control the ball without Scott.

2:52-EMU moves the ball downfield AGAIN; but is forced to settle for a 22 yard FG. 31-17 with 7:15 to play in the 3rd. 11 plays, 69 yards, 6:11. Defense continues to be a concern.

2:44-Other scores elsewhere….

-Pitt looks to hand Iowa its first loss of the season. They’re up 21-20 in the 4th.
-Penn St. now has a 45-3 lead over Temple in the 4th.
-Alabama ALL OVER Arkansas 42-7 in the 3rd…..that’s at Arkansas.
-Not good for the ACC here…..Central Florida has a 7-3 lead at Boston College at the half.
-Clemson 30-0 over South Carolina State at the half.
-Missouri just 10-7 ahead of Buffalo late in the first.

2:39-Going back to DHB continues to be good. A 45 yard run gives Maryland a first and goal. On 3rd and goal; Turner finds Gronkowski for a 4 yard TD pass. Maryland 31-14 with 13:27 to play in the 3rd. Turner’s 2nd TD pass today; 5th on the season.

2:37-Scores elsewhere….

-Georgia Tech making a statement for the ACC with a 31-0 advantage over Mississippi State in the 3rd.
-Minnesota about to move to 4-0 with a 30-3 lead over Florida Atlantic.
-Ohio State finally putting some space up on a pesky Troy team; 21-10 in the 4th.
-ECU goes back ahead of NC State in Raleigh, 21-17 in the 4th.

2:35-Announced crowd: 48,023. Disappointing; but it is not a premiere opponent. The weather should have helped to get more fans out; as there certainly are not 48,000 people here. Maybe having both the Ravens and Redskins home tomorrow is hurting.

2:31-Thoughts at half:

-Clearly Maryland misses Travis Ivey. They have been controlled at the line of scrimmage on almost every defensive snap.
-Mostly good stuff from the offense, especially without having Da’Rel Scott to contribute. Getting the ball to DHB as much as possible is obviously a good thing.
-Soft coverage is not helping the defense; as despite two Interceptions; they have also allowed too many big plays. Cullen Harper will lick his chops watching that film this week.

2:17-Interesting time management. Instead of calling timeout after the long pass; Turner lined up and threw an out to DHB for a gain of two. Then, Chris Turner was intercepted by Ryan Downard to end the half. Certainly not the way Maryland wanted the half to end. 24-14 Terps. Back with more shortly.

2:16-Maryland is in business with 19 seconds to play as Turner finds Oquendo for 24 to the EMU 32. They’ll need a few more before trusting Egekeze.

2:13-Having some site problems. McMahon finds LeDuc for a 13 yard TD strike with 44 seconds to play. 24-14 Maryland. Maryland faced with a 3rd and 9 from their own 44 with just 27 seconds to play.

2:08-Blevins gets 3 on a direct snap to pick up the first down. EMU moves the ball to the 17 with just 1:01 to go before half.

2:07-4th and 1 from the 28; EMU will go for it again.

2:07-McMahon continues to get plenty of time to throw the ball; and EMU has a 1st down at Maryland’s 37. The Terps MUST get pressure.

2:02-106th catch; 1,731 total receiving yards in DHB’s Maryland career now. He’s tied for 7th with Barry Johnson on the catches list at the school; and passes Johnson for 5th on the all time receiving yards list at Maryland as well. (Thanks to Maryland media relation for all of these notes). DHB’s 11th career TD reception ties him for 5th all-time in school history with Johnson and Marcus Badgett.

1:59-DHB is FAST. On first down; Turner lays one out for DHB on the side of the endzone; and Darrius brought it in. 1 play, 32 yards, 0:08. Maryland 24-7. DHB’s 3rd receiving TD of the season; #4 overall.

1:58-Torrey Smith EXPLOSIVE on the kickoff return; 57 yards gives the Terps First and ten from EMU’s 32.

1:56-McMahon finds Bonner for 19 on 3rd and 6; EMU gets a first and goal on Maryland’s 7; which Blevins punches in on 1st down. Defensive consistency is a problem. 17-7 Maryland with 5:08 to play. 11 plays, 80 yards, 5:58

1:53-McMahon finds LeDuc for 9 on 4th and 6. First down EMU from Maryland’s 30.

1:52-Chase Bullock breaks up a pass over the middle; leaving EMU to face 3rd and 10 from the 42.

1:50-Eastern Michigan AGAIN moving the ball downfield; Priest picks up 28 on a run; EMU has a 1st down at Maryland’s 42.

1:48-It hasn’t been perfect defensively; but at least Maryland is getting the consistency they were looking for offensively with no letdowns. You’d certainly like to see the Terps collect some sacks.

1:44-Turner to I. Williams for 21 yards sets up a Morgan Green 20 yard TD run. Maryland extends their lead to 17-0. 5 plays, 47 yards, 1:41. Morgan Green now just 53 behind Slaton (laugh, people!).

1:41-A BIT of pressure on McMahon and Maryland gets an underthrow on a deep ball; Moten collects the INT at EMU’s 47. First down Maryland.

1:39-Davin Meggett was the ball carrier on that drive; and Josh Portis actually THREW the ball on 3rd down. But despite having an eternity to make the play; Portis couldn’t quite hook up with Danny Oquendo. Maryland is forced to punt, and EMU takes over on their own 16.

1:38-EMU gets tricky on 4th down; but WR Tyler Jones couldn’t get the corner and ended up throwing the ball away. MD takes over on their own 38.

1:37-Blevins is bottled up for no gain by Costa & Fokou; EMU will go for it.

1:34-A lack of pressure again allows for McMahon to find a man downfield; this time for a pickup of 34 yards. EMU faces a 3rd and 2 from Maryland’s 38. This is definitely 4 down territory.

First down comes to a close with Maryland leading 10-0.

1:32-Zimmy-before the season; Jeremy told us he didn’t regret losing a potential redshirt year because he was ready to move on to the next level. Making plays in the backfield will help him improve his stock at the DT position; and I expect he will have a strong combine and strong workouts. He might not be a first day guy; but he will certainly have a chance to get drafted.

1:29-That is Morgan Green’s first career TD for those scoring at home……or just 54 fewer than Steve Slaton had in his West Virginia career. (That’s humor, people!)

Shout-out to former Terps FB Bernie Fiddler who I bumped into on campus before the game. He is engaged to a very lovely girl who is also a Maryland alum.

1:27-Morgan Green goes outside, then goes vertical to get in the end zone on 4th and goal. 10 plays, 80 yards, 4:57. Maryland leads 10-0.

1:26-Chris Turner ruled to be stopped short on 3rd down from inside the 1. They’ll go for it here.

1:24-Tough running from Cory Jackson following a short pass from Chris Turner gives Maryland a first and goal from the 4.

1:22-Sometimes going vertical doesn’t always get you completions; but pass interference calls are helpful too. Maryland gets a first down at the 17. Morgan Green in the game.

1:20-From the world of “Anything to get the ball in DHB’s hands……a first down rush nets 35 yards and gives Maryland a first down at EMU’s 45.

1:17-McMahon eludes pressure and gets the downfield for 30 yards to the 5. But on 1st and goal; Jamari McCullough steps in front of McMahon’s pass for a nice diving INT; giving Maryland the ball back-1st & 10 from the 20.

1:16-A nice misdirection run by Blevins on 3rd down gives EMU 6 yards and a first down at Maryland’s 35.

1:12-Egekeze celebrates the make by following up with a deep touchback.

But a soft zone allows McMahon to find TE Josh LeDuc for 20 yards on a first down play action pass. That’s followed up by a 13 yard gain on ANOTHER play action pass. Pressure is a MUST.

1:10-And we FINALLY have an Egekeze MAKE! 22 yards; giving Maryland a 3-0 with 11 minutes to play in the 1st. 4 plays, 5 yards, 1:34 on the “drive”.

1:10-Its Davin Meggett; NOT Da’Rel Scott getting the first two handoffs; but he gets just 5 yards and Turner is ALMOST picked; forcing a short FG try….

1:08-Adrian Moten blocks the punt; Dominique Herald celebrates his first game action by returning it to the 10.

1:06-During his first year; Ralph talked about having the team go door to door on campus to make sure students got out to the game. I would not have expected he would have had to do that this week; but maybe he should have. Perhaps he should have also called season ticket holders individually to remind them there was a game this week.

Costa makes a stop in the backfield on 2nd down; and a McMahon overthrow on 3rd down forcing a punt.

1:04-A nice play action pass on 1st down gives Eastern Michigan’s Jacory Stone a 14 yard pickup and a first down.

1:01-Eastern Michigan wins the toss; they’ll receive. Doesn’t look like anyone made the trip from Ypsilanti; as EMU’s fan section is about empty (then again, so is most of the upper deck).

12:49-Ohio State hasn’t committed to making the move to Terrelle Pryor full-time; and they are again struggling against a weaker non-conference opponent. They lead just 7-3 over Troy in the 2nd. Dave Wannstedt’s Pitt Panthers are playing well in the 1st half; they have a 14-3 lead over 3-0 Iowa. And Penn State’s has just a 7-0 lead over an improved Tempe club in the 2nd quarter.

12:44-Taking a look at the early games you MIGHT be able to see on TV; NC State is hanging tough with East Carolina; hoping to get the ACC a non-conference Top 25 win for the 2nd consecutive week. Its 7-7 in the 2nd quarter. Georgia Tech is also making a statement for the league; as they have a 14-0 lead over Mississippi State in the 1st.

12:41-Certainly a late arriving crowd; which is a shame because the weather is AMAZING. The student section even is not close to a quarter full, and we are 20 minutes away from kickoff.

12:38-Nolan Carroll is OUT; Anthony Wiseman starts at CB. Cameron Chism and Dominique Herald are expected to have their redshirts pulled and be available for a depleted secondary. Also; as reported late this week; EMU QB Andy Schmitt is OUT; Kyle McMahon gets the start for the Eagles.

12:32-Word is that Da’Rel Scott WILL play today; but I still think they will limit his touches. No need to risk anything with Davin Meggett playing well and Morgan Green usable.

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