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

Posted on 26 September 2009 by 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:


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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Maryland-Rutgers Preview: Trying to right the ship with ACC play around the corner

Posted on 25 September 2009 by Luke Jones

With the start of conference play looming next Saturday, the University of Maryland will try to right its disappointing season against Rutgers in College Park on Saturday afternoon.

Having lost two of their first three games and needing overtime to secure their lone win against James Madison, the Terps (1-2) face Greg Schiano’s Scarlet Knights (2-1, 0-1 in conference play) out of the Big East. Rutgers hopes to be a contender in the Big East this season despite being blown out in the opener against Cincinnati, 47-15.

Defensive struggles continue to plague the Terps, as the inexperienced unit has battled injuries in the secondary and has surrendered a total of 119 points and over 400 yards in each of its first three games.

New coordinator Don Brown saw his defense wilt in the fourth quarter against Middle Tennessee State last week, allowing the Blue Raiders to march down the field in the closing seconds to kick a game-winning field goal as time expired.

Though Rutgers comes from a BCS conference—unlike James Madison and Middle Tennessee State—the Maryland defense may actually catch a break facing a more traditional offense this week  after facing spread offenses in the last two games.

The quarterback position is a question mark for the Scarlet Knights as freshman starter Tom Savage sustained a concussion against Florida International last week. His status remains uncertain, and senior Domenic Natale would presumably get the nod if the highly-touted freshman cannot play.

The Terps’ secondary must keep an eye on the little senior Tim Brown who leads the Scarlet Knights with 349 receiving yards and the Big East in yards per catch (24.9). Rutgers also has a 6-foot-2, talented receiver in true freshman Mohamed Sanu who had 101 yards receiving against Cincinnati in his first game as a collegian.

Despite last week’s disappointing loss, the Terps’ offense produced a season-high 446 total yards of offense. However, four turnovers led to 16 points for Middle Tennessee State.

Torrey Smith has emerged as Maryland’s biggest offensive threat, leading the nation in all-purpose yards and racking up 165 receiving yards and two touchdowns in last week’s loss.

At first glance, Da’Rel Scott’s 117 rushing yards looked like one of the shining performances of last week, but his two fumbles landed him on the bench in favor of Davin Meggett. Head coach Ralph Friedgen insisted this week that he has not lost faith in the all-conference tailback, but it will be interesting to see what happens should Scott put the ball on the turf against the Rutgers defense.

The Terps should receive a boost for Saturday’s game with the anticipated returns of left tackle Bruce Campbell and safety Jamari McCollough, both listed as probable this week. Both players sustained injuries in the season opener against Cal and have not played in the last two games. Campbell’s return would allow Paul Pinegar to return to his normal spot at right tackle, further solidifying the starting offensive line.

Saturday’s game will mark the second meeting between the schools since 1942. The Terps knocked off then-No. 10 Rutgers two years ago in Piscataway, 34-24. It is the first time Rutgers will play the Terps in College Park, as the teams played in Baltimore in 1940 and 1942. Maryland leads the all-time series, 5-3.

This meeting has obvious recruiting implications, as both schools are in constant competition for high school talent. Rutgers’ visit allows seven Maryland natives to return to their home state to play—including starting running back Jourdan Brooks and strong safety Joe Lefeged.

Center Phil Costa, middle linebacker Alex Wujciak, tight end Matt Furstenburg, punt returner/receiver Tony Logan, and defensive back Antwine Perez are the notable Terrapins from the Garden State.

Saturday’s game will mark the conclusion of non-conference play for the Terps. They open the ACC schedule next Saturday with a home contest against Clemson.

Terps’ Injury Report:
Out: Nolan Carroll (leg – season), Louis Berman (leg), Caleb Porzel (leg), Joe Vellano (foot)
Probable: Bruce Campbell (foot), Jamari McCollough (foot)

Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, but—again—the game can only be seen on ESPN360.

As always, check out my “Live from College Park” blog and WNST’s Twitter feed for coverage throughout the day from Byrd Stadium. Leave your comments, rants, and thoughts on the Terps by posting at the bottom of the page.

I’ll also be joining Eric Aaronson on Section 410 at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon (1570 AM or online at WNST.net) with a live report from College Park.

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Last-second field goal, turnovers topple Terps

Posted on 19 September 2009 by Luke Jones

The scoreboard at Byrd Stadium showed that Middle Tennessee State defeated Maryland, but the Terps know better.

Trying to avenge a 24-14 loss to the Blue Raiders a year ago, the Terrapins turned the ball over four times and fell 32-31 on a field goal by Alan Gendreau as time expired.

“We made so many mistakes,” head coach Ralph Friedgen said. “I thought our defense played well, but we gave up too many big plays, and that’s what we have to stop doing.”

Despite accumulating 446 yards of total offense, a Chris Turner interception and three lost fumbles turned into 16 points for Middle Tennessee State.

The Terps led 31-29 and had the ball with 4:52 remaining in the fourth quarter but could not run out the clock. A critical play on the drive was a naked bootleg call on first down from the Middle Tennessee 32. Defensive end Jamari Lattimore came through untouched to sack Turner for a 10-yard loss.

“It’s on my shoulders—not the players,” said offensive coordinator James Franklin, claiming it was a bad call in a critical situation and that the loss was the worst with which he had ever been associated in his career.

Even after the sack, Maryland managed to drive to the Blue Raiders’ 25 and had a critical fourth down with three yards to go for the game-clinching first.  Friedgen thought about going for the first down but elected to send freshman Nick Ferrara out for a 42-yard field goal attempt. When the kicker missed wide right, Middle Tennessee State got the ball back at their own 25 with 1:30 remaining on the clock.

The big play of the game-winning drive was a Dwight Dasher 35-yard completion to Chris McClover, beating Cameron Chism on the play. Chism had two interceptions in the game and was getting his first start after replacing injured senior co-captain Nolan Carroll.

“For my first game, I think I played well,” said Chism, who admitted after the game that a hamstring cramp was affecting his play in the second half.

The Maryland defense held Middle Tennessee to only 145 yards in the first half but surrendered 293 yards and 19 points in the second half, making it the third-straight game the Terps have allowed more than 400 yards of offense.  The Terps did, however, force three turnovers after not having any in their first two games.

Chism led the defense with 12 tackles while Adrian Moten and Alex Wujciak each had 11. The Terrapins sacked Dasher four times.

“I know our defense was tired,” Friedgen said. “I thought they sucked it up and got some really good stops, but they needed to have one more and we would have won.”

The star of the afternoon was Torrey Smith who caught two touchdown passes and piled up 165 receiving yards. His scoring plays came from 37 and 64 yards.

“Anytime you can throw the ball down the field and get 30- or 40- yard gains, it is going to excite the offense and give us confidence,” Smith said. “It also gives coach Franklin more flexibility as far as us being out there and trusting us to make plays.”

Da’Rel Scott rushed for 117 yards, but his two fumbles led to 10 points for the opposing offense. Scott was benched temporarily after his first fumble but was benched for the remainder of the game after fumbling late in the third quarter. Davin Meggett played the remainder of the game and finished the day with 51 yards on the ground.

“If he lays the ball on the ground, he [isn’t] going to play,” Friedgen said.

The Terps (1-2) must now look ahead to next week and a matchup against Rutgers (1-1) before beginning the ACC schedule against Clemson in two weeks. Friedgen thought it was time to get tough on his younger group and even questioned how much his players were really into the game during the first half.

“If we didn’t make the mistakes, I could live with it,” he said. “I still have a lot of belief in them as people and as players. I think they are just as upset as I am. We have to figure out a way together…players, coaches, and myself—everybody.”

Check out the box score here and my running blog below.


6:54 p.m. — Two years in a row, and this season is already looking to be a very long one.

No business losing a game like this. Lousy.

6:52 p.m. — It was elementary, as Gendreau bangs it through the uprights.

8 plays, 74 yards, 1:30

Quite frankly, Maryland didn’t deserve to win this one. Too many mistakes.

6:52 p.m. — Gendreau lines up for the kick, and Maryland will use their final timeout.

We need a miracle here.

6:51 p.m. — On 1st-and-10, McClover beats Chism for a huge pass play all the way down to the 10. 45 seconds remaining.

Kyles takes the hand-off all the way to the one.

On 2nd-and-goal, Kyles is STUFFED. MTSU is out of timeouts. They have to spike it, and they do with 2 seconds remaining.

Gendreau will try the field goal, and Maryland will take a time out to ice him.

It will be little more than an extra point with the ball on the left hash.

This is depressing.

6:47 p.m. — Well, here we go.

On first down, Dasher throws to Gee for 12 yards, moving the ball to the Blue Raiders’ 37.

Kyles picks up seven yards on the next play.

Dasher then completes to McClover with Chism covering for 11 yards.

6:46 p.m. — Ferrara tries the 42-yard field goal, and it’s no good.

6:45 p.m. — Following the timeout, Meggett picks up 12 on a short pass from Turner, setting up 3rd-and-8. Huge play here.

And we have a false start on guard Justin Lewis. Perfect.

On 3rd-and-13 from the 35, Meggett gets a huge opening and picks up 10 yards.

MTSU will use a timeout with 1:35 remaining. Maryland faces a 4th-and-2.

Do you go for it here?

6:40 p.m. — On 3rd-and-1, Meggett bulldozes forward for a first down. Once again, no sign of Scott on the field after his last fumble.

On first down from the 32, Lattimore comes around the right corner free and sacks Turner for a loss of 10 yards.

Middle Tennessee State will use a timeout with 2:37 remaining.

6:38 p.m. — On 2nd-and-11, the pass is picked off by Cameron Chism. Wiseman brought the pressure on Dasher.

The Terps take over at the MTSU 43 yard-line. Time to run some clock.

6:36 p.m. — The Blue Raiders try to run some misdirection and give it to Beyah, but the receiver only picks up four yards.

On the next play, Dasher connects with Sancho McDonald for a first down, moving the ball to their own 45.

Dasher tries to run but is driven out of bounds by Wiseman for a loss of one on first down.

6:34 p.m. — Turner rolls right but can’t find anyone, so he throws it away.

On second down, Turner is sacked by Chris McCoy, as it appears he was trying to fake a pass left, but the defensive end was already in the backfield.

On 3rd-and-14, the pass is batted down by McCoy.

It will be a 42-yard attempt for Ferrara, and the freshman kicker makes it despite a terrible snap! Kudos to the holder Travis Baltz on that one.

Maryland regains the lead 31-29 with 6:14 remaining.

6:30 p.m. — The Terps continue to move, as Smith takes a short pass and gains 14 yards. First down for Maryland, and they’re at the 21-yard line with 7:28 remaining.

We’ll have a timeout for an injured Middle Tennessee State.

With that last pass, Turner moves to fourth place all-time in passing yards at Maryland.

6:29 p.m. — On first down, Turner hits Meggett on the quick hitch, and the back takes it 13 yards to midfield.

Turner then connects to Boykins again, the Terps now at the MTSU 35 yard-line.

6:28 p.m. — Turner and the offense start at their own 26.

After throwing it away on first down, Turner’s pass to Cannon is broken up by Alex Suber.

3rd-and-10 for the Terps, and Turner finds Boykins over the middle for a first-down to the 36. Big conversion there.

6:24 p.m. — Ivey jogged/skipped off the field, so he looks like he’ll be alright.

Middle Tennessee goes for it on 4th-and-2, and Dasher throws a slant to Andrews, beating Wiseman. He breaks a tackle and will go into the end zone. Touchdown.

MTSU goes for two, and Dasher rolls right and tries to throw back to the left to Gene Delle Donne (that’s a name!), but it falls incomplete.

9:04 to go: Middle Tennessee State 29, Maryland 28

6:21 p.m. — After two running plays set up 3rd-and-2, Dasher keeps the ball but is brought down by Ivey for no gain.

Uh oh. Ivey is down on the field. We’ll have a timeout.

6:19 p.m. — Wujciak stops Dasher for a loss of one on first down, so no apparent effect from the early injury.

Wujciak almost gets to Dasher again in the backfield before the quarterback broke free. Kyles is flagged for holding, making it 2nd-and-21.

Dasher throws the deep ball to Andrews, and he’s behind Wiseman. 36 yards and a first down. Wiseman continues to look like a weak link on this defense.

6:18 p.m. — The Blue Raiders start from the 24 yard-line as Dasher runs right up the middle for six yards.

Gee then carries for only two yards before he’s stopped by Moten.

On 3rd-and-2, Jefferson takes the short pass but is stopped by Chism and Perez. They’ll measure, and it’s BARELY enough for a first down.

6:12 p.m. — Smith is unstoppable! Turner’s bomb is perfectly thrown to Smith who takes it the rest of the way for a 64-yard touchdown.

A beautiful throw over the outside shoulder on the near sideline!

Ferrara kicks the extra point, and Maryland is back up 28-23.

6:09 p.m. — On second down, Dasher throws high to an open Malcolm Beyah on the slant.

On 3rd-and-10, the Blue Raiders quarterback is sacked by Hartsfield who blitzed around the corner. Dasher held onto the ball way too long there.

Wiseman makes the fair catch at the Maryland 18, and we’ll again see Turner and the offense.  The Terps need a positive drive here, or this crowd will continue to turn against the men in red.

6:07 p.m. — Travis Baltz continues to have a lackluster day, as his punt is only 31 yards and MTSU starts at their own 47-yard line.

Dasher throws incomplete on first down with Moten covering on the play for the Terps.

Middle Tennessee will call their first timeout of the second half.

6:04 p.m. — Maryland begins at its own 16 after Kerry Boykins is called for holding on the return.

Meggett takes a short pitch but only gains one before he’s brought down by Gary Tucker.

No need to panic yet, but you have to be thinking about last season all over again. Turner then throws an incomplete pass on second down.

On 3rd-and-9, Turner works from the shotgun and completes to Meggett but only for five yards. I hear the boos again.

We’ve reached the end of the third quarter, and the Terps will have to punt.

Middle Tennessee State 23, Maryland 21

It’s hard to be a Terps fan right now.

6:00 p.m. — The call is overturned, as it’s ruled that Andrews knee was out of bounds. Huge break for the Terps there.

Gendreau attempts the 27-yard field goal, and it’s good.

With 0:48 remaining in the third quarter, Middle Tennessee State takes the lead over Maryland, 23-21.

8 plays, 28 yards, and 2:07 on the drive.

5:57 p.m. — Again, no television for this game, so we’re not seeing any replays of Andrews’ catch up here in the press box. It happened on the far sideline, so I couldn’t tell if he got a foot down in-bounds or not.

They’re taking a long time looking at this one.

5:54 p.m. — After an incompletion on second down, Dasher throws the touchdown pass to Garrett Andrews for the 11-yard touchdown against Anthony Wiseman.

The play will be reviewed, so don’t jump yet, Glenn Clark.

5:52 p.m. — MTSU is down to the Maryland 24 with a first down, and the defense needs a big stop here.

Kyles takes the carry right and eludes Moten around the corner and picks up 12 yards.

Kyles gets it again but is stopped by Travis Ivey for no gain at the 11.

5:51 p.m. — These fumbles just show a lack of focus.

Honeycutt is back in the game, and he makes the first-down catch for Middle Tennessee State.

There’s an injured player on the field, and it appears to be Alex Wujciak. Not good at all.

5:49 p.m. — Well, here we go again. Scott takes the hand-off and fumbles. Danny Carmichael forced the fumble, and the Blue Raiders recover at the Maryland 39.

5:49 p.m. — On second down, Dasher completes to Honeycutt for 11 and a first down. Dasher definitely poses a bigger threat in the passing game than what we saw last week with JMU’s Drew Dudzik.

Kyles runs on first down but is dropped by Carl Russell for a loss of two.

After an 11-yard completion, the Terps stuff Middle Tennessee on third down.

MTSU receiver Patrick Honeycutt is down on the field with an injury.

Kenny Tate fields the punt, and Gee is called for kick catch interference, giving the Terps an extra 15 yards. Maryland will take over at their 35 with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter.

5:43 p.m. — Maryland did an outstanding job containing Dasher in the first half, but the quarterback burned the defense on that last drive. Let’s hope that doesn’t become a regular occurence here in the second half.

On first down, fullback Cory Jackson gets a rare carry as the Terps begin the drive at their own 26.

Turner then throws an ill-advised swing pass to Scott for a loss of seven yards. Terrible decision to even throw that.

On 3rd-and-11, Tyler catches a pass, but only for a gain of two. The boo-birds are again being heard.

Baltz punts the ball 44 yards, and MTSU will take over at their 29. Not a good offensive series.

5:39 p.m. — On the first play of the drive, Kyles is stopped by Antwine Perez for a loss of two.

Dasher then gets away from the rush on second down and shows off his shifty running ability, gaining 26 yards all the way down to the Terps’ 20. You cannot allow Dasher to get in the open field.

Gee then takes the first down hand-off to the six, setting up 1st-and-goal.  On the next play, Gee takes it into the end zone for the score.

Gendreau makes the extra point, making the score: Maryland 21, Middle Tennessee State 20 with 6:25 remaining in the third.

5:36 p.m. — Today’s attendance is 43,167. It’s a noticeably smaller crowd than what we saw for the JMU game last week.

5:35 p.m. — Baltz’s punt is a 44-yard line drive, returned by Honeycutt for 15 yards down to the Maryland 44.

5:34 p.m. — On first down, Turner finds Galt for a gain of four. The Terps seem commited to getting the tight ends more involved in the passing game.

On 2nd-and-6, Scott runs a draw for no gain.

On third down, Turner is sacked by Lattimore as R.J. Dill is flagged for holding. The penalty will be declined and Baltz must punt.

5:32 p.m. — Tate returns the 26-yard punt eight yards to the Terps’ 17-yard line.

9:15 to go in the third quarter. Maryland leads 21-13.

5:30 p.m. — On 3rd-and-4, Dasher throws deep to Jefferson, but the receiver cannot make the diving catch inside the 10. The Blue Raiders will punt, and the drive stalls at the Maryland 35.

Maryland appeared to have too many men on the field but calls a timeout before the penalty. That would have given Middle Tennessee a first down, so it’s a huge break for the Terps.

5:26 p.m. — Dasher is hit by Wujciak before Kenny Tate wraps him up for the sack. Once again, the pressure gets to the MTSU quarterback.

On 3rd-and-16, Dasher throws to Honeycutt for 17 and a first down. Ugh.

Wujciak looked like he was trying to play leapfrog as he tried to get to the quarterback but was unsuccessful.

5:24 p.m. — The Maryland defense is back on the field, and MTSU’s Dasher runs for six on first down before passing to Honeycutt for a gain of 12 and a first down.

Dasher takes the shotgun snap and runs left for nine yards. The Terps need to keep him bottled up like they did in the first half.

A false start will move Middle Tennessee back to the Maryland 48, making it 2nd-and-6.

5:22 p.m. — Of Turner’s 152 passing yards, Smith has 101 of them. He’s the most dangerous weapon on the field for the Terps.

5:22 p.m. — On 3rd-and-10, Turner finds a wide-open Torrey Smith for a 37-yard touchdown! Huge play!

The defender wasn’t even remotely close to the speedy receiver.

Ferrara’s extra point is good. Maryland leads, 21-13, with 12:22 remaining in the third quarter.

The drive covers 5 plays, 74 yards, and 2:38. Nice start to the half.

5:18 p.m. — Scott gets his first carry since early in the second quarter and only gains two yards.

And there goes Scott for a huge gain around the right corner, all the way down to the Blue Raiders’ 37. It’s nice to see him back on the field, as he’s had much better luck against this defense than Meggett.

5:16 p.m. — The second half is underway, and Smith returns the kick to the 26-yard line.

Scott is back in the game to begin the second half.

5:15 p.m. — The second half will be getting underway shortly.

The Terps’ defense has held Middle Tennessee State to 13 rushing yards and 136 through the air—a much better effort than what we’ve seen in the first two games.

Smith has three catches for 64 yards, including a great 42-yard catch.  Turner has 115 yards through the air and has thrown in interception.

5:09 p.m. — Here are a few thoughts about the first half:

* The defense has actually played a solid game, pressuring Dasher and holding him to -3 yards on the ground.

They’ve surrendered some big plays, but it’s hard to fault Brown’s unit when the Maryland offense has turned it over three times.

* What more do I have to say about the turnovers? You must protect the football, and the Terps are doing a poor job of doing that.

* I’m pleased to see the Terps taking more shots down the field. From my perspective, the offensive line is doing a commendable job so far this afternoon.

* Scott had a sparkling 48-yard touchdown run in the first quarter but fumbled at the start of the second, setting up a Middle Tennessee touchdown.

The starting running back has not returned to the game since then but was standing on the sideline in the second quarter. No word on any injury, so you have to wonder what his status is for the second half.

Meggett has received 12 carries but has only gained 28 yards.

* Robinson has seen the field a couple times at quarterback and has received the Josh Portis treatment.

If you want to give the young quarterback some experience, fine, but haven’t we seen this act before? It certainly doesn’t help that the sophomore QB coughed up the football, either.

4:56 p.m. — Lattimore sacks Turner, and the senior quarterback fumbles, but it’s recovered by the Terps.

That’s a fitting end to an ugly first half of football. Thankfully, the Terps lead 14-13.

Back in a few to offer some stats and thoughts on the first half.

4:54 p.m. — Malcolm Beyah returns the kick all the way to the 40-yard line. The defense will try to keep MTSU off the board in the final minute of the half.

Dasher hits a wide-open McClover over the middle to the Maryland 41. He then connects to McClover again for six more yards.

The second down pass goes through the hands of Honeycutt incomplete.

On 3rd-and-4, Dasher’s passed is picked off by Cameron Chism, Carroll’s replacement in the starting lineup!

MTSU is 0-for-7 on third down, a major plus considering the Terps’ three turnovers.

4:48 p.m. — On 3rd-and-goal, Meggett breaks through for the two-yard touchdown! Just power football right there.

Ferrara makes the extra point, and the Terps go back up, 14-13.

The drive covers five plays and 19 yards.

Maryland is very fortunate to be winning this game after turning it over three times in the first half.

1:19 remaining until halftime.

4:47 p.m. — Turner hits big tight end Tommy Galt over the middle, and he takes it all the way to the 5. The Terps try to go no-huddle, but Meggett is stopped at the 2.

Meggett is tackled for no gain on second down, setting up 3rd-and-goal.

Middle Tennessee State will use their first timeout. Maryland needs to score a touchdown here.

No word on an injury for Scott, but he is standing on the sideline as Meggett continues to get the carries here in the second quarter. I’ll update you if I hear anything here in the press box.

4:44 p.m. — A fumbled exchange by the Blue Raiders is recovered by Maryland at the 19. The defense’s first turnover of the season.

This has been an UGLY football game.

4:43 p.m. — On first down, Turner goes deep and underthrows a ball but Smith brings it in for a huge gain all the way down to the MTSU 19. Great effort by Smith to go up and get that one!

After an incomplete pass, Turner tries to find Adrian Cannon in the end zone, but it’s batted away.

On 3rd-and-10, Turner hits Campbell for only five yards.

Ferrara’s attempt from 31 yards is blocked.


4:38 p.m. — MTSU takes over at its own 45-yard line, and Dasher’s pass is incomplete on first down.

The Blue Raiders continue to spread out in four and five-receiver sets and work from the shotgun.

On second down, Dasher is leveled as he throws incomplete. The defense is doing a much better job getting pressure this week than anything we saw in the first two games.

On 3rd-and-10, Dasher’s pass is batted down by Moten. Great defensive series there, and hopefully, things start to slow down for the struggling Terps here.

Tony Logan is back to return and takes a low punt for a nice return to the Maryland 39-yard line. Good to see the speedy return man back on the field.

4:36 p.m. — At this point, I’d even be satisfied with a punt on this drive. DON’T TURN IT OVER!

Meggett runs for four yards on first down and then picks up five yards, setting up 3rd-and-1.

Meggett is stopped short of the first by Alex Suber and Kevin Brown.

I was actually joking about the punt, but hey, at least it’s not a turnover.

4:34 p.m. — The Terps pressure Dasher as he rolls out to the right, and the Blue Raiders QB throws it away.

On 3rd-and-5 from the Maryland 25, Dasher is sacked by Deege Galt for a loss of 10 yards. HUGE play there for the Maryland defense who has to be frustrated at the complete ineptitude of the offense in the second quarter.

DeFatta pooches one that rolls to the nine-yard line, and Tate falls on it with defenders flying to the ball. Not a wise decision in my opinion, but it worked out in this case.

Maryland takes over at its own 9 with 7:06 remaining in the first half.

4:30 p.m. — Dasher throws a nine-yard completion to McClover, moving the Blue Raiders to midfield.  You have to wonder what’s going through the minds of the defensive players after ANOTHER turnover.

Kyles only picks up two yards, but it’s enough for a first down.

Dasher throws high to Tavarres Jefferson, but the receiver leaps high in the air for a gain 20 yards. Great catch.

4:28 p.m. — The Terps are definitely looking to throw down the field more than we saw in the first two games this season.

Robinson checks in at quarterback on 2nd-and-5 and keeps it…are you serious? He coughs up the ball, and MTSU has it.

The Byrd boos are very audible right now, and who can blame them? Three turnovers in three-straight possessions.

4:25 p.m. — After an offside penalty, LaQuan Williams cannot bring down the deep ball from Turner. It would have been a nice catch, but it was a catchable ball on the sideline.

On 2nd-and-5, Meggett gains five yards, but we have a flag. Another offside call on MTSU, but it’s declined after Meggett picked up the first down.

4:23 p.m. — Meggett gains only one on first down. At least the offense didn’t turn it over, so that’s a moral victory.

On 2nd-and-9, Turner gives the ball to Devonte Campbell on the end-around for a loss of two yards.

On third, Turner throws a bullet to Ronnie Tyler on the far side of the field. A big-time throw of 14 yards and a huge play for the confidence of the offense there.

4:19 p.m. — The ruling is upheld, and Alan Gendreau makes the extra point.

The Terps now trail, 13-7, with 13:06 remaining in the half.

I don’t care how talented you are. You cannot win at any level if you’re going to turn the ball over. When you couple that with the defense’s inability to force turnovers so far this season, it’s a very damning formula for Maryland.

4:16 p.m. — Desmond Gee takes the ball and throws a completion to the 2. Unbelievable.

After a penalty makes it 1st-and-goal, Dasher runs option left and is stuffed by Wujciak for no gain.

Dasher throws a touchdown to Sancho McDonald on 2nd-and-goal, but the officials will review the play.

Quite a turn of events in this one.

4:13 p.m. — After Smith takes a short kick back to the 26, Maryland takes over, and we’ll see how Turner responds after the turnover.

Scott takes the hand-off to the right, and he coughs up the football. The Blue Raiders have it, defensive end Chris McCoy has it.

The Maryland offense needs to wake up, as they’ve given MTSU the ball on the Terps’ 30.

4:12 p.m. — Despite the touchdown, the defense is doing an excellent job containing Dasher. The quarterback has only rushed for eight yards on seven carries.

4:11 p.m. — On 4th-and-inches, Dasher throws deep to McClover, but we have a flag on the play. The Terps’ A.J. Francis was offside, giving them a fresh set of downs.

Dasher then throws to McClover again down to the 4.

Dasher then keeps for a touchdown on the next play, as the defense cannot hold MTSU after the Turner interception.

However, the extra point is blocked, and the Terps still lead 7-6.

4:05 p.m. — After a seven-yard completion, Dasher keeps the ball on third down after faking the hand-off to the running back. He’s inches short of the fourth down, but MTSU will go for it from the 20.

Dasher again works out of the gun, but we’ve reached the end of the first quarter.

Maryland leads Middle Tennessee State, 7-0.

4:03 p.m. — The ruling is upheld, and the Blue Raiders take over at the Maryland 29-yard line. You simply cannot turn the ball over like that.

Dasher runs an option pass on first down but cannot connect with McClover in the end zone.

4:01 p.m. — Maryland is going no-huddle, but a false start is called on Phil Costa, backing the Terps up five yards.

On 2nd-and-10, Meggett is gobbled up in the backfield for a two-yard loss.

On 3rd-and-12, the Terps try the same play to Meggett as they did before, but the pass is picked off by safety Derrick Crumpton.  The pass was poorly thrown.

The play is being reviewed, and hopefully it’s overturned. No TV, so we’re not seeing any replays in the press box.

3:59 p.m. — Davin Meggett has checked in for his first action but only gains one yard on first down.  He’s then stuffed again, running into a wall of tacklers on the right side.

On 3rd-and-8, Turner finds Meggett out of the backfield, giving the Terps a 14-yard gain and a first down.

3:57 p.m. — After the Blue Raiders pick up the first down, Adrian Moten sacks Dasher for a loss of 15 yards. Despite the quarterback’s mobility, you also cannot allow him to just stand back there in the pocket, so it’s nice to see the early pressure.

After another Maryland timeout, Dasher tries to throw over the middle to Honeycutt. Not a good decision as the ball could have easily been picked off.

On 3rd-and-25, Dasher runs for five, ending the threat.

David DeFatta’s punt rolls out of bounds at the Maryland 8.

3:52 p.m. — Desmond Gee returns the kick to the MTSU 32-yard line.

Dasher is working out of the shotgun, and the approach is very similar to what we saw last week.

He throws a hitch for a four-yard gain and then throws a first-down completion to Chris McClover after Alex Wujciak left his man. The Terps will have to find the balance between spying Dasher and locking onto receivers.

3:50 p.m. — The drive covers three plays, 56 yards, and 1:27. The running game is really clicking early on, and the offensive line has been very solid.

3:49 p.m. — The Terps begin their second drive from their 44, and Scott gains eight yards around the right corner.

Jamarr Robinson has just checked in and hands off to Scott for no gain.

Turner comes back in on third down, and there goes Da’Rel Scott for a 48-yard touchdown running off right tackle! Beautiful blocking, and a beautiful start for the Terps!

Nick Ferrara, last week’s hero, adds the extra point, and the Terps lead, 7-0.

3:47 p.m. — The Blue Raiders are going no-huddle, so it’s a little difficult to keep up.

Anthony Wiseman blew up a bubble screen on second down for a loss, and Demetris Hartsfield ALMOST picks off the Dasher pass on fourth down.

Wiseman returns the punt, so it appears we’ll see both Tate and Wiseman back there. Tony Logan was listed as probable, and I saw him on the field during warm-ups, but it appears Friedgen will stick with Wiseman and Tate.

3:41 p.m. — Turner finds Smith on the quick hitch (haven’t seen that before, have we?) for seven yards. Scott then finds very little running room on second down and is dropped for a one-yard loss.

On 3rd-and-4, Turner throws the deep ball to Smith on the far side of the field, but it’s overthrown.

Travis Baltz punts, and it goes into the end zone for a touchback.

Middle Tennessee takes over at their own 20, as the drive sputters after a promising start.

3:38 p.m. — Scott runs for 16 yards after a HUGE hole opened up in the middle of the field. I could have run through that one.

Maryland has it on their own 47, but Turner must use the Terps’ first timeout.

I said earlier this afternoon on Section 410 on WNST 1570 AM that the key would be for Maryland to establish the running game early and jump ahead early. Much like last week with JMU, the longer the Terps leave the Blue Raiders in the game, the more likely an upset becomes.

3:37 p.m. — On first down, Chris Turner throws a 15-yard slant to Torrey Smith. Good start for the passing game there.

Da’Rel Scott is then stuffed after only a one-yard gain. Maryland will need to get the running game going. JMU stacked the box throughout the game last week.

3:36 p.m. — On 3rd-and-2, Dasher keeps the ball but is short of the first down.  The Blue Raiders will punt, so a good start for the Maryland defense.

Kenny Tate is back to return the first punt of the game and makes a four-yard return to the 15.

3:33 p.m. — The Blue Raiders will begin the opening drive at their own 28. The Terps must be aware of quarterback Dwight Dasher’s running ability.

D.D. Kyles gets the start at tailback for the Blue Raiders and picked up a first down after a seven-yard pass to Patrick Honeycutt.

3:29 p.m. — Maryland wins the toss and will defer to the second half. Middle Tennessee State will receive to begin the game.

Torrey Smith is today’s special teams captain for the Terps.

3:27 p.m. — Paul Pinegar carried the Maryland flag while Lamar Young carried the American flag as the Terps took the field.

MTSU has a much smaller representation of fans than what we saw from James Madison last week. No major surprise there.

3:26 p.m. — The Terps are about to take the field, but we have another late-arriving crowd. The student section is almost full, but the rest of the stadium is pretty sparse overall.

3:22 p.m. — As we await the start of today’s game, I’ll quickly go around the ACC:

Through three quarters, Clemson is shutting out Boston College, 19-0, and Duke is getting hammered at Kansas with that game late in the fourth quarter.

North Carolina dropped ECU, and Miami topped Georgia Tech in a convincing win on Thursday night.

3:20 p.m. — The band is out on the field as we’re 15 minutes away from kickoff. Once again, the game is only being shown on ESPN360, so many in the Baltimore area will not be able to watch unfortunately.

We just observed a moment of silence for the passing of NCAA president Myles Brand before the marching band played the Star-Spangled Banner.

3:03 p.m. — New defensive coordinator Don Brown and the defense have been beaten up over the first two games, and it’s hard to overlook over 900 total yards surrendered in two weeks.

The defense continues to adjust to Brown’s new 4-3 defensive scheme and has not forced a turnover in its first two games. Brown’s blitzing tendencies were placed on hold last week with JMU running the spread option. With the secondary banged up, you would think the Terps will try to bring the heat, but again, Dasher is a serious threat to run.

It should be an interesting matchup this afternoon.

3:01 p.m. — The Terps will again wear their red jerseys and white pants for this afternoon’s game, and the Blue Raiders wear silver helmets, white jerseys, and blue pants.

That will be my last fashion update of the afternoon.

2:59 p.m. — Just a few quick pregame notes to ponder, as we’re about 30 minutes away from kickoff.

* Dating back to the end of 2007, the Terps have won eight of their last nine home games. Of course, the one loss was last season’s bitterly disappointing 37-3 loss to Florida State last November. I hope I didn’t bring you down too much by reminding you of that one.

* This will be the fourth meeting between Maryland and MTSU, and the Terps lead the all-time series 2-1. The Terps defeated the Blue Raiders in 2000 and 2006 before dropping last season’s matchup.

* We’ve talked extensively about the inexperience of this year’s team, but the Terps’ 10 returning starters this season are the second-fewest in the Friedgen era.  Maryland had only nine returning starters heading into the 2004 season.

* With Carroll’s season-ending injury last week against JMU, it marks the second-straight year the Terps have lost their No. 1 cornerback. Midway through last season, Maryland lost Kevin Barnes against Wake Forest.

* The Terps did a far better job spreading the ball around to their receivers last week. After only three receivers made catches against Cal in the season opener, five wideouts recorded at least one grab against James Madison.

Torrey Smith led the Terrapins with eight catches, matching a career-high, while Adrian Cannon (five), Quintin McCree (four), Ronnie Tyler (three), and LaQuan Williams (one) also contributed to the passing attack.

2:41 p.m. — For those of you unable to make it to Byrd Stadium for this afternoon’s game, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will air a replay of the game at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Hopefully, it will be worth it to check that out after the Ravens-Chargers game tomorrow night.

2:36 p.m. — Just a reminder that the game will only be shown on ESPN360, so be sure to follow Live from College Park on WNST.net throughout the afternoon. I’ll also be tweeting on WNST’s Twitter feed.

As always, your comments, rants, and questions are always encouraged by posting in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

2:32 p.m. — I’m live from the press box of Byrd Stadium to watch the Maryland Terrapins (1-1) take on the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (1-1) out of the Sun Belt.

Last season’s 24-14 surprising loss will be fresh on the minds of Ralph Friedgen and his Terps this afternoon.

Maryland will once again be without left tackle Bruce Campbell (toe) and safety Jamari McCollough this afternoon. The Terps must also see if sophomore Cameron Chism can replace senior Nolan Carroll at cornerback, as the co-captain was lost for the season with a broken tibia last week against James Madison.

After JMU quarterback Drew Dudzik rushed for 119 yards last week, the Maryland defense will face another run-first quarterback in junior Dwight Dasher. Dasher is the Blue Raiders’ leading rusher this season, running for 193 yards in the first two games.

Middle Tennessee State will be without starting tailback Phillip Tanner this week, allowing Don Brown’s unit to focus more closely on the running ability of Dasher.

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Live from College Park: Maryland beats JMU in OT, 38-35

Posted on 12 September 2009 by Luke Jones

11:07 p.m. — The Terps (1-1) will now face Middle Tennessee State next Saturday and will attempt to extract some revenge after the FCS school upset them a year ago.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

You can check out the final box score of tonight’s game right here.

11:04 p.m. — The big play of the first half was Torrey Smith’s 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but apparently two teammates inadvertently opened a running lane for him on the big play.

Smith said two members of the return team ran into each other, and it actually created a path through which he could run.

When asked about the offense’s morale after Turner through the “pick-6,” Smith mentioned how most members of the offense came together on the sideline.

“We’ve been here before,” he said.  “We can come back and tie it up.”

11:01 p.m. — Freshman Nick Ferrara may still be adjusting to life as a freshman in College Park, but he’s the big man on campus tonight after hitting the game-winning 26-yard field goal in overtime.

Ferrara said it was his first game-winning kick, including high school.  When the game went into overtime, he thought to himself, “This is my time.”

His head coach apparently knew it would happen before the Terps even took the field tonight.  Friedgen claims he had a dream last night that the Terps would kick a field goal in overtime on a third-down play—and that’s exactly what happened.

Ferrara knew James Madison would try to ice him on the overtime kick and credits his head coach for keeping him loose when he attempted to jog over to the Maryland sideline.

“[He told me] ‘Hey, Nick, get back out there. You’re fine.'”

10:58 p.m. — Defensive coordinator Don Brown admitted the difficulty in preparing for a triple-option team like James Madison, especially after playing such an explosive offense last week.  The option forced Brown to move away from his blitzing preferences, as players must play specific assignments in the option game.

After allowing over 500 yards last week against Cal, the Terps surrendered 417 yards of offense tonight with 268 coming on the ground.

Brown said his players are still adjusting to his new defensive system but took full accountability for the defense’s performance in the first two games.

Despite the rough evening, the defensive coordinator was pleased with how the defense “raised” its intensity late in the fourth quarter and in overtime.

“In the overtime, I thought we were extremely decisive,” he said.  “It’s something to build on.”

10:51 p.m. — Friedgen was pleased with the performance of his quarterback despite throwing an interception returned for a touchdown that put the Terrapins behind late in the third quarter.

“Chris has always been at his best in the toughest times and I think he came through for us big-time tonight,” he said.

Turner expressed a desire to get the running game going more consistently.  The Terps rushed for 132 yards on 32 carries against James Madison.

10:49 p.m. — When asked his thoughts on the team after getting blown out last week and barely beating a FCS school at home, Friedgen cited how inexperienced the team is and how it will take time for younger players to feel comfortable at this level.

“I do think we’re getting better,” he said.  “It’s just a question of how fast [we do it].”

10:45 p.m. — Friedgen expressed satisfaction—and relief—about tonight’s overtime victory.

“I’m very proud of the way our players hung in there and fought,” he said after the game.

The head coach expressed a need for the defense to attack more and not be as cautious when blitzing.  Friedgen also wants the number of penalties to decrease.  The Terps were penalized five times for 50 yards, one of them a personal foul penalty late in the fourth quarter.

10:41 p.m. — The Terps will feel relieved after pulling out the 38-35 overtime victory over James Madison, but the news is not so good for starting cornerback and co-captain Nolan Carroll.

Ralph Friedgen told the media Carroll suffered a broken tibia and is likely done for the year.

“I feel very bad for Nolan, because he was playing so well,” Friedgen said.

Carroll is a highly-respected member of the team, and you can tell by talking to his teammates.  In fact, Alex Wujciak and Chris Turner were both unaware of Carroll’s fate and were visibly shaken when told by the media.

9:31 p.m. — You have to tip your hat to James Madison today, as the Dukes gave the Terps everything they could handle today.

For Maryland, it’s a nice win but certainly not the convincing performance you wanted to see over a FCS school.

9:29 p.m. — Ferrara hits the 26-yard field goal, and the Terrapins win!

Final score: Maryland 38, James Madison 35

What a great moment for the true freshman.

9:28 p.m. — Turner fakes the handoff and keeps for a gain of 6.  2nd-and-4 from the 7-yard line.

He then takes the handoff and moves to the middle of the field for the field goal.  It will be a 26-yard field goal attempt.

James Madison takes a timeout to freeze the true freshman Ferrara.

9:27 p.m. — Maryland begins at the 25, as Scott carries for five yards down to the 20.  Maryland only needs a field goal to win, keep in mind.

Scott runs for seven yards, and a first down at the 13.

9:26 p.m. — On third down, Dudzik is hit while he throws, and the pass falls incomplete.

Wright will attempt a 41-yard field goal, and it is NO GOOD!

Maryland will go on offense with a chance to win.

9:24 p.m. — On first down, the Maryland defense bottles up Dudzik after only a gain of one. Dudzik then lines up in the shotgun and runs option left where he’s wrapped up by Wujciak for no gain.

9:22 p.m. — Maryland wins the toss and will elect to play defense first.  JMU elects to defend the east end zone—away from the Maryland student section.

Each team will receiver a possession starting at the 25-yard line with an opportunity to score.

9:20 p.m. — JMU has an astonishing 265 yards on the ground.  Unbelievable.  And they’ve been penalized 11 times for 105 yards tonight.

9:19 p.m. — We’ve reached the end of regulation with Maryland and James Madison locked up at 35 apiece.

Hard to believe the Terps have put themselves in this position with a terrible second half of football.

9:18 p.m. — After a four-yard completion to Corwin Acker, Sullivan is stopped short of the first down on 3rd-and-6.

Madison will use its final timeout with 22 seconds remaining.  The Dukes will contemplate going for it but decide to punt.

Goff’s punt rolls down to the 4.  With 0:12 remaining on the clock, we’re going to see some extra football barring a miracle play.

9:14 p.m. — On 3rd-and-2, Sullivan busts one for 18 yards and a first down.

With 38 seconds on the clock, JMU clocks the ball.  The ball is on the Maryland 49.

9:12 p.m. — On 2nd-and-2, Dudzik’s pass is nearly picked off by Wiseman.

For the second time tonight, we have a late timeout negating a play.  Sullivan had been stopped on 3rd-and-2, but Maryland called a timeout before the snap.

Not sure what’s going on with the crew here.

9:10 p.m. — On first down, Dudzik carries for a gain of eight.  The Dukes will use a timeout with 0:50 remaining on the clock.

9:08 p.m. — On 3rd-and-9, Turner throws the slant to a wide-open Tyler, bu the sophomore drops it.

Baltz must punt drives it to the 11, but the Terps are called for interference–a 15-yard penalty.  JMU will have it at their own 26 with 58 seconds to go.

9:08 p.m. — Smith catches another short pass, but the Terps are flagged for a personal foul.  Unbelievable.

Now 2nd-and-21, Turner completes one to Smith for a gain of 12, setting up third down.

9:06 p.m. — The Terps begin the drive at their own 34-yard line.  The first-down pass is caught for a loss of five as the defender came up quickly to make the tackle.

After another incompletion, Turner hits Scott out of the backfield for an 18-yard gain and a first down.  The crowd gives a roar as we have less than two minutes remaining!

9:02 p.m. — On 3rd-and-16 from the JMU 41, Dudzik throws downfield right into the arms of Cameron Chism, but the defensive back drops the sure interception.

A much-needed stop there for the Terps with 2:54 remaining in the fourth quarter.

9:01 p.m. — Madison apparently calls timeout before throwing an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-16.  The Terps’ faithful are not happy.

9:00 p.m. — On 2nd-and-19, Sullivan is stopped after only a three-yard gain.

A huge third-down play here for the Dukes.

8:58 p.m. — Long takes the kickoff and returns it all the way to the JMU 47.  The kick coverage has been pretty poor throughout the evening.

The Dukes are obviously sticking with Dudzik at QB, and he hands to Sullivan for no gain.  Wujciak in on the stop.

Dudzik hands to Sullivan running right for a huge gain, but a penalty will thankfully negate the long run into Maryland territory.

8:54 p.m. — The drive covers 8 plays, 78 yards, and 2:53.

8:53 p.m. — On fourth down, Turner hits Tyler on the square out for 26 yards.  Huge play!

And, an even bigger play!  Turner hits Cannon for the 27-yard touchdown.  A tremendous throw by Turner.

With 5:09 remaining, Ferrara’s extra point ties the game at 35.

8:52 p.m. — Smith catches another short pass and gains 6 yards.  I’d still love to see Turner pump and throw deep to Smith.

On second down, Turner throws incomplete to Furstenburg.

On 3rd-and-4, Turner’s pass to Scott is deflected by D.J. Bryant.  The Terps will go for it.

8:50 p.m. — Turner runs for a first down and then carries again for four yards.

On 2nd-and-6, Turner hits Tyler on the slant for for 11 yards and a first down at the Terps’ 47.

8:48 p.m. — Let’s see how the Terps respond after Carroll is carted off the field.

Goff’s punt is fielded by Wiseman, and he’s dropped immediately at the Maryland 22-yard line.

8:02 remaining in the game, and Maryland trails by 7.

8:46 p.m. — Not a good sign for the Terps, as they’re bringing the cart out onto the field.  Carroll is a defensive captain for the Terps and a player they cannot afford to lose.

8:45 p.m. — After the punt, Francis stuffs the ball carrier Sullivan for no gain.  On second down, Sullivan is stopped by Moten and Wujciak after a gain of three. On 3rd-and-7, Sullivan carries again.  He’s short of the first down, thankfully.

Carroll is down on the field for the Terps.

8:41 p.m. — Maryland will start at their own 31-yard line.  Let’s see if the offense can answer again.

Turner gets good protection and tries to connect with Smith on the bomb, but the ball is overthrown.  On second down, Turner throws a hitch to McCree for nine yards.  Cannon did a great job blocking his man all the way into the Terps’ sideline.

On 3rd-and-1, Tyler Bowen is called for a false start.  That simply cannot happen.

Backed up five yards, Turner finds a wide-open Meggett over the middle, and he drops it.  It would have been at worst a 15-yard pickup and possibly more.

8:36 p.m. — JMU is called for delay of game on first down, moving them back to their own 28.  Dudzik is still in the game, so it appears Matthews will stick with the hot hand now.

The quarterback keeps it for only a two-yard gain on first.

On second down, Dudzik fakes the handoff and runs 70 yards for the touchdown.  Unbelievable.  The Maryland defense has NO CLUE where the ball is in this JMU offense.

So much for snatching back the momentum.  Terps trail 35-28 with 11:23 remaining.

Dudzik has 11 carries for 103 yards.  He’s a quarterback.

8:31 p.m. — Turner keeps it on second down, taking the ball all the way to the 8-yard line.  First-and-goal.

Turner runs option right and pitch it to Smith running in the opposite direction.  No one will catch him.  TOUCHDOWN, Maryland!  Beautiful play call there.

Ferrara’s extra point ties the game at 28.  12:18 remaining in the game.

The drive covers three plays, 39 yards, and less than two minutes.

8:28 p.m. — Turner throws deep to Smith (thank you!), but the pass falls incomplete.  However, JMU is flagged for pass interference, giving the Terps the first down at the Dukes’ 25.  That’s why you throw deep.

Turner then throws another hitch to Smith who takes it upfield for six yards.

8:26 p.m. — On 2nd-and-7, Dudzik runs the option and is blown up by Tate in the backfield for a loss of six yards.  He should’ve pitched that one.

On 3rd-and-13, the Dukes go conservative and hand off to Sullivan.  He picks up three, and Madison must punt.  A nice series for the defense that was BADLY needed.

Wiseman fields the punt in James Madison territory and returns it to the 40-yard line.

8:22 p.m. — We’ve reached the end of the third quarter, and Maryland trails JMU, 28-21.  A disastrous third quarter for the Terps.

8:20 p.m. — Meggett catches out of the backfield for one yard.  2nd-and-15 now as Turner is pressured and must throw incomplete.  On third down, Cannon catches a 10-yard pass, short of the chains.

The JMU fans in attendance—a nice showing coming up from Harrisonburg—are fired up and rightfully so.

Baltz hits a high 49-yard punt all the way down to the JMU 9 yard-line.

8:18 p.m. — Let’s see how Turner and the offense responds.  After Smith returns to the 36, the Terps are flagged for illegal procedure.

Turner then must take a timeout.  The crowd is not happy after that.

8:13 p.m. — The up man Tommy Galt fields the kick and returns it to his own 36.  JMU is definitely kicking away from Smith, and who can blame them?

The Terps run a reverse to Smith for a gain of 14 yards, getting the Byrd crowd back into the game.  Turner then keeps on first down and picks up five yards.

On 2nd-and-5, Turner fakes the pitch and tries to throw to Tommy Galt.  Bad choice.  The pass is intercepted by Jon Williams for a 62-yard touchdown.  Oh dear God.

JMU now leads, 28-21.

8:10 p.m. — The play stands, and the Wright extra point is good.

With 3:05 remaining in the third quarter, Maryland and James Madison are tied, 21-21.

45 yards and six plays on the drive.  This is not good.

8:09 p.m. — On 2nd-and-6 from the Terps’ 10, Sullivan runs right into Harrell and Galt at the line of scrimmage.  However, James Madison is called for a chop block, which will move the ball back 15 yards.

On 2nd-and-21, Dudzik hits running back Scott Noble for 15 yards.

On 3rd-and-6 from the 10, James Madison jumps, moving them back five yards to the 15.  Dudzik then throws the 15-yard touchdown to Caussin again, beating Moten for the score.

A great throw and a great catch, but hold on, we’ll have a review.

8:03 p.m. — Dudzik is back in the game after the turnover.

On second down, Jared Harrell pressures the quarterback into throwing the ball away.

On 3rd-and-8, Madison lines up with trips to the right, and Dudzik finds Charlie Neuman on the near sideline for a big gain down to the Maryland 14.

8:02 p.m. — Thorpe is back in at quarterback and runs left for only a yard before Carroll makes the tackle from his corner spot.  Thorpe has only attempted two passes tonight.

Sullivan goes in motion and takes the quick handoff for a big gain, but JMU is called for a holding penalty, making it 2nd-and-19.

Thorpe looks to throw but keeps it and runs for 15 yards.  Demetrius Hartsfield missed an open-field tackle, allowing the quarterback to pick up an extra 10 yards.

On 3rd-and-4, Thorpe is stuffed by Hartsfield, immediately making up for the missed tackle.  No gain, and Madison must punt.

Tate fumbles the punt, giving the Dukes the ball at the Maryland 45-yard line.  That’s not good.

7:57 p.m. — 46,485 is the announced attendance for tonight’s game.  As I said earlier, the upper deck has quite a few empty seats, but the lower bowl is completely filled.

7:56 p.m. — Meggett takes the first-down pitch and has nowhere to go, losing two yards.  On second down, Meggett takes the quick hand-off in the shotgun formation and carries for five yards.

On 3rd-and-7, Turner throws incomplete, intended for Tyler.  JMU brought two defenders on the blitz, and Turner barely got the ball away.

Baltz’s punt goes to the 20-yard line.

7:52 p.m. — Dudzik starts the second half for the Dukes and throws incomplete on first down.  Sullivan carries for about five yards on the next play.

On 3rd-and-5, Dudzik runs to the right, but A.J. Francis stops him after only a gain of two.  Madison must punt.

Wiseman makes the fair catch at the Maryland 45.  Good field position after the first punt, and a good series for the defense to begin the second half.

7:49 p.m. — Scott just put nice moves on two defenders, picking up eight yards on second down.  On 3rd-and-2, Turner lines up in the shotgun and is sacked by linebacker Pat Williams who appeared to come free on the blitz.

Baltz with a beautiful punt, but Trenton Hughes cannot down the ball inside the 5-yard line.  The kick goes into the end zone, and JMU takes over at their own 20.

7:46 p.m. — JMU angles the kick away from Smith, but he still manages to return the ball to his own 31.

On the first play, Turner throws another hitch to Cannon for a gain of 3.  It’d be nice to see Franklin mix in a hitch-and-go at some point.  The JMU corners continue to creep up to the line of scrimmage on those hitch patterns.

After a short Scott run, Turner throws complete to Ronnie Tyler for a first down and 16 yards.  Tyler used a nice move to shake a defender on the play.

7:42 p.m. — Maryland will receive to begin the second half, so let’s see if Smith can spark the offense at the start of the third quarter.

7:39 p.m. — You have to be pleased with the offensive performance so far today.  Despite Campbell being out on an already-inexperienced offensive line, Turner is using the short passing game to move the chains.

The senior quarterback is 11 of 14 for 97 yards.  Scott has 50 yards on 13 carries and has a 1-yard touchdown run to his name.

Smith’s 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown is the play of the first half, but the sophomore receiver has also caught 4 passes for 51 yards.  The Terps must continue to use his speed, and they did a good job getting him touches in the first half.

Defensively, you have to be disappointed with the Terrapins’ effort.  Though JMU is rotating two quarterbacks and keeping the defense guessing, the Terps cannot allow 130 yards on the ground in one half of football.

Dudzik has rushed for 36 yards, Thorpe for 35, and the tailback Sullivan for 44 yards and a touchdown.  Dudzik also has 79 passing yards and a touchdown pass to Caussin late in the first quarter.

Brown and the defense need to get more pressure on the quarterback and then contain Dudzik and Thorpe when they decide to tuck it and run.

James Madison has 217 total yards in the first half.  Not as bad as Cal last week but not a great performance by the defense in the first half.  Moten leads the Terps with five tackles.

7:23 p.m. — The punter Matt Goff lines up to attempt the long 50-yard field goal, and the Terps take a time out to “ice” him.

After the timeout, the left-footed kicker’s attempt is blocked by Deege Galt.  Huge play by the Terps to go into the half with a 21-14 lead.

I’ll be back in a few for my first-half thoughts.

7:20 p.m. — On 3rd-and-4, Dudzik keeps and is stopped short of the first.  Galt makes the stop.

On 4th-and-2, Dudzik fakes the handoff to Sullivan and picks up 21 yards on the play.  That cannot happen.  JMU spikes the ball with two seconds to go from the Maryland 33 yard-line

7:18 p.m. — Dudzik carries the ball for six yards after failing to find an open receiver.  Madison takes a timeout with only 51 seconds to go in the half.

Ball is on their own 48.

After the Dukes line up in the shotgun, the Terps will now use a timeout.

7:15 p.m. — Dudzik remains in at QB and completes one for no gain.

Would be nice to see some pressure on Dudzik from Brown’s defense.

7:14 p.m. — Moats continues to give the Terps problems as he nearly sacks Turner and forces an incompletion.

On 3rd-and-2, Turner throws incomplete as he tries to find Matt Furstenburg.  Baltz will have to punt.

A short punt of only 30 yards gives Madison the ball at its own 42-yard line.  Not good.  1:18 to play in the second quarter.

7:13 p.m. — Maryland takes over at their own 20 after a touchback.

Turner comes out throwing and hits Meggett out of the backfield for eight yards.  Under two minutes to go.

7:07 p.m. — Sullivan runs for the 4-yard touchdown, definitely a disappointing drive for a defense that should have felt very rested.

The Dukes will go for two points, and Dudzik tries to keep, is stood up at the goal line, and after a large gang of pushing ensues, the quarterback breaks the plane.

JMU cuts the score to 21-14 with 2:06 remaining in the half.  The Madison drive covers 56 yards in 6 plays and lasts only 2:35.

JMU picked up very large chunks of yardage on the ground on that drive, a very disappointing series for this defense.

7:05 p.m. — Sullivan finds a seam and carries for 13 yards down to the Maryland 25-yard line.  You don’t want to give up points here if you’re Maryland after such a methodical scoring drive just a few minutes ago.

Marcus Turner gets the pitch and picks up 21 yards all the way down to the Maryland 4.

7:02 p.m. — Dudzik attempts to run a play resembling the option and only picks up one yard.

On 3rd-and-9, Dudzik finds Caussin over the middle of the field for a gain of 17 yards and a first down.  3:33 remaining in the first half.

7:00 p.m. — You have to think Don Brown and the defense has figured out the pattern for the JMU quarterbacks with Dudzik being the more traditional passer and Thorpe always looking to run.

Dudzik is back at QB as the Dukes begin on their own 44 after another nice return.  Coverage has been spotty throughout the first half for the Terps.

6:58 p.m. — On 2nd-and-10, Turner attempts the fade to Cannon, and JMU is called for pass interference, giving the Terps a 1st-and-goal on the 3.

Scott carries for no gain on first down as Moats stops him at the line of scrimmage.

After a pump fake, Turner runs up the middle for the score!  Beautifully run play there, as the Terps go up by a score of 21-6.

The drive covers 81 yards in 14 plays and covers 8:20.  This definitely gave the defense a nice breather.

6:53 p.m. — Scott is tripped up for a loss of one, making it 3rd-and-9 from the JMU 30-yard line with just over 7 minutes remaining in the half.

Turner hits Smith on a crossing route over the middle for a gain of 12 yards and moving the ball inside the red zone.

6:51 p.m. — Turner, working out of the shotgun, throws a dart to McCree for the first-down completion, covering 13 yards.

After Scott runs for three on first down, he picks up the first down after a 13-yard pickup.  Scott is showing good speed and has rushed for 47 yards on 10 carries so far today.

6:49 p.m. — Scott is back in at tailback for Maryland and takes the pitch left for a gain of six on first down.  Pinegar seemed to do a nice job getting out to block, as he’s moved over to the left side in Campbell’s place.

On 2nd-and-4, Turner throws to Quintin McCree who is stopped immediately for only a gain of one yard.

Scott picks up the first down after running for 10 yards.

The Terps continue to run the hitches and bubble screens as LaQuan Williams catches a short pass and picks up seven yards.

6:45 p.m. — On 1st-and-20, Thorpe runs a draw but is bottled up by Moten and Derek Drummond after only three yards.  It’s clear Thorpe is in there to run the ball.

As I type that, Thorpe tries to throw long to Long (ha!), but the ball falls incomplete.

On 3rd-and-17, Thorpe cannot find an open receiver and keeps it for a nice gain close to the first-down stick.  The Dukes are flagged for holding and Maryland accepts, making it 3rd-and-32.

Thorpe continues to work out of the shotgun and keeps again after not finding an open man downfield.  Antwine Perez trips him up after a 15-yard gain.

Wiseman takes the punt all the way back into JMU territory, but an illegal block in the back will negate the nice return.  Maryland takes over at their own 19-yard line.

6:40 p.m. — The lower bowl of Byrd has filled up very well, but there are still plenty of empty seats on the third level.  Late-arriving crowd seems to be settled in.

6:39 p.m. — JMU is called for false starts on successive plays, moving them back to their own 35.

We’ve reached the end of the first quarter with the Terps leading the Dukes, 14-6.

6:36 p.m. — Ferrara kicks to the 22 where Griff Yancey, an up-man, calls for the fair catch.

Thorpe is back in the game at QB and hands off to Sullivan for a huge gain.  Carroll finally brings him down after a 23-yard pickup.  I’m impressed with the Madison offense so far.  The quarterback rotation has to be difficult to handle when you consider the different skill set of Dudzik and Thorpe.

6:34 p.m. — Smith takes the return, and he’s gone! 81-yard kickoff return for the touchdown.  You give Smith an opening, and on one will catch him.  Blinding speed.

Ferrara’s extra point is good, and the Terps are up 14-6.

Maryland’s last kickoff return for a TD came last season when Smith returned a 99-yarder against Nevada.

6:31 p.m. — Dudzik is back at QB for JMU, as Mickey Matthews will rotate the two throughout the game it appears.

After Sullivan carries for four, Dudzik completes a 29-yard pass to Scott Noble all the way down to the Maryland 21.

On 2nd-and-9, Dudzik finds tight end Mike Caussin wide open for a 20-yard Dukes touchdown.  Nobody was around him.

JMU kicker Dixon Wright misses the extra point.  Maryland still leads, 7-6 with 1:30 remaining in the first quarter.

6:27 p.m. — Davin Meggett is in at tailback for the Terps to begin the series and carries for three yards on his first touch.  Meggett carries for two on second down.

On 3rd-and-5, Ronnell Brown brings heavy pressure as Turner nearly throws an interception.

Travis Baltz has to punt, and McGee returns the 45-yard punt to the JMU 46.

6:23 — Sullivan carries on 2nd-and-2 for no gain.  On third down, Thorpe is absolutely STUFFED by Adrian Moten for a loss of four yards, and JMU will have to punt.  Big defensive play.

Kenny Tate and Anthony Wiseman are back to return the punt (Logan is the normal returner but sat out last week).  Wiseman fair catches the 42-yard punt, and the Terps take over at their own 8-yard line.

6:18 p.m. — Again, the kick coverage is shaky as Kerby Long returns the ball to his own 28 after the return man breaks a couple tackles.

Thorpe is now in at quarterback, and he carries for three yards on his first play.

On 2nd-and-7, Thorpe keeps again but picks up 13 yards and a first down.  He’s a true frosh and is very agile.

6:15 p.m. — Adrian Cannon makes his first grab of the game, moving the chains again.

On first down, Scott runs left for six yards to the 10.

The Terps run the hitch to Cannon, and he carries to the 2.

First-and-goal, and Scott is in for the touchdown!

Ferrara’s extra point is good, and Maryland leads 7-0 with 8:05 remaining in the first quarter.  71 yards in 10 plays and covered 4:30.

Quite a difference from last week’s start so far, but JMU is a LITTLE different than facing Cal.

6:12 p.m. — After a short Scott run on first down, the Terps run the same play to Smith on the opposite sideline, and he ALMOST breaks it, picking up 22, as the Terps have moved down to the JMU 30-yard line.

Scott then carries right for eight yards.  The Terps certainly look sharp early, but they’ll need to finish off the drive with six points.

6:11 p.m. — Maryland takes over on its own 28-yard line as we’ll get our first look at Chris Turner and the Terps offense.

Turner completes his first pass to Torrey Smith on first down for a gain of six.  Nice to see them get the ball to Smith early.

On 2nd-and-4, Da’Rel Scott is leveled by Arthur Moats after a gain of two.

On 3rd-and-2, Turner throws the hitch to Smith for 11, giving the Terps a first down.  Smith has two early catches after not catching a pass until the third quarter last week.

6:06 p.m. — After Dudzik completes a 13-yard pass to Rockeed McCarter, JMU fumbles the snap on 3rd-and-4 as they try a direct snap to Sullivan.

On 4th-and-5, the Dukes go for it.  Dudzik keeps it and is stopped by Wujciak right at the sticks.  After the measurement, the Terps take over on downs.  Definitely a big play by the middle linebacker on that play.

6:03 p.m. — Nick Ferrara kicks off and Scotty McGee returns the short kick all the way down to the Maryland 38.  A return of 50 yards is not what you want to see right off the bat.

Drew Dudzik gets the start at quarterback for JMU who will also give Justin Thorpe some reps today.

The Dukes are called for a delay of game before Jamal Sullivan runs for a loss of two on 1st-and-15.

6:01 p.m. — The Terps come out first followed by the Dukes from James Madison who come out to a chorus of loud boos.  The student section has filled up very nicely, but definitely not a large crowd overall.

The captains meet at the 50, and Maryland will kick off to begin the game.

A pregame video of “Red! White!” between Bruce Campbell and Travis Ivey really got the crowd going.

5:56 p.m. — It’s cloudy with a 20% chance of precipitation, and the current temperature is 70 degrees here at Byrd Stadium.

5:50 p.m. — Gonnella will carry the American flag on to the field today, and Deege Galt (Good Counsel HS in Silver Spring) will bring the Maryland flag to the field.

5:48 p.m. — Terps captains are Turner, Costa, Carroll, and Moten, who are all season-long captains.  Today’s special teams captain is Kevin Dorsey.

Today’s honorary captains are football alumni Jack Scarbath and Joe Horning.

5:45 p.m. — Here are the scheduled starters for the Terps this evening:

QB Chris Turner
TB Da’Rel Scott
FB Cory Jackson
WR Adrian Cannon
WR Torrey Smith
TE Tommy Galt
LT Paul Pinegar
LG Bennett Fulper (true freshman – the first to start since Jared Gaither in the 2005 season finale)
C Phil Costa
RG Andrew Gonnella
RT R.J. Dill

DE Jared Harrell
NT A.J. Francis
DT Travis Ivey
DE Deege Galt
LB Adrian Moten
LB Alex Wucjiak
LB Demetrius Hartsfield
CB Anthony Wiseman
FS Terrell Skinner
SS Kenny Tate
CB Nolan Carroll

5:34 p.m. — Other than the student section, Byrd is very empty as we count down to the 6:00 kickoff.  Not a complete surprise considering the FCS opponent and the brutal loss from last week.

The students are fired up, however, and were giving the JMU mascot a very hard time when he came down to stir them up.

5:20 p.m. — Today’s ACC winners include North Carolina (with a late safety to beat UConn, 12-10), Wake Forest, Duke, Virginia Tech, and Boston College.  Georgia Tech knocked off Clemson on Thursday night.

Florida State and N.C. State will also kick off their respective games at 6:00 p.m.

Virginia trails TCU, 14-0 in the third quarter.  I think Al Groh is in major trouble.

5:12 p.m. — Maryland is dressed in their red home jerseys and white pants, and the Dukes will wear gold helmets, white jerseys, and purple pants.

5:08 p.m. — The Terps will be without left tackle Bruce Campbell (toe) and safety Jamari McCollough (foot) this evening, as both players sustained injuries against Cal.

Other Terps who are out include Louis Berman (leg), Caleb Porzel (leg), and Joe Vellano (foot).

5:03 p.m. –Tony Logan is out on the field and warming up, so it appears he’ll give it a go this evening.  The Terps’ punt returner missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury.

The student section is beginning to fill up, but the stadium is still very empty considering we’re less than an hour away from kickoff.  Let’s hope it’s simply a matter of Terps fans getting some extra tailgating in before kickoff.  After all, this is the first opportunity to do it this season.

Plenty of tickets will still available this week, so maybe we’ll see a bigger walk-up crowd with the game only being shown on ESPN360.

4:38 p.m. — I’m live from the brand new press box in Tyser Tower, and we’re an hour and a half away from kickoff here at Byrd Stadium, as the Terps take on FCS power James Madison this evening.

The Terps (0-1) are coming off a horrific 52-13 loss at California last Saturday while the Dukes are playing their first game of the season.  James Madison was ranked No. 6 in the FCS preseason poll, so Maryland cannot take this team lightly.

We’ll see how eager the Terps are to put last week’s loss behind them, as they were thoroughly dominated in all phases of the game.

The game can only be seen on ESPN360 (webcast), so WNST.net is the place to be, as I’ll be blogging throughout the game.  As always, you’re encouraged to leave your comments, questions, and rants throughout the evening.

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Maryland-James Madison Preview: Terps trying to put nightmarish opener to rest

Posted on 11 September 2009 by Luke Jones

Even the most optimistic of Maryland fans would have to look long and hard to find any positives stemming from last Saturday night’s horrific 52-13 beating at the hands of California.

And they still wouldn’t find any.

The Terrapins (0-1) will try to put the blowout behind them, as they return to College Park for their home opener against FCS (formerly 1-AA) power James Madison (0-0).  Byrd Stadium will look a little different with the upgraded Tyser Tower housing new suites and a new press box after nearly two years of renovations.

An early encounter with a FCS school was formerly considered to be a pseudo bye week for major conference schools, but the myth vanished with Appalachian State’s upset of Michigan two years ago, and the message hit much closer to home last season when the Terps dropped a road game to Middle Tennessee State—next week’s opponent.

The Dukes are defending CAA champions and advanced to the FCS semifinals before falling to Montana a year ago.  Mickey Matthews begins his 11th year as head coach and led James Madison to the 1-AA national championship in 2004.

Ralph Friedgen’s Terps will attempt to rebound from a rough performance in all phases of the game last week, as the offensive line failed to protect quarterback Chris Turner (sacked six times), and the defense surrendered 542 yards of total offense.

Keys to the Game

1. Win the battle upfront

We knew the offensive line would suffer growing pains with only two returning starters—tackle Bruce Campbell and center Phil Costa—but the unit was destroyed by the Cal defensive line and was never allowed to really establish the strong running game after falling behind early.

Complicating the situation this week will be the absence of Campbell, sidelined with a toe injury.  The left tackle’s absence will force Paul Pinegar to move to the left side and redshirt frosh R.J. Dill to start in his place at right tackle.

Even without their best lineman, the Terps should be able to win the battle upfront, opening lanes for Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett and setting up the play-action pass.

2. Use your speed

Torrey Smith was expected to replace Darrius Heyward-Bey as the “home run hitter” of the offense, but the sophomore failed to catch a pass until late in the third quarter.  The 29-yard reception was his only grab of the game.

James Madison will not have the athletes in the secondary to cover both Smith and Adrian Cannon (five catches for 30 yards against Cal), so the Terps should attempt to go downfield more frequently than they did a week ago.

Look for offensive coordinator James Franklin to find some creative ways to get the ball in Smith’s hands early in the game to seize the early momentum.

3. Short memory for the defense

Despite last week’s drubbing, Don Brown’s unit needs to remain aggressive and not play on their heels.  Brown will bring heavy pressure to help a secondary that will be without safety Jamari McCollough (foot).

James Madison will use both junior Drew Dudzik and freshman Justin Thorpe at quarterback, so the Terps must prevent either passer from getting comfortable in the pocket.

Safety Terrell Skinner and cornerback Nolan Carroll held a “defensive players only” meeting this week to discuss last week’s embarrassing performance and make sure everyone was still on the same page.  As ugly as the defense looked against the Golden Bears, it’s still only one game, and it came against one of the best teams in the country.

4. “Out-duke” the Dukes early

Though many Terps fans are fearing the worst after last week’s disaster, Maryland has superior talent to James Madison but needs to show it early.

If the Terps can pound the ball with Scott and Meggett—mixed with some shots to Smith and Cannon—the Dukes will wilt and be unable to recover.  If Maryland comes out flat and still feeling the mental effects of last week, James Madison has enough talent to make the Friedgen faithful extremely uncomfortable.

Under Matthews, James Madison is 0-5 against FBS (1-A) schools, losing by a combined score of 203-31.  In the two schools’ only previous meeting in 1998, Maryland won 23-15.

Injury Report

Out – Louis Berman (leg), Bruce Campbell (toe), Jamari McCollough (foot), Caleb Porzel (leg), Joe Vellano (foot)

Questionable – Tony Logan (shoulder)


There’s only one way to go after last week, right?  Keeping things in perspective, it WAS only one game, and it came against probably the toughest opponent on the schedule, on the road, and at 10:00 p.m. ET.

The Terrapins will come out hungry to show the home crowd they are a much better team than what they showed in Berkeley.

Turner throws a touchdown pass to Smith, Scott runs for two scores and over 100 yards, and Nick Ferrara hits two field goals.  The defense plays much better—albeit against a lesser opponent—and Skinner picks off a pass from one of the Madison quarterbacks to put the offense on a short field.

Madison will try to become the third FCS school to beat an ACC team this season (William & Mary beat Virginia and Richmond topped Duke last week), but the Turtles will have something to say about that.

Maryland wins, 27-13.

**Don’t forget to check out my live blog from Byrd Stadium tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. for the Maryland-James Madison game. The game can only be seen on ESPN360, so I hope you’ll join me at WNST.net as the Terps kick off their home schedule!

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Terps shelled by Cal in opener, 52-13

Posted on 05 September 2009 by Luke Jones

The Maryland Terrapins traveled to Berkeley to face No. 12 Cal as 21-point underdogs, and they looked like it on Saturday night.

The Golden Bears crushed the Terps, 52-13, handing head coach Ralph Friedgen his worst opening-game loss at Maryland.  Kevin Riley threw four touchdown passes and Jahvid Best ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns, as Cal accumulated 542 yards of offense compared to only 303 for Maryland.

Terps quarterback Chris Turner was sacked seven times and could not ignite a Maryland offense that fell behind early in the first quarter.  Maryland’s lone touchdown came on a 39-yard rush from Da’Rel Scott in the third quarter.

The young Maryland offensive line failed to provide adequate protection, and new defensive coordinator Don Brown had no answers for Jeff Tedford’s explosive attack.

Maryland (0-1) will now return to College Park to take on James Madison in the home opener.

You can browse the ugly box score here.

1:16 a.m. – This one mercifully comes to an end as Cal crushes the Terrapins, 52-13.  I’ll be back with a brief wrap-up in a few minutes. What is there to really say about this one?

1:14 a.m. – Robinson and the offense picks up the first down, as Morgan Green runs for a four-yard gain.

Under a minute to go.

1:12 a.m. – The Terps take over on downs after Cal runs a dive on 4th-and-long.

Jamarr Robinson is now in the game at quarterback.  I figured we’d see him a little sooner, but it makes sense to give him some playing time.

1:07 a.m. – I’ll go on record right now and say California will be the best team the Terrapins play this season—by far.

While Maryland is not expected to be a factor in the ACC by any stretch of the imagination, it’s hard to envision any ACC opponent looking better than the Bears have tonight.

1:06 a.m. – The Terps go three-and-out.  6:51 to go.

The only positive from tonight’s game is that it’s almost over.

1:00 a.m. – Turner is 16/28 for 169 yards.  Friedgen talked about a desire to throw the ball down the field more often during summer practice, but it’s difficult to do it when the offensive line does not provide the time.  The Maryland quarterback has been sacked seven times.

Unless we see substantial improvement in the pass protection, Turner will have no choice but to stick with the short passing game.

12:55 a.m. – Quarterback Brock Mansion takes over for Riley.

Riley finishes the night 17/26 for 298 yards and four touchdowns.

12:52 a.m. – It’s obviously tough to pinpoint a specific area of concern after tonight’s embarrassing performance, but the play of the offensive line HAS to be a MAJOR concern.

With only two returning starters—Bruce Campbell and Phil Costa—the line was clearly a concern entering the season, and tonight will only make it worse.

The group has done a poor job protecting Chris Turner all night.

12:48 a.m. – Five touchdown drives of less than two minutes for the Bears.

At least the Maryland defense is being time efficient.

12:44 a.m. – Through three quarters, Cal has 172 yards on the ground.  The combination of Best and Vereen has been incredible.

Vereen takes the pass out of the backfield and gallops 15 yards for the touchdown.

52-13.  If you’re still watching this one, I hope you have a few adult beverages to dull the pain.

12:42 a.m. – We’ve reached the end of the third quarter, and the Terps trail 45-13.

Let’s just hope the Terps can get through the final quarter with no injuries.  Not much you can do but put this one behind you and get ready for James Madison next Saturday.

12:38 a.m. – Cal continues to throw the ball despite leading by 32 points with a minute to go in the third quarter.

The Golden Bears are driving again inside the Maryland 30, as Isi Sofele picks up eight yards on a gadget play.

The Maryland defense simply has no answer for Tedford’s offense.  Keep in mind, Cal is ranked No. 12 in the country and is expected to challenge USC for the Pac-10 title.  Clearly, Maryland has played very poorly in all phases of the game, but give the Bears some credit as well.

12:36 a.m. – Jeff Barker reports McCollough’s injury is a sprained ankle.  No word on his status for next week’s game against James Madison.

12:34 a.m. – Turner finally connects to Smith through the air for a 29-yard pickup.

Smith is supposed to be the big-play threat in the passing game, but if you can’t get him the ball until late in the third quarter, it doesn’t bode well for the passing game.

It almost reminds you of the team’s inability to get the ball to Heyward-Bey last season.

12:33 a.m. – The Terps get to Riley on third down, as Masengo Kabongo picks up the sack.  Definitely one of the best names in college football.

However, punter Bryan Anger pins the Terps inside their own 10.

12:32 a.m. – Riley hits Alex Lagemann for a 24-yard gain, as the Bears continue to pick on Anthony Wiseman.

The Cal quarterback has connected with eight different receivers tonight.

12:25 a.m. – Da’Rel Scott busts a 39-yarder to the end zone, giving Maryland its first touchdown of the night.  It’s good to see the all-conference back get going in the second half, but it’s a bit too late.

Cal 45, Maryland 13

12:24 a.m. – Turner hits Cannon for the first down.  Cannon is one of the very few bright spots tonight, as he’s made five catches.

Scott picks up 15 yards on first down.

12:22 a.m. – Don Brown has to be disappointed with the way his defense has played tonight, but what can you really say at this point?

The team has played poorly in all phases of the game so plenty of blame to go around.

Maryland trails 45-6 early in the second half.

12:20 a.m. – Kevin Riley with another first-down completion on third down.

On the next play, Riley hits Marvin Jones for a 42-yard score, beating Nolan Carroll.  He is absolutely CARVING UP the Maryland secondary.

Riley has now thrown for three touchdown passes and 236 yards.

12:14 a.m. – I’d like to wish WNST’s Glenn Clark a happy birthday, but I’m guessing he’s not in the mood to celebrate with the way this one is shaping up.

On 3rd-and-3, Turner’s pass is tipped at the line of scrimmage, but the Terps will obviously go for it.

On fourth down, Turner is sacked for the sixth time, as Mike Mohamed and Owusu combine for the sack.  The Maryland offensive line continues to have a terrible night.

12:12 a.m. – Torrey Smith returns the ensuing kickoff to the Maryland 40.

You’d like to see some positives in the second half, as the Terps would like to make this one respectable at this point.

Scott picks up a first down as his helmet goes flying.

12:08 a.m. – And there goes Jahvid Best again, taking it 40 yards inside the 15.  Riley throws a nice block to help spring him.

Unfortunately, the 21-point spread was looking quite conservative at this point.

Vereen scores on the 11-yard run.

Cal 38, Maryland 6 with 13:42 to go in the third quarter.


12:03 a.m. – Cal will receive to begin the second half.  Cal coach Jeff Tedford talked about this game being a revenge game for the Bears after last season, and they have played like it.

Vereen takes the kick all the way back to the 47-yard line.

12:02 a.m. – It’s been a difficult day on the local front as Navy and Towson fell earlier in the day, though the Midshipmen should not hang their heads after nearly knocking off the Buckeyes in Columbus, falling to Ohio State, 31-27.

In the ACC, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Duke, and NC State all dropped their opening games of the year this weekend while Georgia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina, and Clemson all won today.

At least we can take satisfaction with Virginia losing to William & Mary, 26-14.  Don’t laugh too hard at the Cavaliers, however, as the Terps must take on defending CAA champion James Madison next week in College Park.

11:46 p.m. – Quite a difference from last season when the Terps were the ones to jump all over the Bears early.

The running game has only picked up 33 yards, but it’s hard to establish the ground attack when you fall behind by 14 early in the game.

11:42 p.m. – Turner throws incomplete on fourth down, as Cal takes over on downs with 2 ticks on the clock.

Ralph does not look very happy, and why would he be?  A very disappointing effort.

Maryland trails 31-6 at the half in Berkeley.

Can anyone get Frank Reich on the phone?

11:41 p.m. – After Furstenburg drops what would have been a huge completion, Turner is sacked again.

Again, Maryland is simply not playing well enough to even make this one respectable.  Too many mistakes.

11:40 p.m. – Maryland has the ball in Cal territory and has a slim chance to get some points before the half.

The Terps take a timeout with 17 seconds to go.  While the ESPN2 crew is talking about a field goal try, you would like to see if Franklin can find a huge explosion in the playbook.

11:36 p.m. -Well, there’s not much to say at this point.

Nyan Boateng absolutely toasts Wiseman—who lost his footing—for the touchdown catch.  That’s not going to get it done.

Cal turning this into a blowout, and the Bears lead 31-6 with :25 to go.

11:36 p.m. – On 3rd-and-1, Riley hits Tucker on the out pattern for the first down with :38 to go.

The Terps CANNOT allow Cal to score before the half.

As I type this, however, Best picks up 18-yards on the screen pass.

11:32 p.m. – Meggett with the nice run and Galt makes a 12-yard catch to move the chains on consecutive plays.

But once again, Owusu gets to Turner for the sack.  Someone needs to block him.  On the next play, Jerrod Price sacks Turner as this offensive line is showing its inexperience.

So much for that drive as Turner keeps it on 3rd-and-30 and only gains four yards.  The Terps must punt, and Cal takes a timeout with 1:35 to play in the second quarter.

11:25 p.m. – On 3rd-and-9, Riley throws high, but Marvin Jones makes a leaping catch.  Once again, the defense cannot hold Cal on third down.

On first-and-goal, Jared Harrell whiffs trying to pick up the sack, and Riley finds Skylar Curran for the touchdown.

Not good.  Cal leads 24-6 with 3:42 to go in the first half.

11:23 p.m. – Jahvid Best is having a great night, but it’s never a good idea to leave your feet in traffic.  It wasn’t quite Kevin Barnes’ hit last season, but the Terps stuff him for a loss.

However, on 3rd-and-4, Riley gets it to Vereen for a 16-yard completion, moving the chains.

Another score by Cal would be a major blow as we approach the end of the half.

11:20 p.m. – McCollough is on crutches, so you’d assume he’s done for the night.  A big loss for the Terps’ secondary.

11:18 p.m. – The Terps try a little razzle-dazzle, giving the ball to Smith on the reverse, but the speedy receiver can only pick up four yards.

On 3rd-and-6, Turner cannot find anyone down field and compounds the problem by coughing up the football as the pocket collapses.  California ball and another crucial turnover for Maryland.

Ralph Friedgen is not going to be happy with that one, as Cal takes over at midfield.

The Terps simply are not playing well enough to win, regardless of how their talent matches up with Cal’s.  Too many mistakes.

11:15 p.m. – It’s good to see the Terps get the ball to Smith on the end around.  With Darrius Heyward-Bey in the NFL, Smith is the team’s biggest chance for a “home run threat.”

Ronnie Tyler with a beautiful 17-yard catch, giving the Terps another first down.

11:11 p.m. -Riley’s bullet to the end zone falls incomplete on third down, and Vince D’Amato hits the 31-yard field goal, putting the Bears up by a score of 17-6.

Adrian Moten getting the sack on first-and-goal killed the Bears’ momentum, and the Terps’ defense buckled down to hold Cal to three points.

11:08 p.m. – On 3rd-and-1, Maryland initially stuffed fullback Brian Holley, but the second effort gives him the first down.

Anthony Wiseman is called for pass interference as Verran Tucker makes the 39-yard reception.  Wiseman was in position but did a poor job playing the ball.

Vereen with a 14-yard catch gives the Golden Bears a 1st-and-goal situation—exactly what you didn’t want after cutting the early lead to eight points.

11:03 p.m. – Maryland is dominating the time of possession so far, holding the ball nearly 10 minutes longer than Cal.  This could pay dividends in the second half.

11:00 p.m. – On third down, right tackle Paul Pinegar is beaten badly, freeing up Devin Bishop to pressure Turner and force the incompletion.

Ferrara hooks the 42-yarder inside the right upright, and the freshman is 2-for-2.

Maryland now trails 14-6.

10:57 p.m. – Turner is sacked by Ernest Owusu on third down.  The Terps will go for it from the 34.

Lansford Watson makes the catch and keeps moving his feet, picking up the first down after it looked like he’d be stopped.  Great effort by the backup tight end.

No surprise that the Terps would go for it there considering the uncertainty at the kicker position.

10:54 p.m. – Scott ALMOST broke a long one before narrowly being tripped up by Cal’s Josh Hill on the outside.

At the end of the first quarter, Cal leads Maryland, 14-3, but the Terps are driving to start the second quarter.

10:53 p.m. – Franklin calls a quarterback draw on third down, and Turner picks up the first down.  The Terps are at the Cal 36 as we near the end of the first quarter.

If Maryland can get points on this drive, you have to be pleased considering how terribly this game started.

10:51 p.m. – Turner is not sharp in the early going, throwing behind his receivers and not looking comfortable in the passing game.

After an offside penalty on Cal gives the Terps a manageable 3rd-and-2, the Golden Bears will take a timeout.

10:48 p.m. – We saw the Terps use the no-huddle offense in the preseason, and it’s definitely a nice wrinkle to James Franklin’s offense.

However, false start penalties cannot happen if you’re going to use it.

10:48 p.m. – Cannon has made a couple of very nice grabs in the early stages, but the offense needs to throw the ball down the field.

A huge third-down catch by Scott gives Maryland a first down.

10:44 p.m. – On 3rd-and-12, Riley is pressured by Travis Ivey, forcing the incompletion.  This was the kind of series the Terps needed after finally getting on the board in their last drive.

After the Cal punt, Maryland will take over at the 18-yard line.  Maryland trails, 14-3, with 2:56 to play in the first.

10:43 p.m. – Someone finally tackled Best, as Jamari McCollough makes the tackle for a loss of two.  However, McCollough is shaken up on the play.

He got cut-blocked on the play but still managed to make the tackle.  Kenny Tate is in for McCollough.

10:42 p.m. – The Maryland defense needs to make a statement here, but Shane Vereen picks up seven yards on first down and picks up a first down on the following play.

You have to be impressed with Cal’s combination of Best and Vereen in the backfield.

10:39 p.m. – Turner throws a touchdown pass to Matt Furstenburg, but the play is called back by an ineligible man down field penalty (Cannon was covered up at the line of scrimmage).  The Terps are simply making too many mistakes.

Turner’s third-down pass is batted down at the line, and the Terps will have to settle for a field goal.

Ferrara hits the 26-yard attempt, but you have to be disappointed not to get seven points on that drive.

10:35 p.m. – After the offside penalty, Maryland has first-and-goal from the seven.  The Terps HAVE to score a touchdown after the big return.

Cory Jackson takes it to the four on first down, but Meggett is stuffed on second down.

Huge third down play here.

10:32 p.m. – Smith immediately tries to make up for the fumble by returning the kick 48 yards.

Turner completes passes to Adrian Cannon and Tommy Galt, moving the chains for the offense who badly needs to cash in on this drive.

10:28 p.m. – After a first-down completion to Marvin Jones, Best hurdles into the end zone for an apparent touchdown.

After the officials review the play, the touchdown stands.  Best has two touchdowns in less than six minutes.  You cannot fault the defense too much on that one, but it’s 14-0 already.

10:26 p.m. – Well, that wasn’t good.  Torrey Smith fumbles the ensuing kickoff, and the Bears have it.  If Maryland doesn’t come up with a big play here, it could get out of hand early.

Friedgen talked throughout the preseason about taking care of the football.

10:25 p.m. – Jahvid Best immediately puts Cal on the board with a 73-yard touchdown run.  I would say that’s a pretty good opening statement for a player with Heisman aspirations.

Wiseman appeared to have a chance to trip him up at the line of scrimmage but missed the tackle.

This is definitely not the kind of start Maryland needed being 21 point underdogs on the road.  The offense will need to respond immediately to keep the Cal crowd under control.

10:18 p.m. – Adrian Cannon picks up 8 yards on the first-down reception, but Scott fails to move the chains on second down.

A delay of game call makes it 3rd-and-6, another tough penalty that will hurt your chances on the road.

Turner’s first-down scramble is wiped out by a Bruce Campbell holding call.

Ronnie Tyler makes the third-down catch, but again, the Terps cannot get anything going.  Another Baltz punt.

10:13 p.m. – Best beat Terrell Skinner badly but luckily the pass falls incomplete.

Kevin Riley throws incomplete, and Cal goes three-and-out, a great start for Brown’s defense.

First punt return by Kenny Tate—not Wiseman—nets a positive return.

Slow start offensively, and we have a TV timeout.

10:09 p.m. – After being called for an illegal snap, the offense digs a 3rd-and-14 hole on the opening series.  Penalties on the road will kill you.

Turner picks up six on third down but is well short of a first down.

Travis Baltz boots it to the Cal 29 yard-line, and we’ll see the Maryland defense for the first time tonight.

10:06 p.m. – Maryland will receive to begin the game after Cal defers to the second half.  Torrey Smith returns to the 30, and the offense will have their first series of the 2009 season.

With Jordan Steffy no longer in the picture, Turner is the man.

10:03 p.m. – Though the Terps are 21-point dogs, remember they are 6-2 against Top 25 teams over the last two seasons.  Turner seems to rise to the occasion in the big games, and he will need to have a strong performance to give Maryland a chance in this one.

9:56 p.m. – New defensive coordinator Don Brown makes his Terrapin debut tonight, and the new 4-3 defense will be on display.  The unit gave the Maryland offense fits during summer practice, showing different looks and bringing the pressure.

Cal running back Jahvid Best will provide a challenge to the Terps defense, but he has to be glad he will not have to deal with Kevin Barnes this season.  If you need a refresher, here you go:

9:53 p.m. – With the Terps having such an inexperienced offensive line (returning only two starters), expect them to establish the running game with All-ACC running back Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett.

Cal’s defense is one of the finest in the Pac-10.  The Maryland offensive line will need to contain defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu and keep them away from quarterback Chris Turner.

9:49 p.m. – Punt returner Tony Logan is out with a shoulder injury and did not make the trip to Berkeley.  Anthony Wiseman will take his place and will feel the pressure to hold onto the ball in a hostile environment.

9:46 p.m. – The Golden Bears are 21-point favorites and return 17 starters from a year ago while the Terps return only 10 starters from 2008.

Cal is considered to be USC’s biggest threat in the Pac-10 race while Maryland has been picked to finish fifth or sixth in the Atlantic Division by most national pundits.

9:40 p.m. – We’re about 20 minutes away from kickoff as the Maryland Terrapins begin the 2009 season playing the Cal Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium.  The game gets underway at 10:00 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.  The Terps will be wearing their white jerseys and black pants for tonight’s game.

The Sun’s Jeff Barker reports freshman Nick Ferrara will be the kicker for tonight’s game.  The kicking job was one of the biggest question marks during summer practice with Ferrara battling sophomore Mike Barbour.  Barbour appeared to have won the job  before missing three field goals during the team’s second inter-squad scrimmage a couple weeks ago, opening the door for Ferrara to win the job.

Cal will have revenge on its mind after traveling to College Park last season and falling to the Terps, 35-27.  The Bears went on to have a 9-4 season, defeating Miami in the Emerald Bowl.

The Terps come off an 8-5 season (4-4 in conference play), finishing tied for third in the Atlantic Division of the ACC.  Maryland faded down the stretch, dropping their final two regular season games to Florida State and Boston College before beating Nevada in the Humanitarian Bowl.

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Running game shines in Terps’ second scrimmage

Posted on 23 August 2009 by Luke Jones

With the season opener against Cal less than two weeks away, the Maryland Terrapins conducted their second scrimmage of the preseason at Byrd Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The Terps played three 15-minute quarters with the first-team offense mostly matching up against the second-team defense and the starting defense battling the second offense.

With only two starters returning on the offensive line, head coach Ralph Friedgen was pleased to see improved production in the running game.  First-team All-ACC running back Da’Rel Scott carried four times for 33 yards while top backup Davin Meggett had five carries for 45 yards.

Running back Gary Douglas was the star of the afternoon, rushing for 122 yards on 17 carries as he continues to battle Morgan Green for the third running back job.  The coaching staff really tested Douglas’ stamina in one series, giving him the ball seven times in an eight-play stretch.  Friedgen is high on Douglas, describing him as the most elusive runner on the team.  Green carried 10 times for 56 yards.

True freshman Caleb Porzel showed an impressive burst while carrying six times for 26 yards.  His 35-yard touchdown run was negated by a penalty, but Friedgen said it will be very difficult to keep the young runner off the field this season.

Despite the productive running game, Friedgen wants to see improvement in the passing game, citing a need to throw the ball downfield more often.

Starter Chris Turner was 13-20 for 113 yards, tossing a 32-yard touchdown to Torrey Smith in the first series of play.  Turner later threw an interception to safety Eric Franklin in an otherwise solid performance.

Backup quarterback Jamarr Robinson had difficulty moving the ball in the passing game, completing only six of 14 passes for 76 yards.

New defensive coordinator Don Brown provided the offense with some defensive looks likely to be seen when the Terps travel to Berkeley to take on Cal in the opener.

Here are a few more notes from Sunday’s scrimmage:

– Mike Barbour appeared to have locked up the kicking job before missing his last three attempts of the scrimmage (46, 43, and 45 yards).  He made kicks from 30, 45, 37, and 40 yards.

Nick Ferrara was succesful on the last two field goal attempts of the day, making kicks from 45 and 36 yards.  Ferrara also handled the kickoff duties.

Nick Wallace is not in the mix for the kicking job, according to Friedgen.

– Defensive lineman Carl Russell went down with an ankle injury early in the scrimmage, but Friedgen said the injury is not believed to be serious.

– Friedgen is counting on receiver Tony Logan to be the primary punt returner, though the sophomore dropped one during the scrimmage.

– Smith is happy to be finished with a summer class that was affecting his play earlier in camp.  He’s relieved to be able to focus exclusively on football before fall classes begin.  Turner will count on him to be his primary target in the passing game.

The new No. 1 receiver is confident the Terps’ group of receivers can replace the downfield threat previously provided by Darrius Heyward-Bey.

– Offensive coordinator James Franklin used the no-huddle offense for a large portion of the scrimmage, adding a new wrinkle to his system.

It allowed the team to run a larger number of plays during the three-quarter scrimmage and was also a good test for the team’s conditioning while playing in the afternoon heat.

– One of the most amusing moments of the day came when right tackle Bruce Campbell scooped up a fumble and raced for a first down before finally being tackled.  The play was ruled dead when Turner was sacked, but Campbell’s run impressed—and entertained—his teammates.

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