Final Score: Florida State 30, Maryland 16
That was a tough game on so many levels. It was a very winnable game with huge implications, and the Terps let it slip away. Why then do I came away incredibly happy with the team?
Yeah, the turnovers were an issue, but they didn’t upset me as much as usual. The option call with Danny O’Brien that led to a fumble was weird, but if it had worked we would all be singing the praises of that call. For Danny’s two interceptions, one should have been called an incompletion and the other was a desperation throw on 4th down.
Yeah, Maryland gave up 30 points, but the defense played one hell of a game. Chris Thompson burned the Terps early with his 70-yard run, but take that out and no Seminole has more than 37 yards on the ground for the game. Christian Ponder looked great, but was kept in check by the secondary and by some of the best pass rushing we’ve seen all year from Drew Gloster and Justin Anderson.
I think that this was Maryland’s best all-around effort this year, which is crazy to say, seeing as they lost by two touchdowns. Three offensive linemen were injured (Justin Lewis, redshirt-burning Max Garcia, and Bennett Fulper) with only Fulper returning to the game, and yet the Terps persevered and had their best game on the ground by far. Da’Rel Scott ran for 87 yards on ten carries and Davin Meggett ran 11 times for 72 yards. They looked like they were running for their jobs, and rightfully so after D.J. Adams’ performance against Virginia.
Although DOB’s final stats (25 of 45 for 269 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions) weren’t great, I thought he played a very good game. He made only two or three bad throws, and his stats suffered from a severe case of the drops that seemed to fall on the tight ends and some of the wide receivers.
In the secondary, Kenny Tate and Cameron Chism each had their best games of the year. That’s not saying much for Chism – he’s struggled all year – but he did have a great game at corner, recording seven tackles, including one for a loss, and forcing and recovering a fumble. Tate, who has to be a top candidate for the Thorpe award with his fantastic play this year, had the chance to showcase his skills on a national platform, and that’s exactly what he did. The safety finished with seven tackles (two for a loss) and a 20-yard interception return.
The linebackers had a great game, as well. Alex Wujciak, who has struggled a lot this year, led the team with ten tackles (including six solo, a rarity for him), while Demetrius Hartsfield had eight tackles and half a sack. Adrian Moten only had two tackles, but he was involved in nearly every play.
Overall, I came away as pleased as I have ever been with the effort from this team. If they play like they did on Saturday next week against NC State, I see no reason why the Terps won’t be able to come out with their eighth win of the season, a remarkable accomplishment after the 2-10 debacle of last year.