The Teams: Maryland Terrapins (2-0) vs. Connecticut Huskies (1-1)
The Site: Byrd Stadium. College Park, Maryland
The Time: Saturday, 12:30 pm
TV, Radio, Internet: Fox 5, WJZ 13 (TV), ESPN3 (Internet), 105.7fm and 980am (Radio)
The Coaches: Randy Edsall (4-10 at Maryland) and Paul Pasqaloni (6-8 at Connecticut)
The History: There is really is none other than a lone game in 1942, which the Terrapins won.
Maryland put on an offensive display for the first time in this short season last week, when they threw up 30+ points against Temple University in their own house. They are going to be looking for another performance like that this week as they face the Connecticut Huskies; or rather, head coach Randy Edsall’s old jones/coaching job. Edsall built the Huskies into a respectable program from the ground up, but sort of up and left when the Terrapins offered him the gig. That didn’t sit well with people in the area or the players, whom he made no contact with upon departure, and so this game may have a bit of malevolence to it.
Of course, that’s just the fun aspect of things, because these teams still have to play football well to win. As it turns out, they are both very similar teams that are going to go blow-for-blow with one another. With both teams turning the ball over at staggering rates this season, it’s very hard to say how this game is going to end up. But both defenses are fantastic, so the game will likely be won on a deciding drive.
Key Questions and Storylines:
1.) Can Perry Hills handle the pressure?
While Perry Hills is improving from his lackluster debut against William & Mary, he is going to be facing a senior laden defense that won’t be as easy as Temple. The Huskies have Trevardo Williams, and he is going to be out for blood against his former coaches quarterback. Hills will get sacked this game in all likelihood, and even if he doesn’t there will be consistent pressure on him. That means he has to make smart, quick decisions, or turnovers will happen a whole lot. Williams will be in his face all game, and one can only hope Hills is prepped for it.
I expect him to struggle, but Locksley did a good job last game of not putting too much on Hills plate, and he thrived. If Locksley can continue to be creative with the play calling, then Perry will be just fine. That means quick throws on slant routes, screens, and lots of run game. Speaking of run game…
2.) Lyle McCombs and his big game meter.
McCombs rushed for 1,151 yards last season and had six 100+ yard rushing games to boot (including a 152 yard outing against Syracuse). He rushed three times for 60 yards or more as well, and is prone to big plays. This season he has yet to break the 100 yard barrier, and it’s really only a matter of time until he accomplishes that. Will Maryland be his first victim? It’s hard to say, but the Terrapins have been darn good at stopping the run so far this season. Plus, against similarly sized backs (McCombs is 5’8, 166 lbs.) they have absolutely stuffed them up. That’s good news, but McCombs is also a bit of a power back who gets the ball on essentially every down. He averages around 20-30 carries a game, and that will give him plenty of opportunity to do his worst against the Terrapins.
He hasn’t gotten that many carries this season, but expect that to change fully this week. It will be key for Maryland to get up early on Connecticut so they can minimize his effectiveness and keep the ball out of his hands.
3.) Now You’re Just A Football Coach I Used To Know (a song going to the theme of “Somebody that I used to know” by Gotye)
Now and then I think of when we were together….
Like when I said I’d never leave you unless pigs could fly
Told you all that we were family
Never thought that I would up and flee
But when I bailed for Maryland that changed forever
I had you addicted to a certain kind of success…
Bowl games at season’s end, always a bowl
We could never make it to the Chik-Fil-A
And so I couldn’t see another way
But to run away and live underneath the Terp Shell
(UConn players sing the refrain)
“But you could have told us you would leave
make off like we never happened and that we were nothing!
The Terps aren’t even out our league
but you treat us like we’re D II and that feels so rough.
You should have told your recruits, though.
Not have your staff collect your trophies and then change your zip code.
We don’t even need you, yo.
Now you’re just a football coach we used to know!”
A head coach! A head coach!
4.) Will the running backs fumble?
Wes Brown, Justus Pickett, and Albert Reid all have at least one fumble, which makes running the ball that much trickier. These three are supposed to be the guys who ensure that Perry Hills doesn’t have to do too much, but instead they are doing the exact opposite of that with their turnovers. The onus is on them to cut it out and run strong yet not fumble. Against a tough defensive front like Connecticut, that won’t be as easy, and Pickett and the Butterfingers are going to really need to hold onto those rocks if Maryland is to have a modicum of success.
Take Note of These Notes
- Randy Edsall was 74-70 with the Connecticut Huskies, making it to five bowl games including one BCS (2010 Fiesta)
- In the 2010 Papa John’s Bowl against the South Carolina Gamecocks, Edsall beat two-time National Champion head coach Steve Spurrier.
- Connecticut head coach Paul Pasqualoni was a linebacker at Penn State and was an assistant coach with both the Dolphins and the Cowboys.