Any questions about whether or not last week’s offensive performance was a fluke should be completely silenced, as the Maryland Terrapins took down Old Dominion 47-10 Saturday afternoon. Led by sophomore phenom Stefon Diggs and Brandon Ross, the Terps displayed an offensive firepower that comes in stark contrast to the first two games of the 2012 season. Just one week after scoring 40 points in the first half against FIU, the Terps thumped the Monarchs for 31 by the end of the first half this week.
Stefon Diggs finished with six receptions and 179 yards and one TD as he continued his Heisman push with some extremely electrifying play. Diggs, who started the game with 98 yards, had already eclipsed that total with five minutes remaining in the second quarter against the Monarchs. Brown found Diggs all over the field, and Diggs returned the favor by consistently ducking away from tackles and gaining positive yardage all over the field.
As amazing as Diggs was, however, he was not to be outdone by running back Brandon Ross. Last week, Ross failed to get much going on the ground, ceding the way to Brown. This week? He was another animal. 100 yards before the second half even began, Ross had 150 yards on the ground by halftime before coach Edsall called in the cold cuts (subs, for the dense). Ross looked like a patient but aggressive back who took everything and anything the defense gave him all game long. One could even argue that it was his running game that opened things up for Diggs.
Albert Reid also got in on the action, rushing for 56 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Veii, who had a pretty solid outing in week one, continued that trend late in the game with 55 yards on ten carries. CJ Brown didn’t have quite as good a game on the ground (he finished with 36 yards and two touchdowns) but then he didn’t need to.
Brown failed to maintain that ridiculous accuracy mark from last week, going 14-of-22 for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Still he was solid when he needed to be, and proved that the Terps don’t need him to be superman every week.
Of course, none of this is possible without acknowledging the fact that the defense gave the offense numerous possessions. By the end of the first half, Maryland had tied their interception total from last season (you read that right), with three picks that led to the Terps getting great field position. Isaac Goins started the festivities off with a pick on ODUs first drive. Shortly thereafter, it was Sean Davis picking off ODU QB Taylor Heinicke and running the ball into the end zone. Unfortunately, an illegal block in the back negated the pick six. Finally, Yannick Ngakoue joined in on the fun by picking off Heinicke near the end zone on a tipped ball.
Still, it wasn’t all peaches for the Terps defense, as there were times when it seemed as if Old Dominion was pressing hard yet without the requisite scores. The Terps missed quite a few tackles, and did have a hard time with Taylor Heinicke at times (at least on the ground). Heinicke finished up with 51 yards on the ground and 166 yards through the air (albeit on 30+ attempts), but really struggled to maintain any consistency despite having a solid amount of time. The defense did admittedly have trouble at times making tackles against ODU, but they most definitely provided an unexciting game with their dominance.
Outside of the electrifying offensive play, about the only mildly heart-pounding event of the second half was when Diggs went down in the end zone after being mauled by a Monarchs defender. He did get up on his own accord, waving to a crowd that breathed a collective sigh of relief.
So what more is there to say? Maryland killed it. Again. They’re playing some fantastic football and people are going to start noticing eventually. Unfortunately, that might take a win against a quality opponent (even week four against West Virginia might not count). In the meantime, the fans should just sit back and enjoy this. CJ Brown is healthy and looks fantastic, the running game looks stout, and the secondary might be even better than that.
It’s been awhile since Maryland fans have had something to smile about this much, so smile away.