The Terps almost did it. Like the game against West Virginia, they played against a ranked opponent and were lucky to not fall behind by a larger margin in the first half, and then used a strong defensive effort and some luck on offense to almost complete a miraculous comeback effort.
Let’s give out our weekly Testudos.
Five Testudos :
Joe Vellano, A.J. Francis, David Mackall, and Nick Ferrara. Vellano is the fifth Maryland player since 1997 to have a 20-tackle game, and 14 of those 20 stops were unassisted. Francis had his biggest game of the year as Vellano’s partner in the interior line, with nine tackles of his own. Mackall terrorized Tevin Washington all day, and finished with seven tackles, two for a loss. Ferrara continued his excellent year, making his only field goal and extra point attempt, and punting for over 45 yards per attempt.
Four Testudos :
Davin Meggett, Dexter McDougle, Mario Rowson, Alex Twine, and Lorne Goree. Meggett ran 18 times for 86 yards and one touchdown, which came at the end of the drive where Andrew Gonnella suffered his season-ending injury. McDougle recovered after a poor start to the first half with three tackles and a great interception to end the first half. With Darin Drakeford and Kenny Tate out and an injury suffered by Demetrius Hartsfield during the game, Rowson, Twine and Goree made up Maryland’s all-freshman linebacking corps, and they did well. Rowson had seven tackles, Twine had two (including one key one), and Goree had two tackles (including one for a loss.
Three Testudos :
C.J. Brown, Kevin Dorsey, Eric Franklin, Tony Logan and Todd Bradford. Brown took over for Danny O’Brien, and while he was absolutely terrible in the air (4/17, 36 yards, one interception), he was dynamic on the ground (nine rushes for 124 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown in the fourth). Dorsey was Maryland’s top receiver yet again, catching two passes for 44 yards. Franklin had five tackles, including one for a loss, and followed up a good first half with a solid second one. Logan completed a 34-yard pass on a trick play (and was Maryland’s top passer on the day for a good while), but was largely ineffective in the return game. And yes, Bradford earns some credit, as the defense absolutely shut down the Yellow Jackets in the second half even without six defensive starters.
Two Testudos :
Justus Pickett, Titus Till and Keith Bowers. Pickett had ten carries for 33 yards but showed flashes of his potential greatness. Till missed a ton of tackles but ended up with five on the day, and the same can be said about Bowers (who had four).
One Testudo :
Danny O’Brien, Ronnie Tyler, and Kerry Boykins. O’Brien was pulled after throwing an interception early, and finished with a 1/6 for 17 yards line. Tyler and Boykins combined for three receptions and 43 yards, but as is the theme for the year, dropped a boatload of passes.
Gary Crowton. Holy hell was the playcalling and decision making on the offensive end awful. After attempting the spread shotgun zone-read offense with Danny O’Brien, he brought in C.J. Brown and used a more cautious, under center approach, which is beyond puzzling. Then, on two separate third-and-long situations where Maryland knew it was four down territory, they refused to run (the staple of their offense) and then ended up with two incomplete passes from the unreliable arm of C.J. Brown (and that’s putting it nicely). Crowton honestly looked like someone who was just thrust into the offensive coordinator role without ever having heard of the game of football. He failed to plan ahead of the one play he was calling at any time, and the play he was “planning” for generally failed. Bradford bought himself another week. Crowton didn’t.