Sept 20, 2011; College Park, MD USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Randy Edsall against the Miami Hurricanes at Byrd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The past two years seemed like a distant memory after watching Maryland thwart Florida International 43-10 in the season opener. I came away very impressed with the Terps ability to move the ball, C.J. Brown’s accuracy, Caleb Rowe’s playmaking ability, the secondary, and defensive line. Although the level of competition wasn’t on par with the future opponents Maryland will face, Saturday’s game gives the team momentum heading forward. Here are my impact numbers from the game:
- 576: Maryland was able to gain that many yards on offense on Saturday. With a team that struggled on offense last year, Maryland seemed to have zero problems in this week’s victory. The offense was in sync and the receivers were able to catch everything that came their way. From the amazing throw from Brown to Deon Long to the Stefon Diggs 66-yard touchdown to the running game, Maryland has raised the expectations on offense for the remainder of the year.
- 86.9: That was C.J. Brown’s completion percentage. Two years ago, Brown had serious issues getting the ball to his receivers. Given Brown’s versatility and speed, defenses adapted to force Brown to stay in the pocket. If Brown can keep this up, this will force future opponents to concentrate on the passing targets, potentially opening up Brown’s running lanes. Brown was still able to run for 106 yards and two touchdowns. While it’s a long shot, if Brown continues to put up these numbers, I firmly believe he could become a likely Heisman candidate by the end of the year
- 2: Maryland forced two turnovers during the game: one fumble and one interception. The early fumble gave the Terps some momentum after going up 3-0 on the first possession of the game. The interception by Dexter McDougle was made possible BY using his superb concentration. For a team that only came up with four interceptions all of last season, this will be a key statistic heading forward, especially with the level of competition increasing.
- 5: Maryland had five sacks in Saturday’s game. Maryland defensive line was a question after losing seniors Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis. Although the team will face bigger competition throughout the year, Maryland’s ability to put constant pressure on FIU helped the defense shut down the passing attack, forcing FIU to become more one-dimensional.
- 2: The Maryland offensive line let up two sacks against the FIU defense. Arguably Maryland’s biggest weakness, this will be the biggest storyline for the remainder of the year, as it could make-or-break the fluid offense that was on display this weekend. Regardless, the encouraging play by the line opened up the running game, allowing 224 (5.89 YPC) yards by the Terps running backs, 357 total (6.87 ).
With an encouraging performance, the level of competition should be taken into account. The offense was given time to gel, and they put on a show. The defense played very well and overall, an exciting 43-10 win was in store for coach Randy Edsall and the Terps. Carrying this momentum week to week is key as the Terps take on Old Dominion next Saturday in College Park.