The Maryland Terrapins are up 24-0 on the James Madison Dukes and the game is going as expected right now. That is to say, an abject disaster for the Dukes. C.J. Brown leads everyone with three touchdowns (all on the ground) and has shown off his ability to get creative with the ball while under pressure. Meanwhile, Brandon Ross has done a great job moving the chains with some effective running. Here are a few thoughts from halftime…
1.) Brandon Ross looks amazing today
Ross had to fight for his starting job this preseason, but if today is any indication, he will never give that job up. Ross doesn’t have any touchdowns yet, but he’s rushed for over 70 yards on the ground and has helped pick up yardage when the passing game has failed. Ross was criticized by Coach Edsall last year for running into piles last year, but today it clearly looks like he has added another dimension to his game. Ross is uncharacteristically shifty.
It’s against James Madison, so take everything that’s done today with a grain of salt, but Ross looks like he’s going to provide Maryland with a much more potent weapon on the ground than last year. Everyone would benefit from that.
2.) Brown destroys teams on the ground, not so much through the air
It’s hard to complain about a quarterback when he’s got 45 yards on the ground on 5 carries and three touchdowns. Brown has, put simply, been dynamic in his playmaking ability with his legs. His third touchdown was a perfect example of the will he has in the red zone, and please watch it below:
And while Brown has been inventive on the ground, he’s not done the same through the air. Brown is 9-of-20 for 58 yards today and has misfired on a lot of deep passes. He overshot Leak deep that almost led to an interception, and Stefon Diggs had to bail him out on an intermediate pass with a one-handed snag.
Brown’s got a ways to go, it would seem, if he wants to fully utilize these receivers and make this offense truly potent. This play will fly against a CAA team, but it may not against Big Ten opponents.
3.) Maryland is abusing Vad Lee, and Sean Davis is a big part
Vad Lee and the Dukes have amassed a whopping 159 yards on offense, and they’re averagine 3.5 yards per play. Vad Lee is 8-of-20 with one interception, and JMU simply can’t get it done on the offensive side of the ball. Lee has missed on a lot of passes to open receivers, but that’s because of the pressure the Terps are applying on the edges.
Sean Davis has been all over the place today, as has Alex Twine, who filled in for Cole Farrand on short notice. Davis should be the MVP of this defense because of his steady, strong play. He makes the right play most of the time and has taken it upon himself to make Lee’s day a living hell. So far, it’s working.
If Maryland can continue to get that kind of play from their secondary then other teams are going to be extremely frustrated by the blanket the Terps throw out on the defensive end.