It’s halftime at the Maryland-South Florida game, and the Terrapins are suffering from a case of butterfingers at the moment as they’re down 17-14. Four turnovers for the Maryland offense isn’t really acceptable against a South Florida team that struggled against the Catamounts. Maryland’s still got plenty of time to rectify the situation, and their defense has looked considerably better than South Florida’s (when the Terps can get out of their own way). That said, here are some halftime thoughts from a few of our analysts…
1.) Brandon Ross might be done for the day
After last week’s game against James Madison, it seemed like Brandon Ross had quieted any suggestion that he might not be the top running back on the roster. Then he fumbled twice against South Florida in the first half and reignited the conversation entirely. Ross had fumble issues even before the season began in camp, and it appears that they have resurfaced today. Ross’ inability to hold onto the ball gave South Florida great field position and stagnated a few Terps drives.
Wes Brown was brought in during the second half, and it remains to be seen whether or not he an get the job done better than Ross. After last week, it’s clear we still don’t know much about this team.
2.) Maryland’s pass coverage through the middle has got to improve, but their ground game is staunch.
As great as the run defense has been, the pass coverage needs to improve. Senior tight end Mike McFarland, who leads the way with 3 catches for 34 yards, has been open on numerous occasions, allowing USF to pick up key first downs. Worse, it’s happening in the middle of the field, where that linebacking corp is looking more and more thin after suspensions and injury have depleted it a bit. Look for Matt Robinson to match up against McFarland in the second half as Maryland tries to quell this front in the middle of the field.
That said, the run defense looks fantastic and Keith Bowers has played a very good game for Maryland so far. The Terps had one task this game, and that was to stop Marlon Mack from decimating them on the ground. For the most part, they’ve done that and should continue to do so provided South Florida’s new QB (Steven Bench) doesn’t start worrying folks with the pass even more.
3.) C.J. Brown has two touchdowns, but there’s reason to question his decision making on some plays
Brown threw an interception on the first drive of the game, and fumbled the ball away for a touchdown in the first half as well. So far, he hasn’t had a stellar game for Maryland despite his two touchdown passes. This high-octane offense has looked pedestrian today, and a lot of that falls on the QB.
C.J. Brown has made some great passes to Marcus Leak in stride, but he’s got to improve on the intermediary routes if the Terps want to get better. Part of that comes from his offensive line not giving him enough time (Brandon Ross missed on a wide open block where Brown got popped hard), but really it’s everyone’s fault.
4.) Maryland might be down, but it’s not the end of the world.
When you can commit four turnovers in one game and still be down three, it’s hard to complain. Cut the turnovers down and Maryland should be alright.